LAW 7189 - Access to Justice Research Project

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

Students will undertake a substantial research project addressing the use of innovation, including technology, to enhance access to justice. This course builds on the research skills developed in LAW 7187 Advanced Legal Research and Writing. Students will be able to choose whether to submit a traditional research dissertation, or produce a practical output supported by a shorter exegesis locating the practical work within the context of access to justice literature.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7189
    Course Access to Justice Research Project
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact 72 hours
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Prerequisites LAW 7187
    Restrictions Available to LLM students only. Course participation will be by way of selection.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Maeghan Toews

    Course Coordinator:
    Dr Colette Langos
    Room 221 Ligertood
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Analyse the foundational principles of their chosen thesis topic;
    2. Undertake complex legal research with primary and secondary materials;
    3. Critique the operation of law from a policy perspective and/or apply the law to complex issues, devising practical solutions for real-world access to justice challenges;
    4. Structure and sustain cohesive written arguments for a legal audience; and
    5. Reflect on their abilities to effectively and independently undertake individual work.

    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 3, 4

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3, 4

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There are no required resources for this course.
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended Text:

    Students should ensure they have access to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th ed, 2018), either in hard copy or online.
    Online Learning
    A course MyUni page will be used to communicate announcements and provide the submission portal for students' completed dissertations. 
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There are no lectures and seminars for this course, as students will meet and communicate to discuss the work with their allocated dissertation supervisor, on a regular basis to be agreed between them.

    There will be a general MyUni course page, through which students will receive communication, but no course material.

    There are no scheduled learning activities. It is expected that the supervisor and student will initially agree on a provisional timetable for
    submission of drafts.  If any issues arise during the semester, students should bring them to the attention of the Dissertation Coordinator as soon as possible.

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

    As this is a six unit course, students are expected to spend up to 24 hours a week during term time in the preparation of their dissertation.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Not applicable.
    Specific Course Requirements

    The process of writing and supervising each dissertation is unique. The process is incapable of being precisely regulated. However, for the removal of uncertainty, it is appropriate that the relationship of candidate and supervisor should be governed by a statement of the minimum expectations and responsibilities of each party in academic terms. Both candidate and supervisor are encouraged to enter into a dynamic academic process which maximises contact for critical discussion and pastoral concern.

    The Supervisor
    The supervisor’s role is facilitative and advisory. The supervisor must recognise that the candidate is involved in a process, namely the writing of an extensive piece of legal research of which the candidate has little or no previous experience. Accordingly, it is the supervisor’s role to respond to the candidate’s requests for reasonable assistance and to provide an encouraging environment for the critical evaluation of the candidate’s progress. However, the supervisor’s role is facilitative and advisory only. In particular, it is not the supervisor’s role to provide the candidate with a dissertation topic (although the supervisor may, and indeed generally will, offer advice in this regard).

    The particular responsibilities of the supervisor are:
    - to meet with the candidate shortly after the candidate is admitted to the course;
    - at this initial meeting or soon thereafter, to comment critically upon the candidate’s selection of a dissertation topic;
    - to be available to meet the candidate for a substantial discussion at least once a fortnight;
    - to encourage the candidate to begin their research promptly and to prepare early drafts of the dissertation to detect any potential problems at an early stage;
    - to comment promptly and critically, whether orally or in writing, upon (a) the development of the themes, arguments and structure of drafts of the dissertation and (b) the style and presentation of these drafts and the observance of the scholarly conventions of writing; and
    - to comment promptly and critically in the same manner upon the final draft.

    The Candidate
    The candidate’s role is to produce the dissertation. The candidate has primary responsibility for the progress of the dissertation and the final decision upon any academic matter regarding the content of the dissertation rests with the candidate.

    To this end, the particular responsibilities of the candidate are:
    - upon being informed of the identity of their supervisor, to make contact with the supervisor as soon as possible to schedule an initial meeting;
    - at this initial meeting or soon thereafter, to provide their supervisor with their topic for critical comment. Any significant variation of the topic after approval must be likewise discussed with the supervisor and approved by the Dissertation Co-ordinator;
    - to arrange and attend ongoing meetings with their supervisor;
    - to conduct research on their topic;
    - to prepare sufficient and timely drafts for their supervisor's critical comment;
    - to inform the supervisor of all significant matters affecting the progress of the dissertation and to discuss the academic impact of the same;
    - to prepare a complete draft of the dissertation for critical comment not less than fourteen days before the due date of submission or any extension granted; and
    - to prepare the final draft for submission and assessment by the appointed examiner by the due date.

    These guidelines govern the relationship of candidate and supervisor only. In any case of difficulty or disagreement, candidates and supervisors are encouraged to discuss matters with the Dissertation Coordinator. In the event of the need for a change of supervisor during the production of the dissertation, the Dissertation Coordinator will arrange such meetings as are necessary to ensure a smooth transition between supervisors and candidate.

  • 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
    Students will choose to undertake one of the following two assessment options:

    Traditional Dissertation
    Assessment item % of final mark Due Length Individual or Group Activity? Learning Outcomes
    Dissertation 100% Friday, week 12, 2pm 12,000 words maximum Individual 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Research Project

    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Practical Output  Individual

    Friday, week 12, 2pm

    50% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Exegesis  Individual Friday, week 12, 2pm 50%, 6,000 words maximum 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    See Assessment Detail below.
    Assessment Detail
    Length of Dissertation or Exegesis
    The appropriate length of the dissertation or exegesis will depend on the nature of the research undertaken. For a doctrinal analysis, a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words would be expected. For an exegesis providing the intellectual justification for and reporting the results of a project with a substantial empirical or applied component, 5,000-6,000 words would be expected.

    The word limit for the dissertation/exegesis is strictly enforced. In presenting their dissertation/exegesis, candidates are required to incorporate a signed statement as to the length of their work. Word limits include the main text of the dissertation/exegesis and substantive footnotes, while the title page, bibliography, table of contents, required declarations, and standard footnote references are excluded).

    A substantive footnote is any footnote which includes sentences (full or partial), whether alongside or without a citation, but does not include the standard footnote references as set out in the AGLC in Chapters 1.2 'Introductory Signals for Citations', 1.3 'Sources Referring to Other Sources' and 1.4 'Subsequent References'.

    Citations and footnotes should follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th ed, 2018).

    The dissertation/exegesis must be presented in the following format:
    -The margins on the left and right hand side of the page should be approximately 2.5cm.
    -Any one of the following fonts is acceptable: Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, or Palatino.
    -The font size for the main text must be at least 12 pt.
    -The font size for footnotes must be at least 10pt.
    -The main body of the text should be double spaced.
    -For general rules relating to line spacing for quotations follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
    -Footnotes may be single spaced.
    -The dissertation/exegesis must contain a title page, table of contents and a bibliography.
    -Formatting for the Headings and Bibliography should follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
    -Pages should be numbered.

    Declaration and Acknowledgement

    The dissertation/exegesis will have incorporated in it a signed statement to the effect that to the best of the candidate's knowledge and belief the dissertation/exegesis contains no material previously published or written by another person except when due reference is made in the text of the dissertation/exegesis, together with an acknowledgment of any help given or work carried out by another person or organisation. There should also be included a signed statement as to the word length of the dissertation/exegsis.

    Due Date - Dissertations or Practical Outputs/Exegeses must be completed and submitted by 2pm Friday, Week 12.

    - Requests for an extension of time should be based only upon special or unforeseen personal or research circumstances. As the dissertation must be engaged with, researched and written over a period of 12 weeks, significant circumstances will be required for an extension to be granted. Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with the University's Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy.

    The dissertation/exegesis supervisor and an independent examiner will mark the student's work. Having reached a mark independently, the supervisor and independent examiner will agree a final mark between them. If the supervisor and independent examiner cannot agree on a final mark, a further examiner will be appointed, and a majority position reached.
    Dissertations/Exegeses must be submitted electonically on MyUni.

    Upon request of the examiner(s), students may also need to submit up two (2) printed copies of their Dissertation or Exegesis to the Dissertation Coordinator. Should this be needed, students can elect to bind (comb, plastic, spiral, wire or wire-o bound types are appropriate) their copies, but binding is not required.
    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.

    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 feedback
    The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • 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 Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (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 Integrity 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.