The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


The primary objective of this course is to enable a student to acquire, by way of experiential learning and otherwise, the specialised technical knowledge and professional legal skills in social justice lawyering and public interest lawyering. The course will enable students to develop and practice the specialised technical and legal skills needed for social justice and public interest legal cases including effective written and oral communication with clients, parties and organisations, public interest advocacy, detailed legal research and drafting law reform submissions and research projects.

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 such as cases involving possible miscarriage of justice, human rights, and assisting persons seeking asylum protection. Students may also be engaged in 'street law' projects undertaken to inform the community as to the means by which they can access and seek justice. From engagement in public interest advocacy students will learn about the law's techniques, methods and limits in doing justice.


Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 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

The course will consist of supervised participation and carriage of current public interest cases or projects, the presentation of a seminar and the submission of a research essay which can be used in the public interest case or for a law reform submission.


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

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005.

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 13 Weeks