LAW 6505 - Professional Obligations

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2014

This course will provide an understanding of your professional obligations as a legal practitioner. The topics are: Legal Costs, Ethics and Regulation, Trusts and Office Accounting. 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 Summer
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Prerequisites LAW 6501
    Assessment Assessment in this course will include one or more of the following: final examination, online quizzes, multiple choice questions and discussion boards.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Maree Cutler-Naroba

    In the first instance, students are to contact the GDLP Program Director, Maree Cutler-Naroba at  

    The GDLP Program Director will then contact the appropriate Course Supervisor if further clarification of the student query is needed.

    Course Supervisors:

    Costs: Graeme Arnold
    Ethics and Regulations: Ros Burke
    Trust and Office Accounting: Ros Burke

    Course Timetable

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

    For Professional Obligations there are 10 hours of lectures: the lectures are pre-recorded and available online.
    There are NO face to face lectures.

    For Professional Obligations there are 14 hours of Seminars divided into the following blocks of time
    All Seminars are compulsory
    Students enrol in ONE seminar group ONLY

    Costs 4 hours
    Lawyers Ethics and Regulations 5 hours
    Trust and Office Accounting 5 hours

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    By the end of this course you should be able to:

    Legal Costs (Topic 1)

    1. have an overview of the regulation and accountability of lawyers charges in South Australia;
    2. understand the law regulating solicitor’s retainers;
    3. understand how the court scales work;
    4. understand the differences between Solicitor/Own Client costs and Party/Party costs;

    Lawyers’ Ethics and Regulation (Topic 2)

    5. understand the Regulatory Framework in South Australia relating to lawyers’ conduct;
    6. resolve common ethical dilemmas that practising lawyers face;
    7. understand how to avoid being struck off the roll through analysing examples of professional misconduct;

    Trusts and Office Accounting (Topic 3)

    8. demonstrate the knowledge, skills and values to maintain compliant trust account records according to law and good practice;
    9. understand the fiduciary duties relating to trust accounts;
    10. identify what is trust money, including how to receive and pay it out;
    11. identify risks to the trust account such as fraud and money laundering;
    12. understand record keeping requirements relating to Cashbooks, Trust ledgers, Transfer Journals, investments, securities and direct payments; and
    13. understand how to reconcile the trust account, produce trust account statements and other end of matter procedures and responsibilities.
    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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1 to 13
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 4,6,7,8,12,13
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 4,6,7,8,12,13
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6,8
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 12,13
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1 to 13
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1,5,8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1,5,8
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Seminar resources are available on MyUni ONLY. Please NOTE there will be no hard copy of seminar resources printed. Students must bring along an electronic device to seminars so that they can access seminar materials. Reading resources are also available on MyUni, along with supplementary non-assessed online quizzes and activities to enhance your learning.

    Recommended Resources
    Note: all of the resources below are provided to students ONLINE.
    Due to the emphasis on the currency of legal practice, other materials may be added after the course outline has been posted.
    Details of supplementary readings and resources will be posted online under the Content section of Professional Obligations.  

    Topic 1: Costs


    1. Dal Pont, Gino, Law of Costs (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed 2009)
    2. Quick, Roger, Thomson Reuters, Quick on Costs
    3. Norman, Peter, LexisNexis Butterworths, Legal Costs – South Australia


    1. Re: Blyth & Fanshawe (1882) 10 QBD 207
    2. McNamara Business & Property Law v. Kasmeridis [2005] SASC 269
    3. Knope v. Webster (unreported, Judge Lunn, Supreme Court 12/8/10, SSC IV 08-1338)
    4. Catto & others v. Hampton Australia Ltd (In Liq) [2008] SASC 231
    5. General of Berne Insurance Co v. Jardine Reinsurance Management Ltd [1998] 2 AllER 301, 308
    6. Russo v. Buck & others [2010] SASC 27
    7. Osborne v. Kelly & another [1999] SASC 486

    Suggested further reading 

    1. Norman, Master Peter, Introduction to Legal and Practical Aspects of Costs, Law Society of South Australia, 2008
    2. Ericson, Bill, Cogan, Tim, A Solicitor’s Guide to the Supreme Court Scale, Law Society of South Australia, 2010
    3. Cogan, Tim, So You Have Been Awarded Costs…Now what do you do?, Law Society of South Australia, 2011
    4. Ericson, Bill, Retainer Agreements, Law Society of South Australia, 2009
    5. Ericson, Bill, A Solicitors Guide to the Magistrates Court Scale, Law Society of South Australia, 2013

    Topic 2: Lawyers’ Ethics and Regulation

    Legislation and Rules

    1. Legal Practitioners Act 1981
    a. Part 2A: The Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council and the Board of Examiners;
    b. Part 3 Divisions 1, 2, 3, 3A, and 4: The practice of the law;
    c. Part 3 Division 9: Appointment of supervisors and managers;
    d. Part 6 Divisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6: Investigations, inquiries and disciplinary proceedings.
    2. South Australia Rules of Court Regulating the admission of Practitioners 1999
    3. Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2004
    4. Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2004: Amendment Nos 1-6
    5. Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules SA 2011


    6. Dal Pont, G. E (Gino Evan), Lawyers' Professional Responsibility, 5th Edition, Thompson Reuters 2013.
    a. Chapter 1 (The Concept of Professional Responsibility), pp 3-6, 20-33
    b. Chapter 4 (Duties to the Client and their Enforcement), pp 107-130
    c. Chapter 17 (Duty to the Court), pp 535-586
    7. Ross, Ysaiah, Ethics in Law: Lawyers' Responsibility & Accountability in Australia, 4th edition, LexisNexis Butterworths Australia 2005, “Lawyer-Client Conflict and Influence”, pp143-217


    SA Disciplinary

    8. Legal Practitioners Conduct Board v Jones [2010] SASCFC 51
    9. Legal Practitioners Conduct Board v Kayal [2011] SASCFC 25
    10. Legal Practitioners Conduct Board v Lind [2011] SASCFC 104
    11. Legal Practitioners Conduct Board v Fardone [2011] SASCFC 138
    12. Legal Practitioners Conduct Board v Clisby [2012] SASCFC 43
    13. Legal Practitioners Conduct Board v Rowe [2012] SASCFC 144

    Qld Disciplinary

    14. Legal Services Commissioner v Winning [2008] LPT 13

    Unauthorised Practice/holding out

    15. Maguire v Pankiewicz AMC-08-7862
    16. Maguire v Modra AMC-08-14840

    Topic 3: Trusts and Office Accounting


    1. Dal Pont, G. E (Gino Evan), Lawyers' Professional Responsibility, 5th Edition, Thompson Reuters 2013, Chapter 9 (Duty to Account), pp 317-331


    2. Trust Account Handbook, 2nd Edition, Law Society of South Australia, 2009

    Legislation and Rules

    3. Legal Practitioners Act 1981
    a. S5
    b. Part 3, Division 5
    c. Part 3, Division 8
    d. Part 4, Division 1
    e. Part 4, Division 2
    f. Part 4, Division 4
    g. S95BA
    h. S95D
    4. Legal Practitioners Regulations 2009
    a. Part 5, Division 2
    b. Part 5, Division 3
    c. Reg 38
    d. Reg 39
    Online Learning
    All course materials are provided on My Uni. This includes readings, seminar materials, assessment information and instructions, and audio recordings of lectures. Students are expected to check MyUni frequently over the time of the course, to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught through online lectures supported by face to face interactive problem-solving seminars and practical exercises developing primary material.

    Students must come prepared for seminars with prior reading of material and draft responses to the seminar questions. Students must arrive on time for the seminars. If students have not prepared seminar responses and/or have arrived more than 10 minutes late they will be asked to leave the seminar group and enrol in another seminar group.

    A reminder that students MUST bring along an electronic device to the seminars so that they can access the seminar material electronically.

    Attendance is necessary to ensure that students are part of an interactive and reflective learning environment (which enhances learning outcomes of the substantial material covered) and develop their skills of oral presentation, teamwork and persuasion (valuable communication skills in professional environments).

    Preparation for seminars is an essential element of this course. The necessary interactive learning environment in a seminar cannot be achieved without informed participation from all students. Further, by working in small groups within seminars to answer some questions, students develop skills of teamwork. Moreover, active participation in seminar discussions requires students to develop their skills of oral presentation, and their abilities to persuade others through the use of reasoned argument.

    Students who, due to disability, compelling medical or compassionate reasons, or in exceptional circumstances, are unable to attend the required number of seminars, may complete alternative work in lieu of attendance. The precise nature of this make-up work will depend on the seminar missed and will be negotiated with the GDLP Program Director. Students should inform the GDLP Program Director at the earliest opportunity if they will require this permission.

    For these reasons seminar attendance is compulsory and active participation is required.

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

    There will be 10 hours of online lectures and 14 hours of face to face seminars during the course.

    Professional Obligtions is a 2 week intensive course.

    In addition to the lectures and seminars, we recommend that you spend 8 hours per week in private study which includes reading the material, preparing for lectures and seminars and undertaking the assessment tasks.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topic 1: Costs
    Course supervisor: Graeme Arnold

    Lecture 1: 2 hours
    Solicitor/Own Client Costs

    Lecture 2: 2 hours
    Party/Party Costs

    Seminar 1: 2 hours
    Solicitor/Own Client Costs

    Seminar 2: 2 hours
    Party/Party Costs

    Assessment: Legal Costs Workbook Assessment 30%

    Topic 2: Lawyers’ Ethics and Regulation
    Course supervisor: Ros Burke

    Lecture 1: 2 hours
    Regulatory Framework and Statutory Bodies

    Lecture 2: 2 hours
    Ethical Duties and the Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules

    Seminar 1: 2 hours
    Application of the Regulatory Framework and Statutory Bodies

    Seminar 2: 3hours
    Ethical Problem Solving Scenarios

    Lawyer Ethics Essay 10%
    Lawyer Ethics and Regulation Scenarios 30%

    Topic 3: Trusts and Office Accounting
    Course supervisor: Ros Burke

    Lecture 1: 2 hours
    Trust and Office Accounting

    Seminar 1: 3 hours
    Trust and Office Accounting Examplar - Part 1

    Seminar 2: 2 hours
    Trust and Office Accounting Examplar - Part 2

    Assessment: Trust and Office Accounting Workbook 30%

    Specific Course Requirements
    The course is based on the rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (LPEAC) 2004 which specifies the expected competency standards for entry level lawyers at the point of admission. In order to pass this course you are required to demonstrate competence in these standards. Consequently, compulsory attendance and active participation in seminars is required.
  • 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
    Topic 1: Costs 


    Legal Costs Workbook Assessment 30%

    Available: 23/2/14, 9am
    Deadline: 6/3/14, 5pm

    Learning Objectives: 1 to 4

    Topic 2: Lawyers’ Ethics and Regulations


    Lawyer Ethics Essay 10%

    Available: 11/2/14, 9am
    Deadline: 18/2/14, 5pm

    Lawyer Ethics and Regulation Scenarios 30%

    Available: 17/2/14, 9am
    Deadline: 24/2/14, 5pm

    Learning Objectives: 5 to 7

    Topic 3: Trusts and Office Accounting


    Trust and Office Accounting Workbook 30%

    Available: 21/2/14, 9am
    Deadline: 3/3/14, 5pm

    Learning Objectives: 8 to 13

    All assessments are individual assessments and are redeemable.

    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance and satisfactory participation in seminars is compulsory.
    Assessment Detail
    Unless otherwise stated, there is no prescribed word limit for assessments.

    This is because the purpose of the GDLP is to transition you from academic study into professional employment. In a workplace it is highly unlikely you are going to be told 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.

    Marks may be deducted from assessment because of poor expression, incorrect grammar, typographical errors etc.

    Presentation is to be single spaced and 2.5cm left margin.

    Assessments will be returned to students within 3 weeks of the due date, unless otherwise notified by the GDLP Program Director through a Course Announcement.

    The marked and scanned copy of assessments will be returned via email.
    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All failed assignments, per University policy, are double-marked before the result is released back to the student. The first and second markers then discuss what the final result will be.

    If a student still fails after the double marking process, they have to revise and resubmit the assignment to a pass standard. The maximum mark a student can receive is 50%.

    Late submission penalty
    Any assignment submitted after the due date without an approved extension will receive a penalty of 5% for every 24 hours of lateness.

    Approved extensions are through the GDLP Program Director.

    Extensions on medical or compassionate grounds will be in accordance with University Policy.

    Late assessments are to be submitted to

    If a student receives a mark between 50 to 55%, but subsequently fails due to late penalties then 50% is the maximum mark they will receive. BUT, in addition, the student will be asked to revise and resubmit a task from the assessment, at the discretion of the GDLP Program Director.

    If a student receives a mark of 56% or above, but subsequently fails due to late penalties, then 50% is the maximum mark they can receive. There is not an opportunity to resubmit this assignment.

    For example if a student gets 64% and has a late penalty of 20%, giving a result of 44%. This student would get 50% for the assessment and will not be able to resubmit this assignment.

    All the assessments for this course are redeemable. This means, if you fail the assessment due to the quality of the work (not because of late penalties) then you are able to revise and resubmit the assessment. You have 7 days from the time you are informed by email from the LSSA GDLP Office to resubmit your assessment.

    The parts of the assessment you are to resubmit are the parts that you received less than 50% on. You only have ONE opportunity to revise and resubmit your assessment. An alternative task will be set for the non-redeemable assessment.

    When your assessment is resubmitted it is marked according to the marking rubric. Your result, for example maybe 64% BUT the most you can receive for a revised and resubmitted assessment is 50%.
    Course Grading

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

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    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.

    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 ( 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
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • 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.

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