LAWS12072 - Legal Research

General Information

Unit Synopsis

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.


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: 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).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2023

Term 2 - 2023 Profile
Term 2 - 2024 Profile

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

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 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 82.35% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 38.64% 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: Student evaluations
Some students indicated that the portfolio, when combined with the research project, was too much work.
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.
Action Taken
The unit content and assessment in this unit were completely rewritten to provide a contemporary and authentic learning experience for students.
Source: Student evaluations
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.
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.
Action Taken
The unit was reviewed as part of the Law Curriculum Mapping project. The unit was identified as a flagship for students' skill development and the unit now focuses on legal research skills, client interviewing, letters of advice, and oral communication skills.
Source: Student evaluations, emails
Students appreciated the videos on advanced legal research techniques for the legal databases
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.
Action Taken
The advanced legal research videos were retained and further videos were added to the weekly resources. The unit coordinator also organised for Holding Redlich to deliver an online presentation on advanced legal research techniques at the start of term.
Source: SUTE, student feedback to the tutor
Students enjoyed exposure to realistic scenarios and practical legal skills in the client interviewing and letter of advice tasks.
Retain the client interviewing exercise and letter of advice to a client as this provides students with an authentic representation of the type of work they will be expected to complete as a trainee or newly qualified lawyer. Continue to work with local lawyers to help design the scenarios that feature in the client files.
Action Taken
Source: Email, SUTE, student feedback to the tutor
The timing of the client interview and letter writing task (submitted in week 5) meant that some students had to be re-partnered as their partner withdrew at census date.
In future, the client interviewing and letter writing exercise should be submitted in week 5 or later in the term so that client interviewing partners are confirmed after census date.
Action Taken
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 Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Practical Assessment
2 - Online Quiz(zes)
3 - Portfolio
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
8 - Ethical practice
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