Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


In the 21st Century professionals of all kinds are drawn by their work and study into multidisciplinary contexts. For example, '[s]ocial work, as a profession, exists in a contested domain, within a framework of rights and duties that are defined and constrained by law' (and other things) (Rice, Day and Briskman 2018). An understanding of law by non-legal professionals helps them to recognise when the law may be a means to challenge oppression and when the law might be restrictive and limit value-based practice. This course is designed to support 3rd year Social Work students and Social Science students to gain knowledge and skills about the legal system and legal process in ways that will facilitate their more effective professional practice. This includes providing opportunities to learn how the legal system works in subject areas including child and family law, guardianship, disability and mental health.



  • Semester 2 - 2022


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): LEGL3008. Students who have successfully completed LEGL3008 are not eligible to enrol in LEGL3009.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Identify the elements of Australia’s legal system that are most relevant to the work of social workers and social science professionals.

2. Analyse the most common activities performed by social workers and social science professionals in Australian Courts and tribunals.

3. Critically investigate the opportunities and challenges associated with the legal framework that regulates the practise of social workers and social science professionals.

4. Apply the relevant legal rules to scenarios that are common in the practice of social workers and social science professionals.


The topics in this course include the following:

  • The Australian Legal System: An Introduction
  • International Law obligations and their impact on the Australian system
  • The Impact of Law on Professional Practice & Interdisciplinary Interactions
  • Understanding Courts and Tribunals
  • Legal Procedures and Evidence
  • Legal Dimensions of Professional Record Keeping
  • Legal Dimensions of specific practice areas: eg  child protection, family violence, guardianship, disability, and mental health.

Assessment items

Participation: Seminar Participation and online work - 40%

Written Assignment: Written/oral assessment on Courts, Procedure and Evidence - 20%

Written Assignment: Assignment on Specific Practice Area - 40%

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Seminar: There is a compulsory attendance requirement in this course.

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 1.45 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

This course adopts the blended learning approach with students having a minimum of 1 hour online prep before the seminar. Students will attend the seminar either face to face at Callaghan or the livestream alternative.

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.