Law, Justice and Social Change

Subject 191-211 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: *
Prerequisites: Usually 25 points of first-year arts including 191-110 or permission of the subject coordinator.
Corequisites: *
Recommended Background Knowledge: *
Non Allowed Subjects: *
Core Participation Requirements: *


to be advised
Subject Overview:

Law, Justice and Social Change examines the ways in which law can be seen as both an instrument of positive social change and yet also as a means of confirming existing social arrangements and resisting social change. It considers what access to justice entails, investigating a series of case studies and theoretical perspectives concerning the struggles for access to justice and involvement in legal processes and institutions by particular groups and individuals. It looks at a selection of issues such as gender politics, ethnicity, race, disability, indigenous politics, non-English speaking background, class and economic struggles, sexual orientation and social dissent. Students choose a current law reform issue to consider in light of the issues discussed in the course, and visit a community legal centre or government body to interview a staff member involved in writing a report or submission that advocates for legal change. These issues and organisations have in the past included the Disability Discrimination Act (The Office of the Public Advocate), Racial and Religious Vilification (Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs), the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement (Department of Justice Victoria), Same Sex Relationships and the Law and Reproductive Technology and Adoption (Equal Opportunity Commission Victoria), Homelessness and Poverty (Public Interest Law Clearing House), Electro Convulsive Therapy (Mental Health Legal Centre), Unfair Dismissal Protection for Casual Workers (JobWatch), Refugee Rights (Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre), Child Custody Arrangements (Women's Legal Service Victoria), a Children and Young People's Commission (Youth Affairs Council of Victoria), Right to Silence (Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service).

Assessment: A 1500-word report and an informal class presentation on report 35% (due mid-semester) and a 2500-word research essay 65% (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available from the University Bookshop
Breadth Options: This subject is a level 2 or level 3 subject and is not available to new generation degree students as a breadth option in 2008.
This subject or an equivalent will be available as breadth in the future.
Breadth subjects are currently being developed and these existing subject details can be used as guide to the type of options that might be available.
2009 subjects to be offered as breadth will be finalised before re-enrolment for 2009 starts in early October.
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have considerable capacity for independent critical thought and self-directed learning;

  • have significant cognitive, analytical and problem-solving skills;

  • understand complex concepts and express them lucidly in writing and orally;

  • have advanced awareness of cultural, ethnic and gender diversities and their implications;

  • have an ability to plan work and to use time effectively.


Formerly available as 191-310. Students who have completed 191-310 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (Criminology)
Graduate Certificate in Criminology
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Criminology)

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