Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


Massive changes are underway in the area of law and justice, as a consequence of societal and technological change. This is a practical course that will give students experience in applying human-focussed design thinking as a means of improving the legal system, legal services, and legal information. The course will examine some of the major trends impacting the delivery of legal services and the resulting changes and disruption in the legal profession, at how people with legal expertise can make justice more accessible for end-users, and the methods used to generate creative and useful changes to the justice system. We will focus on a range of legal innovations - including ways to better communicate and access complex legal information; the ways for law firms and other legal services providers to deliver new and improved services; and the uses of emerging technologies. The course introduces students to the use of legal design thinking as a method for achieving human-focussed, research-grounded innovation and students will work in groups to create and refine their own prototypes. Throughout the course, students will work in groups on a particular legal challenge, and will use the design thinking methodlogy to come up with their own innovation prototype.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Explain the importance of societal and technological change in the 21st century, how it impacts the legal profession and legal systems, and the role of innovation in meeting those challenges.

2. Apply cognitive and technical skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas necessary for innovation through the use of a design thinking methodology.

3. Work independently and collaboratively to analyse and interpret the technological trends transforming legal practice, including the impact of information technologies such as artificial intelligence, and the role of innovation in meeting those challenges.

4. Investigate, analyse and reflect meaningfully on the role of a lawyer in an interdisciplinary team for the purposes of finding innovative solutions to legal problems.

5. Identify the role of lawyers in innovation the use of technology, and the role of lawyers in the development process of such systems through design thinking and other models for innovation.

6. Apply a human-centred design thinking methodology to develop a prototype for an innovation to enhance the user experience of the legal system.


The content in this course includes:

  •     Innovation, change and the future of law – including changes to legal services, in access to justice and in the legal system generally
  •     Disruption, changing legal practice and the role of innovation
  •     Technological impacts on the legal system and on lawyering – including artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies
  •     Innovation, design thinking and the application of user-focussed innovation
  •     The role of interdisciplinary teams in achieving innovation in the legal sphere
  •     The importance of user experience as the basis for legal design
  •     The process of legal prototyping using a legal design methodology.

Assumed knowledge

Students will be generally familiar with legal principles and structures. They will be expected to be proficient in reading and interpreting legislation.

Assessment items

Participation: In-class and online participation

Project: Innovation Project

Written Assignment: Research Paper

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.