Course Title: Law for Social Work Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Law for Social Work Practice

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2022

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Robyn Martin

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1397

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 8, Floor 10, Room 40

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to the legal system and to the statutory requirements that frame and inform professional social work practice. The course is not designed to equip you for legal practice, but rather will alert you to the implications of the law for you and the people you work with. Specifically, the course will introduce you to the: 

  • Australia’s legal system, particularly Commonwealth and Victorian Courts and Tribunals and the Koorie Courts
  • Specific areas of law (for example child protection, family violence, refugees, mental health)
  • Legal requirements influencing practice (for example, ‘duty of care’ and ‘natural justice’).
  • Systems for supporting people with legal problems (for example, legal aid, welfare rights centres, community legal centres, the Ombudsperson)
  • The relationship between your legal obligations and the AASW Code of Ethics and Practice Standards 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

In course you will develop the following program learning outcomes:

  • apply a body of interdisciplinary knowledge, values and skills in working with and for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised individuals, families, groups and communities  

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  1. Identify the relevant court or tribunal and its jurisdiction in the court hierarchy for specific social work scenarios
  2. Find legislation and sections relevant to specific social work scenarios on government websites
  3. Reflect on the legal, ethical and practical considerations and dilemmas social workers might face when trying to comply with their obligations specified in the law, in the AASW Codes of Ethics (2010) and Practice Standards (2013), and in human rights declarations and charters.
  4. Analyse social justice issues in relation to the specific social work scenario, the law and professional obligations.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities comprise lectures and tutorial activities. You will participate in discussions and activities in lecturers and tutorials. Learning activities may also include a court or tribunal visit.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment 1 – Online quizzes - 20%, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3 and CLO4

Assessment 2 – Letters 30% 1500 words, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3 and CLO4

Assessment 3 – Final exam 50%, CLO1, CLO2 and CLO4

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions