LAW 6505 - Professional Obligations

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of your professional obligations as a legal practitioner. An entry-level lawyer should act ethically and demonstrate professional responsibility and professional courtesy in all dealings with clients, the courts, the community and other lawyers. You should have sufficient knowledge, skills and values to maintain trust and general account records according to law and good practice, to the extent usually permitted and expected of an employed solicitor. The topics included are: ethics and regulation, trusts, office accounting, and legal cost. The issues raised in this course are highly relevant for other GDLP courses and legal practice.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 6505
    Course Professional Obligations
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to GDLP students only. Not available for Study Abroad & Exchange.
    Assessment Assessment in this course will include one or more of the following: workbook, online quizzes, multiple choice questions and discussion boards.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Desiree Holland

    As course staff work in the South Australian legal profession all communication should be directed to the GDLP Coordinator, Desiree Holland in the first instance:

    The GDLP Coordinator will contact the appropriate course staff as necessary. 

    Course Coordinator (Adelaide Law School): Prof. Suzanne Le Mire
    Course Timetable

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

    This course will be taught intensively. Full details of seminars and activities are made available on MyUni course website
    prior to the course commencing. 

    Students are required to attend all seminars.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1 Critically evaluate and interpret information necessary to perform competently as graduate entry lawyer.
    2 Articulate legal arguments and perspectives both individually and within teams.
    3 Demonstrate an ability to exercise professional judgement consistent with the practice of law.
    4 Identify and apply ethical principles which govern legal practice.
    5 Demonstrate a broad repertoire of skills appropriate for the tasks.
    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)
    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
    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
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    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
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    No textbooks are assigned for GDLP courses.

    Seminar resources and readings are available on MyUni ONLY. Students must bring electronic devices to seminars to access seminar materials.

    Due to an emphasis on current legal practice other materials may be added after the course outline has been posted. Students are required to check MyUni daily to keep up to date.

    Recommended Resources
    Most course resources are provided to students ONLINE via MyUni. Relevant law can be accessed online via:

    Due to the emphasis on current legal practice, other materials may be added after the course outline has been posted. Students are required to check MyUni daily to keep up to date.
    Online Learning
    The course is supported by the MyUni course website. The website contains the following resources:

    1. Course information – including seminar schedule and assessment outline.
    2. Course materials – such as lecture presentations, seminar materials, readings and resources.
    3. Assessment – items of assessment and online submission.
    4. Grade centre – where students’ results for assessments are entered.

    MyUni will also be used to post announcements. Students are expected to check MyUni regularly daily to keep up to date.

    Students should check daily their University of Adelaide email.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught intensively. Attendance at seminars is strongly advised. Interactive, problem-solving seminars and practical exercises are supported by online lectures and readings. Missing seminars will put you at a severe disadvantage in completing the requirements of the course. In most cases, assessment tasks are strongly linked to seminars activities.

    Students must come prepared for seminars and, where applicable, having listened to online lectures, undertaken prior reading and developed draft responses to seminar questions.

    A reminder that students must bring along electronic devices to the seminar so they can access the seminar materials electronically.

    Students are expected to behave in an ethical and professional manner as would be expected in the workplace environment (as per the professional conduct rules and standards). 

    Full details of seminars and activities are made available on the MyUni course website prior to the course commencing. 


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

    This course will be taught intensively.

    Preparation time

    In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assessments.

    The University expects full time students, in particular those enrolled over a 6 month rather than 12 month period, to devote in excess of 15 hours per week to their studies. This is a guide only.
    Learning Activities Summary
    A detailed seminar schedule will be posted to MyUni prior to the course commencing. Learning activities will involve an intensive seminar series as well as online lectures and materials to be used in preparation for the seminars.

    - Lectures are a teacher-driven learning activity; relaying of knowledge and information.
    - Seminars are more interactive than lectures. Students are expected to prepare answers to seminar questions to facilitate useful in-class discussions between peers. As such, seminars are largely student driven. Seminar leaders are learning facilitators.

    Assessment tasks are also learning activities.

    This course will cover the following topics:

    - Regulations and Conduct Rules & 1B Ethical Problem Solving
    - Introduction to Risk Management
    - Costs
    - Trust and Office Accounting

    Specific Course Requirements
    The course is based on the rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (LPEAC) 2018 which specifies the expected competency standards for entry level lawyers at the point of admission. In order to pass this course you are expected to demonstrate competence in these standards. Attendance at seminars is highly advised and active participation in seminars is required in addition to assessment tasks.

    The national competency standards include underpinning knowledge and skills in:
    · Ethics and professional responsibility
    · Lawyers skills
    · Problem solving
    · Work management and business skills

    For further information please contact LSSA program manager (GDLP).
  • 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
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Learning Outcome
    Lawyer ethics and regulations scenarios Individual Week 2 1-5
    Costs workbook Individual Week 3 1-5
    Trust and office accounting workbook Individual Week 3 1-5
    Assessments will be made available to students, prior to the nominated deadline.

    Note: Competence must be demonstrated in all assessment tasks and activities.

    * Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Detailed information regarding assessment tasks will be provided on MyUni .

    In this course, students will also be assessed on the following:
    · Punctuality
    · Workload management and ability to adhere to deadlines
    · Display active engagement in practical activities
    · Demonstrate respectful behaviour towards others
    · Maintaining a high level of confidentiality at all times
    · Satisfactory completion of prescribed exercises
    · Underpinning national competency standards (as noted in ‘Specific course requirements’)

    Unless otherwise stated, there will be no prescribed word limit for assessments. This is because the purpose of the GDLP programme is to facilitate your transition from undergraduate academic law studies to the legal professional employment environment through the demonstration and practice of professionally-based skills and competencies. In a legal practice it is highly unlikely you will be
    set a certain number of words or pages for the tasks you are asked to complete.

    However, in the majority of assessments guidelines will be provided.

    The quality of English expression is considered to be an integral part of the assessment process. Assessment competence will take into consideration: expression, structure, correct grammar, typography, etc.

    Assessments will be returned to students within 3 weeks from the due date, unless otherwise notified by the program officer (GDLP) through a course announcement.
    Assessment Detail
    Assessments will be made available to students, prior to the nominated deadline. Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing.

    Assessments guidelines will be provided for each assesssment task. Unless otherwise stated, there will be no prescribed word limit for assessments. This is because the purpose of the GDLP program is to facilitate your transition from undergraduate academic law studies to the legal professional employment environment through the demonstration and practice of professionally-based skills and competencies. 

    All assessments are competency based (non-graded pass). Competence must be demonstrated in all assessment tasks and activities.  MyUni requires a numerical value to display that competency has been demonstrated. Please note:

    1 – Competency has been achieved (non-graded pass)
    0 = Competency has not yet been achieved (re-submission required). Assessments will be made available to students, prior to the nominated deadline. Assessment deadlines will be posted on MyUni prior to the course commencing.

    Lawyer ethics and regulations scenarios
    Ethical scenarios x 4
    Consider the following scenarios and prepare a written discussion on each which includes the following:

    Identification of:

    - The ethical principles that arise;
    - The applicable ASCRs;
    - Any relevant statutory requirements; and
    - Any relevant common law (i.e. fiduciary obligations).
    Reflection piece

    Costs workbook
    Five questions.

    - Estimate costs in accordance with Supreme Court scale
    - Inspection of documents under Supreme Court rules  
    - A claim for costs 
    - Recovering interest on costs       
    - Difference between costs on an indemnity basis rather than a party to party.

    Trust and office accounting workbook
    43 Short answer questions regarding:
    - Trust Accounting Duties and Obligations·        
    - Trust Money       
    - Trust Account      
    - Trust Records      
    - Deposits       
    - Cleared funds       
    - Payments       
    - Withdrawing funds for payment of legal costs·        
    - Cashbooks      
    - Ledger       
    - Reconciliations      
    - Trust Account statements

    Students must retain a copy of all assessments submitted.

    Students are to submit assessments online by Turnitin.

    Please note: where forms or documents have been outlined in assessment activities for completion these should be downloaded from original sources and completed in an electronic format, if not supplied.

    Students will be marked in accordance with the marking rubric.


    Students are required to demonstrate competency in all elements of the national competency standards and failure to do so will result in the relevant assessment being marked as non-competent. If the assessment is deemed non-competent students may be offered the opportunity to revise and resubmit the assessment.

    From 2019 a supplementary teaching day will be offered. Attendance is not compulsory. After this teaching day, students who need to resubmit their assessment may do so. If the resubmitted assessment fails to demonstrate competency then the student will need to undertake this course again and pay additional fees.

    Assessments that do not attain competence on resubmission (fail), per University policy, are double-marked before the results are
    released back to the student.


    Students MUST apply for an extension prior to the deadline to the program manager (GDLP).

    Extensions on medical and compassionate grounds will be in accordance with University policy.

    Late Submission

    Assessments submitted late will not be marked.

    NOTE: in this course, students are assessed against the national competency standards and professional workplace standards; namely
    · Ethical and professional responsibility
    · Lawyers skills
    · Problem solving
    · Work management and business skills
    · Punctuality
    · Workload management and ability to adhere to deadlines
    Course Grading

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

    GS8 (Coursework Grade Scheme)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing
    FNS Fail No Submission
    NFE No Formal Examination
    F Fail
    NGP Non Graded Pass
    P Pass
    C Credit
    D Distinction
    HD High Distinction
    RP Result Pending

    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.

    In this course all assessment and course results are competency based (non-graded pass) as per the table below.

    Competence must be demonstrated in all assessment tasks and activities.

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

    Grade Grade reflects following criteria for allocation of grade Reported on Official Transcript
    Fail No Submission No work submitted for assessment FNS
    Fail Competency not demonstrated F
    Non-Graded Pass Competency demonstrated NGP
    Result Pending An interim result RP
    Continuing Continuing CN
    No Formal Examination No formal examination NFE

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

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • 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 ( 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.

    The centre offers 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.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia 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.
  • 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.