LAW5015 - Ethics in legal practice - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Chief examiner(s)

Ms Oyiela Litaba Research ProfileResearch Profile ( Trimester 1
The Hon Nahum Mushin Adjunct Professor Trimester 2
Jamie Walvisch Trimester 3

Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.

Unit guides


City (Melbourne)

  • Trimester 1 2018 (On-campus)
  • Trimester 2 2018 (On-campus)
  • Trimester 3 2018 (On-campus)


LAW5000 or LAW5080 or LAW5081, LAW7265 or LAW5002, LAW5003, LAW5005, LAW5006, LAW5008, LAW5010 and LAW5004 (for students beginning in 2015 or later)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see

Previously coded as LAW7331


This unit provides a practical and critical introduction to ethical decision-making and the law and codes of professional responsibility in lawyering. It introduces different moral approaches to legal practice, focusing on the justifications for and criticisms of the traditional adversarial advocate approach and alternatives to it in the context of different areas of practice. Students will be encouraged to develop awareness of their own ethical orientation and expected to be able to apply different ethical approaches to hypothetical scenarios. This unit examines the way that lawyers' ethics and conduct are regulatedand set out in legal principles and codes. Students will be expected to be able to identify and resolve ethical issues that arise in legal practice using the professional conduct rules and law of lawyering. Students will also be expected to be able to critically assess the way lawyers' ethics are regulated by these rules against different ethical approaches to legal ethics and in different practice contexts.


At the successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate understanding of knowledge of the law of professional responsibility and the principles and values of justice and of ethical practice in lawyers' roles;
  2. display an advanced and integrated understanding of:
    • the approaches to ethical decision-making; and
    • the professional responsibilities of lawyers in promoting justice and in service to the community;
  3. exhibit an advanced ability to exercise professional judgment;
  4. identify and articulate complex ethical and responsibility issues in lawyering;
  5. apply ethical approaches and the law of professional responsibility to generate appropriate jurisprudential and practical decision-making and conduct in lawyering;
  6. engage in critical analysis and make reasoned and appropriate choices amongst alternatives;
  7. demonstrate sophisticated cognitive and creative skills in approaching legal and ethical issues and generating appropriate responses and developing new understandings;
  8. communicate how to apply professional responsibility principles and resolve ethical issues in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for legal and non-legal audiences;
  9. collaborate effectively in resolving ethical dilemmas in different practice contexts and in context of commercial challenges to professionalism; and
  10. demonstrate ability to learn and work with a high degree of autonomy, accountability and professionalism, and reflect on and assess their own capabilities and performance in relation to ethical judgment, making use of feedback as appropriate, to support personal and professional development.


  1. 3 minute video presentation: 10%
  2. Research essay (2,250 words): 30%
  3. Examination (2 hours plus 30 minutes reading time): 60%

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 30 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.