LAW 3534A - Law Reform Part A

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2016

This course will examine theories, practices and processes for achieving reform of the law. The course will operate in conjunction with the South Australian Law Reform Institute and students will participate in the references being undertaken by the Institute. The topics to be covered in the course include: -theories of law reform; -the institutions through which the law is reformed; -the role of the community, the executive, the parliament, the bureaucracy, law reform bodies commissions and courts in progressing law reform; -the role of the news media and new media; -the role and function of the South Australian Law Reform Institute -legal policy analysis for law reform.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3534A
    Course Law Reform Part A
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Contact 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites LAW 2501 and LAW 2504
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only. Enrolment is by invitation only.
    Course Description This course will examine theories, practices and processes for achieving reform of the law. The course will operate in conjunction with the South Australian Law Reform Institute and students will participate in the references being undertaken by the Institute.
    The topics to be covered in the course include:
    -theories of law reform;
    -the institutions through which the law is reformed;
    -the role of the community, the executive, the parliament, the bureaucracy, law reform bodies commissions and courts in progressing law reform;
    -the role of the news media and new media;
    -the role and function of the South Australian Law Reform Institute
    -legal policy analysis for law reform.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr David Plater

    Dr David Plater
    Deputy Director, South Australian Law Reform Institute
    Ligertwood Building
    Ph: 8313 0921
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    This course seeks to equip students with an appreciation of the methods of law reform and the distinct role a law reform agency has in the modernisation of the law. On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1. to explain how the historical and modern context of law reform impacts upon the role and operation of law reform agencies;
    2. to identify the challenges of law reform and how such challenges have been or can be addressed (including an example such as relating to an Indigenous law reform issue);
    3. to undertake high level research of an assigned area of the law within its comparative and policy and legal dimensions;
    4. to present an argument, both in writing and orally, into a specific legal problem by demonstrating research skills, understanding of the relevant area of the law, the policy and practical implications arising and skills in effective oral and written communication to a broad audience;
    5. to critically analyse and provide constructive feedback on presentations, reports and other items as to their effectiveness and persuasion. 
    6. to understand and critically analyse the operation of a defined area of law to a specific legal problem in the form of a literature review.

    LLB Graduate Attributes

    Students who successfully complete the subject Law Reform will satisfy the following LLB graduate attributes:

    Knowledge

    a)   A law graduate from the Law School at the University of Adelaide will have a clear and detailed knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of the Australian legal system, including the separation of powers, the role of the judiciary, the legislative process, and the role and control of the executive. 

    b)   The law graduate will also have knowledge and understanding of the development of law and legal principle within the subject area of Law Reform and the specific area of the reform project. They will have the capacity to maintain appropriate familiarity with, and a capability to access the content of, legal principle in this area.

    Intellectual and Social Capabilities

    a)   A law graduate will have the cognitive skills to analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources and experiences so as to identify and address as appropriate legal and related issues.

    b)   A law graduate will have an awareness and appreciation of the incompleteness of law and the continuous state of development of legal principle in response to social and technical changes, and a capacity to respond to such change and assist such development as appropriate.

    c)   A law graduate will have critical thinking and problem solving skills.

    d)   A law graduate will have oral and written communication skills of a high order.

    e)   A law graduate will have skills to work both independently and cooperatively, in a professional environment.

    f)    A law graduate will have the capacity and commitment to learn and maintain intellectual curiosity, and to engage in life-long personal and professional learning.

    Attitudes and Values

    a)   A law graduate will have a commitment to the rule of law.

    b) A law graduate will have an understanding of social and cultural diversity and sensitivity of the operation of the law and legal structures in that context.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    2, 3, 4 , 5, 6
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    3, 4, 5, 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    4, 5, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3, 4, 5, 6
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1, 2, 3, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    4, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Text Book
    Brian R. Opeskin and David Weisbrot (eds), The Promise of Law Reform (Federation Press, 2005)
    Depending upon the relevant law reform project(s), the relevant legislation will be required. This will be discussed at the seminar.
    Students should also be aware of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Law Reform bodies which are listed on the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) webpage.
    Students should also be aware of the State Attorney-General's Department website which will note ongoing law reform and legislative issues.
    Students should be aware that particular law reform issues can be topical and change at very short notice depending upon various factors. The actual law reform topics to be covered as part of this course may be subject to change.

    Recommended Resources
    Students will be informed of recommended resources. It will depend upon the applicable law reform topic(s) that are covered in the course. Links to relevant articles and/or reports will be made available on the MYUNI course website.

    There may be various guest speakers from government, legal practice, the media, the community and the judiciary during the course. Additional recommended resources may be provided to help students prepare and engage with such guest speakers.
    Online Learning
    Various on line resources will be made available to students during the course.

    Students in particular as part of the course will critique and provide constructive feedback on examples of written and oral presentations, online, using a rubric to be provided as to the effectiveness and persuasion of such presentations. The course aims to support and develop the skills of students in both oral and written communication.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Seminars

    The primary teaching mode will be seminars. Seminars will often be in the form of interactive discussions. There is quite often no right or wrong answer.

    Students will be expected to have conducted the pre-class reading and research. Students will be required to come to seminars fully prepared and willing and able to enter into the discussions relating to the relevant materials. Questions will be provided relating to the course readings that will assist to support, focus and structure the individual learning of students.

    The seminar will be an important part of the learning in this course. Students will be expected to actively contribute to the seminar and in doing so develop their important skills in both oral and written communication and presentation. Students will regularly be called upon to present and lead discussion of the materials and their individual research and opinions.
      
    Students will also analyse and provide constructive reflection and feedback on both written and oral communciation and the class presentations showing these skills. 

    In addition to seminar attendance and discussion, weekly research activities may be assigned. Students will use these structured exercises to inform discussion of particular activities undertaken in class.

    There may be various guest speakers from government, legal practice, the media, the community and the judiciary during the course. Students should take the valuable opportunity to fully engage with such guest speakers who are kindly sharing their time and expertise. It goes without saying that students should always treat any guest speaker with professionalism.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Law Reform A and Law Reform B is a full year university course. It consists of one continuing 3 unit subject. The course runs over both Semester 1 and 2 of the academic year. Students will have 2 hours of class time per week plus up to 1 hour of structured activities.

    Students will expect to spend at least 3 hours each week in independent study related to the course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Semester I
     SeminarActivitiesAssessment
    Week 1 Introduction Discussion of course and course materials

    Discussion of SALRI and its role in this course

    Introduction to law reform resources
    Week 2 Part 1: Law reform in legal education Critical discussion of set reading Literature and Case Review Topics assigned
    Part 2: The history of law reform in Australia and elsewhere Critical discussion of set reading
    Part 3: Assignment topic Discussion of topic and assessment process explained
    Week 3 Part 1: The history of law reform in Australia and elsewhere (continued) Part 1: Critical discussion of set reading
    Part 2: Assignment topic - policy aims for reform and relevant South Australian laws Part 2: Group discussion
    Week 4 Part 1: Law reform means and methods Critical discussion of set reading
    Part 2: Presentation by Law Librarian on legal research Refresh legal research skills for law reform
    Week 5 Part 1: The history of law reform in South Australia Critical discussion of set reading
    Part 2: Legal citation  Discussion and quiz
    Week 6 Assignment 1:

    Current law on assignment topic

    Critiques in law reform reports and articles and interstate position
    Overview of General Written and Oral Presentation and Preparation for Student Exercises
    MID SEMESTER BREAK
    Week 7 Part 1:
    Institutional arrangements and models

    Law reform methods (continued)
    Critical discussion of set reading
    'Challenge of Modern Law Reform: on the Smell of an Oliy Rag'
    Part 2: Assignment 1 - Progress reports Assigned group presentation and discussion
    Week 8 Part 1: Law reform outcomes Critical discussion of set reading  
    Part 2: Assignment 1 - Progress reports Discussion

    Week 9

    Student presentation of Assignment Presentation and peer critique Presentation
    Week 10 Student presentation of Assignment Presentation and peer critique Presentation

    Week 11

    Student presentation of Assignment Presentation and peer critique Presentation
    Week 12 Student presentation of Assignment Presentation and peer critique Presentation

    Literature & Case Review due

     
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Please note that this summary refers to assessment for the whole year (Law Reform Part A in Semester 1 and Law Reform Part B in Semester 2).

    The Semester 1 assessment is the Literature and Case Review (35% of the total marks for this course).

    The Semester 2 assessment is the Research Assignment (55% of the total marks for this course).

    Class participation is one mark assessed over both Semester 1 and Semester 2 (10% of the total marks for this course). 

    Assessment Task

    Word Limit

    Percentage (%)

    Redeemable (Y or N)

    Class Participation - 10 N
    Literature and Case Review
    Written Assignment 1500 30 N
    Assignment Presentation - 5 N
    Research Assignment
    Written Assignment 3500 50 N
    Assignment Presentation - 5 N
    Assessment Related Requirements

    Participation in Seminars – weighting 10%
    Students will be assessed on the quality of their contributions to the seminars. This assessment will address the following learning objectives identified in the assessment scheme: 2 (a-c) and (e). It also covers Course Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

    Students should be able to engage in the literature and present opinions and foster discussion based upon the materials. In particular students will:

    • address specific questions of law, policy or practice raised by the literature and the seminar leader, and
    • give presentations of their assignments to the class and critique and provide constructive feedback on the presentations of other students.

    AND

    Literature and Case Review – weighting 35%
    Students will present a literature and case review relating to the assigned research project. This is likely to be linked to the ongoing work of the Law Reform Institute. This assessment will address the learning objectives identified in the assessment scheme: 2.1 (c-f). It also covers Course Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. There will be an emphasis on the research, understanding of the relevant law and the skills of oral and written presentation in both the literature and case review.

    For this assessment, students will be required to submit a written paper AND give a seminar presentation of their review to the class before submitting the written paper for assessment. This assessment task has a weighting of 35% of the mark for the course, comprising 30% for the written paper and 5% for the presentation.The written Literature and Case Review is due on the last day of Semester 1 Week 12.

    AND

    Research Assignment – weighting 55%
    The Research Assignment will address the learning objective identified in the assessment scheme: 2.1 (c-f). It also covers Course Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. 

    The Research Assignment will be likely to be determined by the particular project(s) being undertaken by the Law Reform Institute. Specific aspects of the research activity will be determined by the end of Semester 1.

    The research assignment will allow students to undertake detailed research in an assigned area of the law and examine the legal, policy and practical implications arising and to make specific recommendations for law reform. The research assignment provides students with the opprtunity to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant law and its implications in a law reform context, capacity to identify a research question and analyse relevant legal materials and to make considered recommendations and to develop and demonstrate their skills in oral and written presentation to a broad audience. For this assessment, students will be required to submit a written paper AND give a seminar presentation of their review to the class before submitting the written paper for assessment. This assessment task has a weighting of 55% of the mark for the course, comprising 50% for the written paper and 5% for the presentation.

    The written Research Assignment is due on the last day of Semester 2 Week 12.

    All assessment is summative. All assessment is compulsory. All assessment is to be undertaken individually. Although there are collaborative activities all assessment task are to be undertaken by the individual student.

    Replacement Research Assignment
    Where a student fails the course but qualifies for replacement assessment under the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessments, they will be required to submit a new Replacement Research Assignment on a new topic provided by the course co-ordinator. This Replacement Research Assignment topic will cover a wide range of material examined in the course and will be due two weeks after the posting of the final results for the course.  Formal requirements for the Replacement Research Assignment will be the same as for the primary Research Essay, however the Replacement Research Assignment will be weighted in accordance with the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment policy.

     

    Assessment Detail

    PARTICIPATION IN SEMINARS – weighting: 10% of the total marks for this course (one mark applies to participation over the whole year ie: in both Semester 1 and Semester 2)

    Students are expected to attend and participate fully in seminars.

    Grade Descriptors for Class Participation are as follows:

    High Distinction 85-100
    Regular attendance at classes, outstanding level of quality contribution to class discussion demonstrating a strong understanding of concepts, high level of analysis and strong capacity to identify issues, clear understanding of cases and materials, strong responsiveness to the contributions of others, ability to provide considered and constructive feedback and evidence of thorough reading of set material and preparation for class.

    Distinction 75-84
    Regular attendance at classes, frequent contributions to class discussion of a highly developed nature demonstrating clear understanding of concepts, high level of analysis and clear capacity to identify issues, sound understanding of cases and materials, strong responsiveness to the contributions of others, ability give helpful and constructive feedback and evidence of reading set material and preparation for class.

    Credit 65-74
    Regular attendance at classes, frequent contributions to class discussion demonstrating thoughtful approach to materials and clear understanding of concepts, capacity to analyse cases and material and identify issues, responsiveness to the contributions of others,  ability to provide helpful feedback and evidence of reading set material and preparation for class.

    Pass 50-64
    Regular attendance at classes, limited contributions to class discussion but adequate to demonstrate understanding of concepts and capacity to analyse cases and material and identify issues, basic responsiveness to the contributions of others, basic feedback and evidence of reading set material and preparation for class.

    Fail 0-49
    Failure to regularly attend classes, limited contributions and lack of responsiveness to questions, inability to demonstrate understanding of concepts or capacity to analyse cases and material and identify issues, limited or poor evidence of reading set material and preparation for class.

    LITERATURE AND CASE REVIEW – weighting 35%
    Each student must complete a 1500 word (maximum) literature and case review. The specific topic of the review will be outlined in week 2 of semester 1. Copies of the specific topics will be available at the seminar and on MyUni.

    Due Date
    The Literature and Case Review Assignment is due by 2.00pm on the last day of Semester 1 Week 12 .

    There will be a penalty for late submissions of 10% per day or part day. This penalty is NOT 10% of the mark but of the assessment. For example an assignment that obtains a mark of 70% which is two days late will incur a penalty of 20%. The final mark would be 50%.

    The literature and case review requires independent research. The objective of the review is to allow students to research and draft a background research paper on a specific topic. The review will take the form a commentary on the relevant literature as well as the relevant cases. In general the review paper will be akin to an annotated bibliography and summary of the leading cases and relevant articles, legislation and law reform papers on the topic.

    The literature and case review involves both written and oral communciation skills. The exercise involves original and independent research AND a presentation of the written paper to the class before it is submitted for assessment. The written paper will be assessed at 30% and the presentation will be assessed at 5% of the mark for this course.

    In citing materials in footnotes the referencing system used in The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd edition, 2010) (‘AGLC3’) should be followed. AGLC3 is available for purchase from bookshops or may be accessed at http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/aglc.

    In assessing the literature and case review, the quality of the research and presentation of the key findings will be important.

    Grade Descriptors for Literature and Case Review

    A more specific guide to the criteria required for achievement in the various grades, is as follows:

    High Distinction 85-100
    Outstanding level of quality work demonstrating a strong appreciation of the relevant research question, high level of analysis and strong capacity to identify issues, clear understanding of cases and literature. Outstanding level of quality of language, spelling and grammar; and complete accuracy in use of correct forms of legal citation.

    Distinction 75-84
    Work of a highly developed nature demonstrating clear understanding of appreciation of the relevant research question, high level of analysis and clear capacity to identify issues, sound understanding of cases and literature. Very high level of quality of language, spelling and grammar; and very high rate of accuracy in use of correct forms of legal citation.

    Credit 65-74
    Work demonstrating thoughtful approach to materials and clear understanding of the relevant research question, and evidence of basic research and understanding of the cases and literature. High level of quality of language, spelling and grammar; and high rate of accuracy in use of correct forms of legal citation.

    Pass 50-64
    Work that is limited but adequate to demonstrate understanding of the research question and capacity to analyse obvious cases and literature. Competent level of quality of language, spelling and grammar; and few errors in accuracy in use of correct forms of legal citation.

    Fail 0-49
    Poor quality work and lack of responsiveness to the research questions, inability to demonstrate understanding of concepts or capacity to analyse cases and literature. Poor quality of language, spelling and grammar; and inaccurate use of correct forms of legal citation.

    RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT – weighting 55% 

    For further information on the Research Assignment, please refer to the Course Outline for Law Reform Part B.

     

    Submission
    By the due date all submissions should be submitted via TURNITIN and an electronic copy emailed to the Course Coordinator.

    All Assignments must comply with the following:

    All Assignments should be one and a half spaced and have margins wide enough to allow for comments and feedback by the examiner.

    Students must also submit an electronic copy of their assignment in Word format to the Course Coordinator by the due date for the assignment.

    Students must retain a copy (including an electronic copy) of the Seminar Paper and Research Essay they submit. Students may be required to submit their seminar paper and/or research essay to an electronic plagiarism detection software (SafeAssign or Turnitin) and, in any event, are encouraged to use these software programs themselves as a check for plagiarism and the academic integrity of their work.

    All Assignments must be attached to a signed Assignment Cover Sheet. Examiners will withhold a student’s results until such time as the student has signed the Assignment Cover Sheet. Examiners can refuse to accept assignments that do not have a signed acknowledgement of the University’s policy on academic honesty/plagiarism (refer to policy below). Students must also include on the coversheet a statement as to word length to their Seminar Paper and Research Essay. Reasonable use of footnotes will not be included in the word count.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    NOG (No Grade Associated)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support

    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    Practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/  

    Lex Salus Program

    Lex Salus was founded in 2013 by Adelaide Law School Wellbeing officers Ms Corinne Walding, Ms Kellie Toole and Dr Mark Giancaspro. Lex Salus is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at raising law student awareness of the importance of mental, physical and nutritional health across all year levels of the degree, and of the various counselling, disability and equity services both within and outside the University that can provide help. Research shows that law students, both in Australia and in many jurisdictions around the world, experience the highest levels of stress, anxiety and depression out of any other discipline. Many do not get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet or achieve a realistic work/life balance. Making matters worse, they are unwilling or afraid to speak up for fear of feeling 'weak' or because of the negative stigma that attaches to seeking help. Lex Salus is dedicated to tackling these problems head-on.

    Counselling Service

    The University Counselling Service provides a free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Counselling service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life. More information is available at https://www.adelaide.edu.au/counselling_centre/

  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Further information regarding the Law School Policies and Procedures in relation to Supplementary Assessment, Extensions, and Remarks etc can be found at:

    https://unified.adelaide.edu.au/group/law-school/policies-and-procedures

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School Enrolment Guide, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer. The importance of ethics is fundamental to being a lawyer.

  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.