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LAW3312 Ethics for Lawyers

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Ethics for Lawyers
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 090913 - Legal Practice
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Lisa Sylvester


Pre-requisite: Students enrolled prior to 2016 - LAW1121 or (LAW2205 and LAW3423); All other students - LAW2212 or LAW3205.

Other requisites

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


This is a core course in the Bachelor of Laws and is mandated by the Legal Practitioners Admissions Board, Queensland, being a prescribed area of knowledge for legal practice.


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 the following outcomes:

  1. Knowledge, including:
    (i) fundamental knowledge of professional conduct (including trust accounting) and underlying principles and concepts, including local and national contexts
    (ii) the broader contexts within which legal issues arise, including the ability to critically evaluate and examine the broader context within which legal issues arise, including, for example, the political, social, historical, philosophical and economic context
    (iii) the principles and values of justice and of ethical practice in lawyers’ roles
  2. Ethics and professional responsibility, including:
    (i) an understanding of approaches to ethical decision-making
    (ii) an ability to recognise and reflect upon, and a developing ability to respond to, ethical issues likely to arise in professional contexts
    (iii) an ability to recognise and reflect upon the professional responsibilities of lawyers in promoting justice and in service to the community
    (iv) a developing ability to exercise professional judgment
  3. Thinking skills, including the ability to identify and articulate legal issues; comprehend legal and other materials; apply legal reasoning and research to generate appropriate responses to legal issues; engage in critical analysis and make a reasoned choice amongst alternatives; and think creatively in approaching legal issues and generating appropriate responses
  4. Communication skills, including the ability to communicate in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for legal and non-legal audiences, including in the context of legal letter-drafting.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to the legal profession 10.00
2. Moral frameworks of legal practice 20.00
3. Regulation and discipline 10.00
4. Engagement and fees 10.00
5. Litigation and advocacy ethics 10.00
6. Competence and care 10.00
7. Conflicting loyalties 10.00
8. Relations with other lawyers 10.00
9. Client money. 10.00

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. (

Grisham, J 1991, The Firm, Doubleday, New York.
Mortensen, R 2017, Client money: trust account management for Australian lawyers, LexisNexis, Sydney, New South Wales.
Parker, C & Evans, A 2018, Inside lawyers' ethics, 3rd edn, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Victoria.

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.
Baron, P & Corbin, L 2017, Ethics and legal professionalism in Australia, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria.
Dal Pont, G 2017, Lawyers' professional responsibility, 6th edn, Thomson Reuters, Pyrmont, New South Wales.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 80.00
Directed Study 39.00
Private Study 46.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ESSAY 30 30 15 Apr 2019
COURSE ENGAGEMENT 30 30 13 May 2019
EXAMINATION 40 40 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This will be an open examination. The total working time for the examination is 90 minutes. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Online: There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility 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.

    On-campus: 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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain 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:
    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