Faculty of Law

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedClayton Second semester 2012 (Day)


There are two components taught concurrently. The Writing component will teach basic skills in legal writing, with an emphasis on the types of writing required for assessment in other law units, including research essays and answers to legal problems. The Research component will provide students with the essential skills to undertake research tasks required for their law studies. Students will learn to analyse a research problem into searchable components; locate and update Australian and foreign primary and secondary materials by using online and hard copy library research tools; use and cite references correctly, and evaluate the relevance and authoritative status of legal materials.


Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • design and implement an efficient research strategy to answer a legal research question, using the most appropriate online and paper-based research tools;
  • critically evaluate the relevance, quality, authority and currency of the materials that they find;
  • correctly use, attribute and cite the work of others and avoid plagiarism
  • identify the hallmarks of good legal writing, and use them to edit and improve their own writing; and
  • apply and develop their higher order thinking skills of evaluation, problem-solving, synthesis, and analysis in writing on legal topics.


There will be no final examination.

Legal writing assignment: 20% (1000 words)
Opinion writing piece on the social aspects of cyber-bullying based on provided resources.

Summaries of legal sources: 30% (1500 words) Students will be provided with a list of references from which they should choose 10 references (6 cases, 2 statutes, 2 journal articles) from the US/UK/Canada jurisdictions. Students will be required to find them, read them, and provide summaries of each (approximately 200 words for each source). Classes in weeks 5 and 6 will provide guidance to the students.

Research essay: 40% (2000 words)

Based on an Australian research for the topic; students will formulate proposals for draft legislation to address the problem. Feedback from instructors will be provided on the feedback sheet via Student Services after the final mark is released.

Research Exercises: 10%

A series of short answer exercises testing the student's research skills learned in class. Delivery and submission will be via Moodle. Participation in the 6 research skills classes will also be taken into account.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Eric Wilson

Contact hours

Students will have three hours of small group seminar classes each week. Preparation for class will typically require about 3 hours a week. Private study, group work, further reading, written exercises and assessments will account for the balance of 12 hours of study time per week throughout the semester.