LAWS12063 - Legal Drafting

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Lawyers engage in legal drafting on a daily basis and effective written communication skills are essential for legal practice. The unit focuses on the foundational principles for drafting legal documents to prepare you for the significant and diverse range of tasks you may face as a legal practitioner. 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.

Details

Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Pre-requisite: 36 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).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 3 - 2022

Term 2 - 2023 Profile
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).

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.

Assessment Tasks

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

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

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 3.9 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 45.95% response rate.

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.

Source: 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.
Action Taken
Sample pleadings were provided - a contractual claim and personal injury claim. Students were also asked to critique and provide feedback on some drafts.
Source: 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.
Action Taken
The drafting portfolio was maintained but its submission was split into two to ensure that students received feedback midway through the unit. This also prevented students from attempting to compile their portfolio within 1-2 weeks at the end of term and ensured that they were regularly drafting and reflecting on their work.
Source: 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.
Action Taken
Formative feedback was provided on some of students' draft documents in the module channels in MS Teams, which then provided a discussion point and further guidance for all students. Feedback was provided on all written assessments.
Source: 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.
Action Taken
It was not possible to increase the workshop length due to scheduling clashes with other level 2 units. However, workshops were permitted to 'run over' for those students who did not have another workshop to attend and the recording of the full workshop was made available within 24 hours.
Source: Student evaluations and emails
Feedback
Some students have noted that there is more than one place (MS Teams and Moodle forums) to post draft documents and provide feedback to peers.
Recommendation
Utilise the benefits of the MS Teams platform and remove the option of posting in Moodle forums as an alternative place to load and discuss draft documents. This ensures that there is one place students must go to obtain feedback on their draft documents.
Action Taken
Nil.
Source: Student evaluations
Feedback
The drafting tasks, which must be completed on a weekly basis, had to be finalised before the workshop on a Tuesday - Legal Drafting workshops should be on later in the week to allow for more time to work on the draft document and obtain feedback from peers on the draft.
Recommendation
If possible, and subject to avoiding clashes across all level 2 units, Legal Drafting workshops should be moved to a Thursday to allow longer for students to work on their draft documents and receive feedback from their peers on their drafts (as required in the portfolio assessment task).
Action Taken
Nil.
Source: Student evaluations, emails, reflection assessment
Feedback
Many students indicated that their drafting skills improved significantly through the weekly portfolio tasks and as a result of posting their drafts on MS Teams/ Moodle forum to receive feedback from their peers
Recommendation
Maintain the weekly drafting tasks as part of the drafting portfolio and continue to encourage students to post their drafts on MS Teams for formative feedback from their tutor and peers.
Action Taken
Nil.
Source: Student evaluations
Feedback
Some students indicated that further guidance on how to provide feedback to peers on draft documents would be beneficial
Recommendation
Although there is guidance on providing peer feedback in the peer review exercises drafting contracts workshops, a discussion of how to provide feedback to, and receive feedback from, peers should be incorporated into the week 1 materials and week 1 workshop.
Action Taken
Nil.
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. Apply principles of plain English drafting, principles of interpretation, and drafting conventions to create legal documents that comply with the client’s instructions and the objectives of the document.
  3. Reflect critically on your written work and provide comprehensive feedback to others through a peer review process.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Reflective Practice Assignment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
6 - Information Technology Competence
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10