Course Title: Legal research method
Part B: Course Detail
Teaching Period: Term1 2016
Course Code: LAW5200
Course Title: Legal research method
School: 650T Vocational Business Education
Campus: City Campus
Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice
Course Contact: Doug Gourlay
Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925-5944
Course Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff
Nominal Hours: 51
Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.
Pre-requisites and Co-requisites
Pre-requisites: VU20111 Legal Process
To provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake research as might be required of a person working in a legal office or in associated fields in the public and private sectors.
National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria
National Element Code & Title:
VU20124 Legal research method
Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse a fact situation and identify the research questions raised. Identify and propose legal categories to which those questions relate.
1.1 Analyse a fact situation in relation to case study material and identify and discuss the research questions raised with reference to subject matter and persons involved.
1.2 Apply case study material to examine and evaluate legal categories to which a research question may relate with reference to cause of action (or defence) and remedies sought.
Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse and evaluate sources of legal information.
2.1 Identify sources of legal collections and examine and discuss the legal materials held by those libraries.
2.2 Determine government or community organisations that may be a source of legal information.
2.3 Identify and evaluate sources of legal information on the Internet.
Learning Outcome 3 - Determine the format for the citation of sources of legal information.
3.1 Analyse and detail conventions in legal citation.
3.2 Determine the method of citing cases.
3.3 Assess and specify the methods of citing Acts of Parliament, regulations and other delegated legislation.
3.4 Determine the methods of citing secondary sources of legal information.
Learning Outcome 4 - Determine and evaluate techniques for searching for legal information in computer databases.
4.1 Distinguish between the different ways of searching for computer based information with reference to full text searching and hypertext navigation.
4.2 Determine methods of free text searching for information.
4.3 Evaluate the use of hypertext for text searching and navigation. Include reference to access mechanisms, cross referencing, navigation functions and working with the text.
Learning Outcome 5 - Identify secondary sources of legal information, search secondary sources and locate and analyse legal information relevant to case study material.
5.1 Analyse textbooks and legal encyclopaedias.
5.2 Analyse indexes to legal periodicals.
5.3 Evaluate on-line computer based resources with reference to full-text electronic databases and Internet.
5.4 Search secondary sources and locate and analyse legal information relating to case study material.
Learning Outcome 6 - Determine methods of searching for case law and locate and analyse case law relevant to case study material.
6.1 Determine methods of finding case law on a particular subject.
6.2 Specify methods of finding the subsequent history of a case.
6.3 Determine methods of finding case notes and case citations.
6.4 Search for and analyse case law relating to case study material.
Learning Outcome 7 - Evaluate methods of searching for legislation and locate and analyse legislation relevant to case study material.
7.1 Evaluate methods of finding legislation on a particular subject, and whether or not it has been amended.
7.2 Determine methods of finding whether legislation has been reprinted,
7.3 Assess resources available to establish whether legislation has been judicially in relation to annotation services and full-text electronic databases.
7.4 Search for and analyse legislation relevant to case study material.
Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse and determine methods of finding delegated legislation and locate and analyse delegated legislation relevant to case study material.
8.1 Specify methods of finding delegated legislation on a particular subject and whether it has been amended.
8.2 Determine methods of finding whether delegated legislation has been reprinted.
8.3 State and analyse resources available to determine whether delegated legislation has been judicially with reference to annotations and full-text electronic databases.
8.4 Search for and analyse delegated legislation relevant to case study material.
Details of Learning Activities
Learning activities will be as directed by your class teacher.
Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:
- Program overview and requirements
- Overview of assessment requirements
- Pre-Training Review including: Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers & Assessment of current skills and knowledge
- Competency/Grading Criteria
- Submission requirements
- Resubmission policy
- Where to get support
- Student responsibilities
The nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.
There is no weekly teaching schedule for delivery of course content as the purpose of this offering is to provide you with the necessary support required to assist you to satisfactorily complete the required assessments.
This is a course offering designed for 'repeating students' (i.e. those students who have previously enrolled in this course, but who have not satisfactorily completed all of the assessment requirements for this course). It is not intended that the course content be re-taught (or taught for the first time) and so the course will comprise a series of scheduled, facilitated workshops (if enrolment numbers are sufficient) or, where enrolment numbers don’t warrant the use of workshops, a mentoring system whereby you will engage with your course teacher at a mutually agreed time to receive the same kind of support that might otherwise have been provided in a facilitated workshop.
At any rate, the focus of the workshops or mentoring arrangements is the preparation for, and undertaking of, whatever assessments are need to complete the requirements of this course.
(1) Your class teacher will confirm the schedule of workshops (where applicable).
(2) If you have enrolled in this course with the belief or understanding that you would receive regular, classroom content teaching, then you are advised to withdraw from this course prior to census date, unless you now wish to accept the proposed mode of delivery for repeating classes as described earlier in this section.
Bott B, Cowley J & Falconer L, Nemes & Coss’ Effective Legal Research, 4th edition
Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd edition, (Melbourne University law Review Assoc. Inc 2010)
It is recommended that you have access to a mobile computing device to allow greater flexibility in terms of where you can work on campus outside class times.
Overview of Assessment
Assessment will be by various methods as outlined for each learning outcome and may be assessed separately or together. Assessments may include:
• Class tests
• Written assignments
• Practical exercises
• Class discussion
• Use of electronic databases
Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.
To pass these courses you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. To demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evice is essential:
- Knowledge of legal research methods necessary to undertake research as might be required of a person working in a legal practice industry
You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.
Assessment Task 1 - On-line quizzes
Due Date: To be advised
Submission Procedure: On-line Blackboard (Learning Hub)
The purpose of this assessment is for you to demonstrate your understanding of the various legal research methods to locate primary and secondary sources of legal information.
Assessment Task 2 - Research Essay
Due Date: To be advised
Submission Procedure: Submit via Blackboard (Learning Hub) or as otherwise advised
The purpose of this assessment is to demonstrate your ability to research legal information and then to present your research findings in an essay format.
Assessment Task 3 - Open Book Final Test
Due Date: To be advised
Submission Procedure: In class as per teacher’s instructions
The purpose of this assessment is for you to demonstrate your understanding of all topics covered in the course.
Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed. Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.
You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.
Marking Guide (Grading)
Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or NYC. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.
Final Grades table:
|DNS||Did Not Submit for assessment|
Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.
- Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date
- Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (hard copy and soft copy).
- When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on Blackboard.
- Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment unit code and title and page numbers.
Late Submission Procedures
If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/students/assessment/extension
Form to use: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/seca86tti4g4z.pdf
Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=g43abm17hc9w (unresolved)
Form to use: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/8a5dgcaqvaes1.pdf
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or Not Yet Competent.
Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=kehn9bz22r41 (unresolved)
Course Overview: Access Course Overview