CQUniversity Unit Profile
LAWS12072 Legal Research
Legal Research
All details in this unit profile for LAWS12072 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
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 Research builds upon your existing legal research skills acquired in Introduction to Law to enhance your ability to locate, analyse and apply legal and interdisciplinary sources in a range of contexts in preparation for your future law studies and legal practice. In this unit, you will engage in authentic research exercises you would be expected to complete as a trainee or newly qualified lawyer and carry out related skills-based tasks, such as conducting a client interview and drafting a letter of advice. You will also prepare a research portfolio in response to authentic research tasks.

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: LAWS11057 and a minimum 24 credit points.

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 - 2022

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. Practical Assessment
Weighting: 50%
2. Online Quiz(zes)
Weighting: 20%
3. Portfolio
Weighting: 30%

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 Student evaluations

Feedback

Some students indicated that the portfolio, when combined with the research project, was too much work.

Recommendation

Portfolios were worth 60% and required students to compile their workshop preparation into a portfolio. This means that a large percentage of the assessment in this unit is automatically generated by students completing their preparation for the weekly workshop tasks. The weekly workshop tasks were designed to help students prepare their research project. For example, content focused on project management, researching primary and secondary legal sources, locating interdisciplinary materials and drafting persuasive arguments all helped students prepare their research project. There are therefore solid reasons for retaining this type of assessment. However, the overall recommendation is that this unit requires a review and for the content and assessment in this unit to be designed in accordance with the objectives of the law program and mapped to the law degree as a whole.

Feedback from Student evaluations

Feedback

Some students liked the authentic research exercises and would prefer these tasks to a research project. Other students preferred being exposed to a law reform project.

Recommendation

The authentic legal research tasks, which included memos requiring students to complete a short research task for a supervisor in a law firm, were incorporated into the 2021 delivery as a result of student feedback. The weighting of the research project was reduced to reflect the fact that the unit was now also addressing authentic research tasks. Although some students saw great benefit in the diverse tasks, others found it distracted from the research project. The unit and the assessment should be thoroughly reviewed to identify a suitable structure and design that aligns with the objectives of the law program and maps correctly to the course curriculum.

Feedback from Student evaluations, emails

Feedback

Students appreciated the videos on advanced legal research techniques for the legal databases

Recommendation

Regardless of what changes are implemented regarding the assessment in the unit, the videos focused on navigating databases and using advanced research techniques should be retained and the unit coordinator should work closely with the library to ensure the development of other suitable videos on how to locate resources through the library's numerous databases.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Strategise and conduct a client interview to obtain relevant information from a client and provide advice to a client in an effective and professional manner.
  2. Locate and evaluate relevant and credible legal and interdisciplinary sources.
  3. Communicate effectively both orally and in writing in a range of professional and academic contexts.
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
1 - Practical Assessment - 50%
2 - Online Quiz(zes) - 20%
3 - Portfolio - 30%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
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
10 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

There are no required textbooks.

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom (both microphone and webcam capability)
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
Nichola Corbett-Jarvis Unit Coordinator
n.corbett-jarvis@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1: Client Interviewing Begin Date: 11 Jul 2022

Module/Topic

Client Interviewing.

Chapter

Ross Hymans, Susan Campbell and Adrian Evans, Practical Legal Skills: Developing Your Clinical Technique (Oxford University Press, 5th ed, 2021), Chapters 2 and 3.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 2: Focus on Rules Begin Date: 18 Jul 2022

Module/Topic

Focus on Rules.

Chapter

Jay Sanderson, Droccos Stamboulakis and Kim Kelly, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Lawbook Co, 5th ed, 2021), Chapter 2.

The Honourable Justice Michael Kirby, 'Statutory Interpretation: The Meaning of Meaning' (2011) 35(1) Melbourne University Law Review 113.

Reference reading: Nickolas James, Rachael Field and Jackson Walkden-Brown, The New Lawyer: Foundations of Law (Wiley, 2019), section 5.3.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 3: Focus on Cases Begin Date: 25 Jul 2022

Module/Topic

Focus on Cases.

Chapter

Jay Sanderson, Droccos Stamboulakis and Kim Kelly, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Lawbook Co, 5th ed, 2021), Chapter 3.

Reference reading: Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), sections 5.126 – 5.158.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 4: Legal Writing: Drafting Letters Begin Date: 01 Aug 2022

Module/Topic

Legal Writing: Drafting Letters.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), sections 6 – 6.92.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 5: Project Management Begin Date: 08 Aug 2022

Module/Topic

Project Management.

Chapter

David B Resnick, ‘What is ethics in research and why is it important’ (Dec 1 2015) https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/

Reference reading: National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007, updated 2018) https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/national-statement-ethical-conduct-human-research-2007-updated-2018

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Practical Assessment Due: Week 5 Friday (12 Aug 2022) 11:59 pm AEST
Vacation Week Begin Date: 15 Aug 2022

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

No Zoom workshop this week.

Week 6: Analysing Legal Issues Begin Date: 22 Aug 2022

Module/Topic

Analysing Legal Issues.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), sections 5.73 - 5.94.

Reference reading: Scott Beattie, The Law Workbook (The Federation Press, 3rd ed, 2010), Chapter 10 ‘Law reform’

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Week 7: Focus on Secondary Sources Begin Date: 29 Aug 2022

Module/Topic

Focus on Secondary Sources.

Chapter

Jay Sanderson, Droccos Stamboulakis and Kim Kelly, A Practical Guide to Legal Research (Lawbook Co, 5th ed, 2021), Chapter 4

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 8: Focus on Data and Other Sources Begin Date: 05 Sep 2022

Module/Topic

Focus on Data and Other Sources.

Chapter

No reading this week.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.

Week 9: Legal Writing: Presenting Arguments Begin Date: 12 Sep 2022

Module/Topic

Legal Writing: Presenting Arguments.

Chapter

Nichola Corbett-Jarvis and Brendan Grigg, Effective Legal Writing: A Practical Guide (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2021), sections 5.95 – 5.125 and Chapter 4.


Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Online Quiz Due: Week 9 Tuesday (13 Sept 2022) 11:59 pm AEST
Week 10: Presenting Research to an Audience Begin Date: 19 Sep 2022

Module/Topic

Presenting Research to an Audience.

Chapter

Jordan Furlong, 9 steps to a presentation that won’t leave your audience hating you (2013) http://www.stemlegal.com/strategyblog/2013/9-steps-to-a-presentation-that-wont-leave-your-audience-hating-you/

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom session.

Week 11: Professional Practice and Reflection Begin Date: 26 Sep 2022

Module/Topic

Professional Practice and Reflection.

Chapter

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

Events and Submissions/Topic

Weekly online Zoom workshop.


Week 12: Writing week Begin Date: 03 Oct 2022

Module/Topic

Writing week.

Chapter

No reading this week.

Events and Submissions/Topic

No Zoom workshop this week.
Research Portfolio Due: Week 12 Wednesday (5 Oct 2022) 11:59 pm AEST
Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 10 Oct 2022

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Practical Assessment

Assessment Title
Practical Assessment

Task Description

This unit is designed to enhance a range of practical legal skills and this is achieved through your work on a ‘client file’ as part of this practical assessment. You will be required to conduct a client interview with another student in order to ascertain relevant information so that you are able to provide the client with legal advice. You will then use your legal research skills to construct a letter of advice to the client. For this assessment, all students will therefore be required to work in groups of two and perform the role of lawyer and client.

Note: As students are reliant upon each other to conduct the client interviews, extensions are not permitted for this assessment.


Assessment Due Date

Week 5 Friday (12 Aug 2022) 11:59 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Week 7 Friday (2 Sept 2022)


Weighting
50%

Assessment Criteria

Opening of interview

Effective communication with client

Interview technique

Closing

Your ability to communicate in accordance with the needs of the reader and apply the principles of plain English drafting

Your ability to conduct legal research and provide advice on legal issues in accordance with the needs of the reader

Your ability to communicate effectively in writing


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Extensions are not permitted for this assessment as students must work in pairs, and are therefore reliant on each other, to conduct the client interviews. Students must include a link to the video recording of their interview with a client (in which they acted as the lawyer) and their letter of advice in one document. To facilitate the provision of feedback, please upload a Word document.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Strategise and conduct a client interview to obtain relevant information from a client and provide advice to a client in an effective and professional manner.
  • Locate and evaluate relevant and credible legal and interdisciplinary sources.
  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing in a range of professional and academic contexts.

2 Online Quiz(zes)

Assessment Title
Online Quiz

Task Description

The purpose of this task is to ensure that you can perform basic legal research tasks as a trainee or newly qualified lawyer in the future. You will be required to locate both primary and secondary sources on a range of legal databases and answer a number of multiple choice questions. The online test will be released in week 8 and due by 11:59 pm on Tuesday 13 September 2022 (Qld time). You will have 2 hours to complete the online test once you commence it.


Number of Quizzes

1


Frequency of Quizzes

Other


Assessment Due Date

Week 9 Tuesday (13 Sept 2022) 11:59 pm AEST

Open attempts will be submitted automatically when the time limit expires and/or when the due date is reached.


Return Date to Students

Tests are graded automatically.


Weighting
20%

Assessment Criteria

Tests are graded automatically, but the test assesses the following skills:

Your ability to locate cases and legislation on legal databases

Your ability to use, and interpret information in, a range of case citators

Your ability to note-up legislation

Your ability to locate information online in Halsbury's and the Laws of Australia 

Your ability to locate journal articles on legal databases


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Locate and evaluate relevant and credible legal and interdisciplinary sources.

3 Portfolio

Assessment Title
Research Portfolio

Task Description

As part of your portfolio, you will be required to undertake research exercises similar to those you might be expected to perform as a newly qualified lawyer working or volunteering in a Community Legal Centre or other not-for-profit organisation. These authentic exercises will require you to use advanced research techniques to locate relevant primary and secondary sources to formulate an oral presentation detailing your position on a particular project. You must compile your weekly workshop tasks from weeks 5 - 11 to form the portfolio.


Assessment Due Date

Week 12 Wednesday (5 Oct 2022) 11:59 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Results may be withheld until the certification of grades.


Weighting
30%

Assessment Criteria

Locate and critically analyse suitable sources

Engage in self-evaluation and critical reflection

Communicate effectively in writing

Present information orally in an effective manner

Critically analyse legal and interdisciplinary sources and adopt an evidence-based approach

Reach logical, informed conclusions grounded in the arguments presented


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Strategise and conduct a client interview to obtain relevant information from a client and provide advice to a client in an effective and professional manner.
  • Locate and evaluate relevant and credible legal and interdisciplinary sources.
  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing in a range of professional and academic contexts.

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?