Inherent requirements for Law Programs

This document is based on the Inherent Requirements for the Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry) at the University of Western Sydney.

These inherent requirements apply to the following Law Programs at the University of Newcastle:

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Combined
  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/DipLegPrac
  • Juris Doctor

Newcastle Law School supports the University of Newcastle’s commitment to equity and access for all students, including students with disabilities. The Newcastle Law School strongly supports the right for all students to seek an education in Law Programs and is therefore committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, placements and other activities to accommodate the disabilities of law students so that they are able to participate in their program in an inclusive fashion.

The study of law in New South Wales is governed by the requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015 (NSW). Further, the courses within the Law Programs have learning outcomes which state the academic content and knowledge requirements that a student must demonstrate in order to pass the course. The learning outcomes for each LLB(Hons) and JD course are described in the course outline for that course.

The inherent requirement statement for the Law Program applies both to admissions to the law programs and to progression as a student within each program. The statement provided below has been developed to support aspiring law students and current students in the Law Programs to make informed decisions about the suitability of a Law Program to their circumstances.

How to read the inherent requirements statements:

If you are intending to enrol in a Law Program at the Newcastle Law School, you should look at the Inherent Requirement statement and think about whether you may experience challenges in meeting these requirements. If you think you may experience challenges related to your disability, chronic health condition for any other reason, you should discuss your concerns with the staff at the Disability Support unit, the Program Convenor of your Law Program or the School’s Director of Teaching and Learning. These staff can work collaboratively with you to determine how reasonable adjustments might be made to assist you in meeting the Inherent Requirements of the Law Program. In a case where reasonable adjustments would not permit you to meet the Inherent Requirements of the Law Program, referrals can be provided to campus support services for discussions about other study options.

Each inherent requirement is made up of the following five levels:

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement.
  • Level 2 - description of what the inherent requirement is.
  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the program.
  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow you to meet the inherent requirement.
  • Level 5 - examples of things you must be able to do to show you've met the inherent requirement.

The domains applicable to all courses in the Law Programs are:

  1. Demonstration of minimum knowledge levels
  2. Ethical Behaviour
  3. Behavioural Stability
  4. Legal
  5. Communication (verbal; non-verbal; written)
  6. Cognition (knowledge and cognitive skills; listening and comprehension skills; numeracy)
  7. Sustainable Performance

Inherent Requirement statements:


1. Demonstration of minimum knowledge levels

Introduction

Each Law course has learning outcomes which state the academic content and knowledge requirements that a student must acquire in order to pass the unit.

Description

The study of law in New South Wales is governed by the requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015 (NSW). These rules require a minimum of the equivalent three years full time academic study which includes, but is not limited to, specified knowledge areas that must be taught as part of the curriculum.

Justification

The Law Programs offered by the School of Law are accredited law degrees that enable a student to apply to be admitted to legal practice. Accreditation is dependent upon annual certification by the Dean that there is compliance with the requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015 (NSW).

Adjustments

Must not compromise the knowledge requirements of the unit so that a student must be able to demonstrate that they possess the requisite knowledge and have achieved the required learning outcomes that demonstrate the student's own knowledge.

Exemplars

Undertaking a range of assessment tasks such as exams, written assignments, presentations and practical applications that demonstrate his or her own knowledge of the required content. The student must demonstrate his or her knowledge by way of assessment tasks that make reasonable allowance for any disability, provided such allowance does not compromise knowledge requirements and learning outcomes for the unit.

Completion of a written examination of 2 or 3 hours duration under exam conditions, with appropriate adjustments where needed, that do not compromise the integrity of the examination as a demonstration of the student's own knowledge.

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2. Ethical Behaviour

Introduction

Law is a profession governed by competency standards, rules and codes of ethics, professional conduct and professional boundaries where Lawyers are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts.

Description

Student demonstrates knowledge of, engages in and understands the requirements of ethical behaviour in practice.

Justification

Compliance with the codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people they engage with. This ensures the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the individual is not placed at risk.

Adjustments

Must not compromise codes of conduct or result in unethical behaviour.

Exemplars

Complying with academic and non-academic misconduct policies.

Demonstrating appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom, clinical and placement settings.

Demonstrating compliance with professional conduct rules, rules of natural justice, honesty, courtroom and professional etiquette.

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3. Behavioural Stability

Introduction

Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in a demanding professional role.

Description

Student demonstrates the behavioural stability required to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic, clinical and professional environment.

Justification

Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing, challenging and unpredictable environments. Law students will be exposed to emotionally challenging and intellectually demanding situations and human suffering and will be required to have the necessary behavioural and intellectual stability to manage these events objectively and professionally.

Adjustments

Must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in academic, clinical and professional settings.

Exemplars

Being perceptive, receptive and professional in responding appropriately to constructive feedback.

Coping with own emotions and behaviour effectively in the classroom and when dealing with individuals in the clinical and placement setting.

Behaviour and social attributes that enable a student to participate in a complex learning environment.

Working effectively both as individuals and as members of teams.

Operating ethically and responsibly within any contextual framework.

Recognising personal limitations, as well as when and where to seek assistance or professional advice and support.

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4. Legal

Introduction

Legal practice is mandated by specific legislation, rules, and codes of conduct to enable the professional delivery of legal service.

Description

Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with Australian Law, professional rules, codes of conduct and regulations and scope of practice.

Justification

Knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary prerequisites to clinical placements, courtroom settings, mediations and other negotiations in order to manage the risk of harm to self and others, as well as achieving learning outcomes.

Compliance with these professional regulations and the Australian Law ensures that students are professional, responsible and accountable for their practice.

Adjustments

Must be consistent with legislation, rules, codes of practice and regulatory requirements.

Exemplars

Complying with relevant child protection and safety legislation.

Complying with rules of evidence.

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5a. Communication (Verbal)

Introduction

Effective and efficient verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe, effective, professional advice and practice in Australia.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner.
  • The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation.
  • The ability to provide timely and clear feedback and reporting.

Justification

Communication may be restricted to verbal because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions).

Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for effectiveness of advice.

Timely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions is critical to individual client safety and management.

Verbal communication is essential to achieving the learning outcomes in these units as they are inherent in aspects of legal practice where verbal communication is essential, such as court room advocacy, taking instructions from clients, advising in conference and mediation and negotiation of disputes.

Adjustments

For impaired verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues.

Exemplars

Participating in tutorial, simulation, clinical and placement discussions.

Responding appropriately to advice that is being sought in the clinical and placement environment.

Effectively and independently communicating orally knowledge and application of legal principles.

Ability to effectively use oral communication to interact with others including the lay public, courts, governance and other authorities and members of the legal profession.

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5b.  Communication (Non-verbal)

Introduction

Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to the legal profession and needs to be courteous, respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic, honest and non-judgmental.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • Capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues.
  • Displays consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours.
  • Responds with sensitivity to individual differences.

Justification

The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships.

Displaying consistent and appropriate demonstrative behaviour being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships.

Being sensitive to individual differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships.

Adjustments

Must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.

Exemplars

Recognising and responding appropriately in classroom situations.

Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in the clinical and placement environment.

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5c. Communication (Written)

Introduction

Effective written communication is fundamental to legal practice.

Description

Student demonstrates capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances including the use of Plain English and avoiding legalese and jargon.

Justification

Receiving and accurately documenting clients’ instructions, and the construction of written text based on assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards, are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter, procedures and professional practice.

Accurate written communication, including e-mail, letter writing, record-keeping and client instructions and notes, is vital to provide consistent and professional client care.

Advocacy, mediation, arbitration and negotiations require the preparation of clear and precise documentation such as pleadings, affidavits, written submissions and position papers.

Adjustments

Must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in academic, clinical and placement settings.

Exemplars

Constructing an essay to academic standards.

Constructing a law student's report in a timely manner that meets professional standards.

Drafting legal documents to appropriate legal and professional standards.

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6a. Knowledge and cognitive skills

Introduction

Consistent and effective knowledge and cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide safe and competent legal assistance and advice.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information.
  • Ability to process information relevant to practice.
  • Ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice.
  • Ability to understand the principles of the duty owed to the court and to the client.

Justification

The delivery of quality legal advice and being able to advocate and negotiate a client's case is based on comprehensive knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied to enable the provision of best practice quality legal assistance.

Adjustments

Must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded.

Exemplars

Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items.

Applying knowledge of policy and procedures in the clinical and placement setting.

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6b. Listening and comprehension skills

Introduction

Competent listening and comprehension skills are essential to provide professional and effective delivery of legal advice to the client.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to accurately acquire information and convey appropriate messages.
  • The ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information.
  • The capacity to understand and implement legal conventions to construct written text in a legal context.

Justification

The ability to acquire information in a variety of circumstances and to accurately convey messages is necessary to demonstrate the capacity to deliver effective legal advice and assistance to clients.

The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is necessary to demonstrate the capacity to deliver effective legal advice and assistance to clients.

Adjustments

To address listening and comprehension issues must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information in a timely manner.

Exemplars

Demonstrating the ability to acquire information accurately and effectively.

Demonstrating the ability to convey a message accurately and effectively.

Demonstrating the ability to paraphrase, summarise and reference in accordance with appropriate academic conventions.

Demonstrating the ability to respond to instructions in order to produce accurate, concise and clear legal documentation.

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6c. Numeracy

Introduction

Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for professional legal advice and effective client management.

Description

Student interprets and correctly applies data, measurements and numerical criteria.

Justification

Competent application of numeracy skills is essential in legal practice to ensure the quality of legal advice and assistance to clients, particularly in dealing with Trust and Control monies.

Adjustments

Must demonstrate a capacity to appropriately interpret and apply concepts and processes in a timely, accurate and effective manner.

Exemplars

Demonstrating an understanding of complex commercial transactions that involve numeracy skills.

Calculating entitlements to damages, compensation, interest or other monetary payments in litigation.

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7. Sustainable performance

Introduction

Legal practise requires both physiological and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to meet individual and group needs.

Description

Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to maintain consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time.
  • The ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately.
  • The ability to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time.

Justification

Sufficient energy and mental endurance is an essential requirement for effective practise in the legal discipline, which requires concentration on the activity for a period of time to provide effective support.

Adjustments

Must demonstrate that performance can be consistent and sustained over a period of time.

Exemplars

Participating in educational settings, such as workshops.

Consistent involvement in clinical placements over a negotiated time frame.

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