The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course draws upon academic and clinical knowledge, skills, experience and application to render a practical and effective contribution to public interest advocacy and justice. Students are engaged in the supervised preparation and carriage of particular public interest cases or projects and interactive seminars covering the variety of potential public interest advocacy avenues available through law, whether class actions, pro bono lawyering, refugee advocacy, international law, submission writing, law reform, innocence projects, judicial and parliamentary inquiries, alliance building, representation of protestors, using the media or accessing government information. From engagement in public interest advocacy students will learn about the law's techniques, methods and limits in doing justice.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate specialised knowledge and skills necessary to be effective public interest lawyers.

2. Contribute to supporting social justice through advice and assistance to marginalised clients and not for profit organisations and charities.

3. Integrate the theory and practice of social justice and public interest lawyering through the use of complex research, technical writing and advocacy skills.

4. Critically reflect on the concepts of access to justice, public interest lawyering and professional responsibility including the complex ethical and professional conduct principles that apply.

5. Identify and analyse barriers that disadvantaged persons face when accessing justice and the legal system.

6. Identify and critically analyse the issues in legal practice.

7. Demonstrate high level personal autonomy, expert judgment and accountability in dealing with specialised social justice and public interest issues, principles and concepts.


Topics in this course include:

  1. Introduction to clinical placement and clinical legal education; Social justice, human rights and public interest lawyering
  2. Advanced communication skills
  3. Public interest advocacy
  4. Advanced legal drafting and submissions
  5. Advanced legal research skills and legal reasoning

This course seeks to pursue law reform and social justice for persons who are disadvantaged in dealing with the legal system. The course will review legal matters which are in the public interest or where there has been a miscarriage of justice or other serious failure in the administration of justice or a serious wrong which is unlikely to be properly addressed by the legal system without public interest advocacy.

Students will be engaged in the supervised preparation and carriage of public interest cases or projects. This will include the drafting of submissions, analysing documents and reports, reviewing government and other documents and court documents and other relevant material.  


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or Master of Laws programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

LAWS6005 Property

Assessment items

Participation: Seminar participation

Online Learning Activity: Blog

Presentation: Seminar presentation

Written Assignment: Research assignment/case submission

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks