CQUniversity Unit Profile
LAWS12063 Legal Drafting
Legal Drafting
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The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information

Overview

Legal practitioners engage in legal drafting on a daily basis and effective written communication skills are essential for legal practice. This unit aims to enhance your legal drafting skills by providing you with an authentic practical learning experience. You will complete a variety of practical drafting tasks that newly qualified lawyers are likely to undertake in practice, including: - drafting legal documents, such as pleadings and affidavits; - drafting contracts in accordance with a client’s instructions; - preparing letters of advice; and - preparing persuasive arguments, such as outlines of argument. This unit will analyse a range of drafting techniques and explore how to convey complex information using clear and simple language. You will also consider how to draft a document in accordance with its purpose, the needs of the audience and the client’s instructions. You will further refine their drafting skills by engaging in reflective practice and through a process of critically analysing and redrafting existing documents. Topics of focus include: - drafting techniques and plain English drafting; - grammar, syntax and punctuation in legal drafting; - the art of persuasive writing; - common sources of ambiguity in the drafting of documents; and - devising solutions to drafting issues. Note that a comprehensive coverage of drafting convention relevant to specialised substantive areas of the law is not possible in this unit. Instead, the unit focuses on the foundational principles for drafting legal documents to prepare students for the significant and diverse range of tasks they may face as a legal practitioner.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 2
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 10
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Pre-requisite: 24 credit points of law. 

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2021

Online

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Online Quiz(zes)
Weighting: 20%
2. Written Assessment
Weighting: 60%
3. Reflective Practice Assignment
Weighting: 20%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Have your say survey, feedback in class

Feedback

Provide some exemplars with the more complex drafting tasks.

Recommendation

Exemplars were not provided for some drafting tasks, such as wills, because the purpose of the task was for students to attempt to draft these documents from scratch without sight of an original document, using the drafting techniques taught in the first four weeks. However, short example passages of text were provided in the study guides where students would not necessarily know the drafting convention to include in the will. However, exemplars of pleadings can be provided in future, as there is more scope to vary the content to be included in the pleadings. A workshop activity related to the critiquing the exemplars will also be included.

Feedback from Have your say survey, feedback in class

Feedback

Students appreciated the fact that the assessment tasks were authentic legal drafting tasks.

Recommendation

Continue to use a drafting portfolio that requires students to complete a broad range of authentic legal drafting tasks, to be submitted incrementally throughout the term.

Feedback from Have your say survey, feedback in class

Feedback

Students appreciated the extensive formative feedback that was provided on a weekly basis to facilitate improvement in their legal drafting and the extensive feedback on their drafting in the assessment tasks.

Recommendation

Continue to provide feedback via both formative tasks and summative assessments.

Feedback from Have your say survey, feedback in class

Feedback

Tutorial sessions sometimes felt rushed to ensure the class got through the weekly material and covered all the relevant drafting conventions, practical drafting tips etc.

Recommendation

Increase workshop length.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Communicate effectively in writing, including the appropriate usage of grammar, syntax and punctuation
  2. Evaluate and debate issues affecting the drafting of documents and redraft any provisions requiring amendment
  3. Apply principles of plain English drafting and drafting conventions to create legal documents that comply with the client’s instructions and the objectives of the document
  4. Analyse a variety of approaches to the interpretation of documents and utilise these approaches and legal principles to inform the drafting of a document
  5. Reflect critically on their own written work and provide comprehensive feedback to others through a peer review process.
Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
2 - Reflective Practice Assignment - 20%
3 - Written Assessment - 60%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
2 - Reflective Practice Assignment - 20%
3 - Written Assessment - 60%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

Prescribed

Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide 3rd ed (2021)

Authors: Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg
LexisNexis Butterworths
Chatswood Chatswood , NSW , Australia
ISBN: 9780409351484 (pbk); 9780409351491 (ebk)
Binding: Paperback

Additional Textbook Information

The textbook is available both in paperback and as an e-book. ISBNs for each as follows:

9780409351484 (pbk)

9780409351491 (ebk)

If you prefer to study with a paper text, you can purchase one at the CQUni Bookshop here: http://bookshop.cqu.edu.au (search on the Unit code).

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • ZOOM
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 4th ed

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
James Harding Unit Coordinator
j.m.harding@cqu.edu.au
Nichola Corbett-Jarvis Unit Coordinator
n.corbett-jarvis@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1: Introduction Legal Drafting Begin Date: 12 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Introduction to Legal Drafting.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), 6.193 - 6.221.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 2: Grammar Matters (Part 1) Begin Date: 19 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Grammar Matters: Part 1.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), 2 - 2.68.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 3: Grammar Matters (Part 2) Begin Date: 26 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Grammar Matters: Part 2.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), 2.69 - 2.94.

Daniel Victor, ‘Oxford Comma Dispute is Settled as Maine Drivers Get $5 Million’, The New York Times (8 Debruary 2018).

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Week 4: Plain English Drafting Begin Date: 02 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Plain English Drafting.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), Chapter 3.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Week 5: Correspondence Begin Date: 09 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Correspondence.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2nd ed, 2017), 6 - 6.92.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.




Online Quiz Due: Week 5 Tuesday (10 Aug 2021) 10:00 pm AEST
Vacation Week Begin Date: 16 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

No Zoom workshop this week.

Week 6: Outlines of Argument Begin Date: 23 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Outlines of Argument.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), 6.114 - 6.148.

The Honourable Justice K M Hayne, ‘Written Advocacy’ (Speech delivered at the Legal Education Program of the Victorian Bar, 5 and 26 March 2007).

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 7: Contracts Begin Date: 30 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Contracts.

Chapter

Mark Cohen, ‘How to Draft a Bad Contract’ (2016-2017) 17 Scribes Journal of Legal Writing 79.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Part 1 of Drafting Portfolio due 11.59 pm on 2 September 2021 (Qld time).

Week 8: Affidavits Begin Date: 06 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Affidavits.

Chapter

The Honourable Justice James Henry, 'The Affidavit as a Tool of Persuasion: Drafting an Effective Affidavit and Using an Affidavit Effectively' (Paper delivered at the Cairns Judiciary CPD Series, Cairns) [2015] Queensland Judicial Scholarship 40.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Week 9: Pleadings Begin Date: 13 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Pleadings.

Chapter

The Honourable Justice James Henry, 'The Agreement and the Pleadings: The Foundations of Successful Commercial Litigation' (Paper delivered to the NQLA Conference, Cairns) [2014] Queensland Judicial Scholarship 46.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Week 10: Wills Begin Date: 20 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Wills.

Chapter

Thomas Word 'A Brief for Plain English in Wills and Trusts' (1980) 14(3) University of Richmond Law Review 471.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 11: Drafting for the Digital Reader Begin Date: 27 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Drafting for the Digital Reader

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), Chapter 7.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Part 2 of Drafting Portfolio due 11.59 pm on 30 September 2021 (Qld time).


Drafting Portfolio Due: Week 11 Thursday (30 Sept 2021) 11:59 pm AEST
Week 12: Professional and Reflective Practice Begin Date: 04 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Professional and Reflective Practice.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), 5.165 - 5.183.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop


Reflection Due: Week 12 Friday (8 Oct 2021) 11:59 pm AEST
Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 11 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Exam Week Begin Date: 18 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Online Quiz(zes)

Assessment Title
Online Quiz

Task Description

Lawyers are professional users of language. Language is an essential tool to persuade others on behalf of their clients. It is also used to define relationships and create rights and obligations. Poorly drafted documents can create ambiguity or produce an outcome the client does not want. Inevitably, this means lawyers must understand the rules of grammar and punctuation, the principles of plain English drafting, and the foundational principles of legal drafting. This Quiz will focus on the content covered in Modules 1– 4. This Quiz may include multiple choice and short answer questions.
1) This Quiz is worth 20% of the overall assessment for this unit.
2) This Quiz will be made available at 5:00 pm on Friday 6 August 2021. 
3) You must complete the test by submitting your answers to all questions online. You have one attempt to complete and submit your answers. You must therefore submit your answers online in one sitting (you cannot save your answers and return to them or amend them at a later date). You will have 90 minutes to submit your answers online once you commence the Quiz.
4) You must complete your submission online by 10:00 pm on Tuesday 10 August 2021 (answers must be submitted by this time). Answers that are received after the due date will attract a late penalty. Any late penalty will continue to apply until all your answers have been submitted online.
5) Submission online is the only form of submission that is acceptable. You are advised to submit your answers well in advance of the submission due date to allow time for technical issues. If you experience any technical issues, you should notify the unit coordinator via email immediately.
6) If you have a genuine reason for late submission of your assignment (i.e. medical illness) you should apply for an extension through Moodle as soon as possible before the due date.


Number of Quizzes

1


Frequency of Quizzes

Other


Assessment Due Date

Week 5 Tuesday (10 Aug 2021) 10:00 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Grades will be returned within 2 weeks


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

The Quiz will assess:

  • your ability to communicate using appropriate grammar, syntax and punctuation;
  • your ability to identify which aspect of a provision require amendment and explain why;
  • your ability to apply the principles of plain English drafting; and
  • your knowledge of the principles relevant to the interpretation of documents and your ability to utilise these to inform the drafting of a document.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Evaluate and debate issues affecting the drafting of documents and redraft any provisions requiring amendment


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Information Literacy

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Drafting Portfolio

Task Description

The Drafting Portfolio consists of authentic drafting exercises of the kind you would be expected to undertake as a trainee or newly qualified lawyer. It is submitted incrementally so that you receive feedback on your drafting regularly and so that it encourages you to identify your progress and areas requiring more focus. The Drafting Portfolio is compiled over the duration of the Term and consists of two parts:

1. Part 1: 30% in total (due in week 7), which includes:

(i) Letter of advice to a client; and

(ii) Portfolio of the workshop exercises for weeks 1 to 5.

2. Part 2: 30% in total (due in week 11), which includes:

(i) Outline of argument; and

(ii) Portfolio of the workshop exercises for weeks 6 – 10.


Assessment Due Date

Week 11 Thursday (30 Sept 2021) 11:59 pm AEST

Students must submit their work incrementally as detailed above.


Return Date to Students

Students will receive feedback within 2 weeks of submission


Weighting
60%

Assessment Criteria

This Drafting Portfolio will assess your ability to:

  • communicate effectively in writing, including the appropriate usage of grammar, syntax and punctuation;
  • evaluate issues affecting the drafting of documents and redraft any provisions requiring amendment;
  • apply the principles of plain English drafting and drafting conventions to create legal documents that comply with the client's instructions and the objectives of the document;
  • analyse a variety of approaches to the interpretation of documents and utilise these approaches and legal principles to inform the drafting of a document;
  • provide comprehensive and constructive feedback to a peer with reference to the marking rubric; and
  • reflect on your drafting and identify methods for improving your draft document.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Communicate effectively in writing, including the appropriate usage of grammar, syntax and punctuation
  • Evaluate and debate issues affecting the drafting of documents and redraft any provisions requiring amendment
  • Apply principles of plain English drafting and drafting conventions to create legal documents that comply with the client’s instructions and the objectives of the document
  • Analyse a variety of approaches to the interpretation of documents and utilise these approaches and legal principles to inform the drafting of a document
  • Reflect critically on their own written work and provide comprehensive feedback to others through a peer review process.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Information Literacy

3 Reflective Practice Assignment

Assessment Title
Reflection

Task Description

Lawyers never stop refining their legal skills and knowledge. As a condition of their practising certificate, lawyers are required to engage in professional development activities each year. To ensure their skills and knowledge advance, lawyers must engage in reflection as part of their professional practice. To assist students in becoming reflective legal practitioners, this assessment requires students to reflect on their drafting portfolio, feedback received from their tutor and the feedback received from peers through the peer review process. As part of the reflection process, students will self-grade their work and identify their areas of strength. Students must also identify areas for improvement and explain how they intend to improve their work.

Word limit: 1,000 words (including footnotes).


Assessment Due Date

Week 12 Friday (8 Oct 2021) 11:59 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Grades for this assessment will be returned upon certification of grades


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

This Reflection will assess your ability to:

  • describe the learning experience and your performance;
  • analyse the learning experience and your work with reference to the assessment criteria;
  • reflect upon the feedback you received;
  • identify methods by which you can improve your work in the future; and
  • communicate effectively in writing.



Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Communicate effectively in writing, including the appropriate usage of grammar, syntax and punctuation
  • Evaluate and debate issues affecting the drafting of documents and redraft any provisions requiring amendment
  • Analyse a variety of approaches to the interpretation of documents and utilise these approaches and legal principles to inform the drafting of a document
  • Reflect critically on their own written work and provide comprehensive feedback to others through a peer review process.


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Information Literacy

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?