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LAW7079 - Legal research and problem solving

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Dr Matthew Groves


Clayton Trimester 1 2007 (Day)
Clayton Trimester 3 2007 (On-campus)


  1. A series of classes in legal problem-solving techniques. A guide to the theory of legal argumentation and how those skills can be applied for maximum benefit in dealing with legal problems.
  2. develop students' legal research skills with an emphasis on teaching students how these skills can be applied to produce efficient and accurate legal writing. Students are also required to present and defend a legal submission, hence enhancing their oral presentation skills and their ability to work with others. While print sources will be referred to, a greater emphasis will be placed in the unit on teaching the new and burgeoning electronic sources together with the resources of the Internet.


On completion of this subject students will have developed:

  1. an understanding of the nature of legal research;
  2. an ability for undertaking independent legal research;
  3. sophisticated skills in legal research techniques;
  4. the ability to analyse legal problems, to apply relevant law and to argue a case (in a written and oral form) to a level appropriate for qualified legal practitioners;
  5. an ability to work in groups.


Individual Research Test: 20%. This task requires students to research a legal problem and prepare an answer within a class. Draft professional letter, topic to be set by the lecturer. This task requires the student to demonstrate their writing skills in a practical professional context: (20%). Group Research Topic: 60%. This task requires students to divide into groups (of 2-4 students) and research the answer to a large problem. Students are required to research and plan the topic in groups, but prepare and submit an individual answer to the problem. This exercise will require students to: research a legal issue; prepare a submission on the topic (maximum of 2,500 words, not including notes); present their paper, as a group, to the rest of the class (15 minutes); defend their paper against criticisms/comments made by the rest of the class (10 minutes). This exercise accounts for a total of 60% of the assessment for this unit, which consists of: 35% for the final paper (2,500 words), 25% for the presentation of the paper.

Contact hours

2 hours per week x 12 weeks