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LAW3211 Legal Professional Practice and Ethics

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business
School or Department : School of Law

Contents on this page


Examiner: Katie Murray
Moderator: Reid Mortensen


Pre-requisite: LAW1202 and LAW2205 and LAW3204
Pre-requisite or Co-requisite: LAW3208


The course deals with the nature of legal practice, and involves further study of philosophies of applied ethics in legal practice. It includes skills exercises in letter drafting, and accounting for client money. Topics studied include the regulation of the legal profession; admission and discipline; engagement; billing; and responsibilities in relation to client money, the conduct of litigation and advocacy, competence and careful practice, confidences, and loyalty to clients. It also deals with civility and courtesy in dealings with clients and other lawyers.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. fundamental knowledge of professional conduct (including trust accounting)
  2. ethics in legal practice (ethical conduct and professional responsibility) in relation to institutions of governance, clients and other lawyers
  3. ethics in legal practice (sustainable practice) in the legal profession in understanding the significance of ethical, civil and responsible relations with institutions of governance, clients and other lawyers
  4. legal problem solving skills in comprehension of the structure of the legal profession, lawyers' professional responsibilities, and philosophies of lawyers' ethics
  5. legal problem solving skills in analytical and critical thinking about challenges of legal practice
  6. legal problem solving skills (academic literacy) in logical analysis and reasoning in the presentation of legal and ethical arguments relating to legal practice
  7. written communication in professional, civil and diplomatic letter writing
  8. interpersonal skills in judgment, courtesy, respect and personal diplomacy in dealings with others
  9. management skills in self-directed engagement and initiative in the study of legal practice.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to the legal profession 5.00
2. Moral frameworks of legal practice 30.00
3. Regulation and discipline 10.00
4. Engagement and fees 10.00
5. Client money 20.00
6. Client commitments and care 20.00
7. Relations with other lawyers 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Garner, H 2006, Joe Cinque's consolation: a true story of death, grief and the law, Picador, Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Mortensen, R 2010, Managing client money: lawyers' trust accounts in Queensland, LexisNexis, Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Parker, C & Evans, A 2007, Inside lawyers' ethics, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.
  • LAW3211 course content CD available for purchase from the USQ Bookshop. Note that course content is also available on-line via the USQ Study Desk.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Dal Pont, G 2010, Lawyers' professional responsibility, 4th edn, Lawbook Co, Pyrmont, New South Wales.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 80.00
Lectures and Tutorials 39.00
Private Study 46.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives assessed Graduate skill Level assessed Notes
ESSAY 30 30 18 Apr 2011 1,2,3,4,5,6,9 U1,U2,U3,U8,U10 3,3,3,3,3
TAKE-HOME EXAM 20 20 19 May 2011 1,2,3,5,6,7 U1,U2,U3,U4,U10 3,3,3,3,3
2-HOUR EXAMINATION 50 50 End S1 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 U1,U2,U3,U4,U5,U10 3,3,3,3,3,3 (see note 1)

  1. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Graduate qualities and skills

Elements of the following USQ Graduate Skills are associated with the sucessful completion of this course.
Ethical research and enquiry (U1)Advanced (Level 3)
Sustainable practice (U10)Advanced (Level 3)
Problem solving (U2)Advanced (Level 3)
Academic, professional and digital literacy (U3)Advanced (Level 3)
Written and oral communication (U4)Advanced (Level 3)
Interpersonal skills (U5)Advanced (Level 3)
Management, planning and organisational skills (U8)Advanced (Level 3)

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This will be an open examination. Candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments: Students studying this course as part of a Bachelor of Laws must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. Students who are not enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the AGLC style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library's referencing guide at <//>, or contact the Law librarian. The AGPS style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at <//>.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.