Sustainability Business Clinic

Subject LAWS50126 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 04-Jul-2016 to 19-Aug-2016
Assessment Period End 30-Sep-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 30-Sep-2015
Census Date 21-Jul-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 02-Sep-2016

This subject has a quota of 15 students. Applicants are selected through a competitive application process. Please refer to the Melbourne Law JD website for further information.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours of timetabled classes plus 12 full days of clinical work
Total Time Commitment:

172 hours


Only approved applicants can enrol into this subject. Please see above for information on how to apply for this subject, application due dates, etc.

Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
November, Semester 2
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 2
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 1
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students would benefit from having studied the below subject prior to taking this subject. Preference for enrolment will be given to students who have completed (or are enrolled concurrently in) the below subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law School welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Law School policy to take all reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the School's programs.

The inherent academic requirements for the study in the Melbourne Law School are:

  • The ability to attend classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Mr Brad Jessup


Graduate Services Coordinator (Work Integrated Learning)

Phone: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

Sustainability Business Clinic provides a practical, clinical experience in which students are supervised in the provision of advice to new and innovating community and environmentally-minded enterprises. Clients will be identified as warranting assistance because they will contribute to community or environmental wellbeing but do not have the current capacity to pay for specialised legal assistance.

Students will undertake 12 days of clinical work based at Melbourne Law School under the supervision of practising lawyers from the firm Ashurst with expertise in the relevant law (including climate and energy law, local government, environment and planning law, tort law, property law, and general corporate and business law). Students will utilise and refine the legal knowledge and skills acquired during their degree to undertake work on real legal issues and with real clients, and in doing so, will be exposed to the realities of legal practice.

Students will participate in timetabled classes, in which areas of potential reform of the law to improve the prospect of emerging sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems will be discussed. Students will also take part in debrief sessions with a Melbourne Law School academic, where students will evaluate their progress, discuss their perceptions of the law in practice, and reflect on the role of the law and their place in it. Students will be required to maintain a reflective journal during semester to facilitate these discussions.

During timetabled classes time will be allocated to discuss and analyse the law relevant to clients’ problems, with some direction on skills and legal practice as appropriate. Skills and doctrinal learning will also be undertaken during clinical work time.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully completes this subject will have a sophisticated insight into, and be able to analyse and reflect critically and meaningfully on:

  • The practical, interpersonal and technical skills and ethical awareness needed to practise effectively in legal practice, including in the areas of collaborative work, research, advice, advocacy, communication, file management and organisation;
  • Their capacity for learning from experience, their resilience and their growth in self-confidence and good judgment;
  • The effectiveness of the laws in Australia for achieving environmental and social change, and for confronting environmental and social problems;
  • The breadth of laws that affect new and innovating community and environmentally-minded enterprises;
  • The availability and appropriate use of legal processes and different areas of law to a variety of client problems;
  • The capacity and role of law and lawyers to create social, environmental and political change, and
  • The multi-disciplinary approaches to clients’ dilemmas - including recognition of the non-legal aspects of clients’ problems and the ethical responsibilities of legal practitioners in advising across these non-legal aspects.
  • Satisfactory clinical performance and attendance throughout semester, with feedback provided throughout the semester (hurdle requirement);
  • Participation and critical and personal reflections assessed in debriefs with the subject coordinator. Students will be assessed throughout semester during debrief meetings with the subject coordinator (20%);
  • Work portfolio (of total maximum 3,000 words, prepared during clinical work. Must contain at least one reflection (minimum 500 words), one research note (minimum 1,000 words) and one client advice (minimum 1,000 words)), assessed throughout the semester and due before the end of the semester (40%);
  • Law reform submission (of maximum 3,000 words, prepared outside of clinical work time), due at the end of semester (40%).

The due date of the above assessment will be available to students via the LMS.

Prescribed Texts:
  • Kate Williams et al, Reflective Writing (Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2012);
  • Specialist printed materials will also be made available from the Melbourne Law School.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon successful completion of the subject, students will have developed and demonstrated the following skills:

  • Thinking skills, including the ability to gather information, understand interests and context, apply knowledge and convey complex legal concepts to a non-legal audience (including clients) in a way that is useful and effective;
  • Applied research skills, including the ability to identify, research, evaluate and synthesis relevant factual, legal and policy issues in the context of a complex and emerging area of law;
  • Legal practice skills, including an understanding and experience in ethical decision making and the role and capacity of lawyers to serve the community, and cognitive and technical skills relating to the generation and provision of legal advice and information attuned to clients' needs;
  • Personal and professional skills, including learning autonomously, being accountable for one's work, self-reflection on performance and ethical professional conduct and development;
  • Skills required for effective workplace performance, such as communication, time management, co-worker collaboration and office organisation; and
  • Research and reflection skills, including the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical reflection, and to develop and articulate legal reform ideas for social and environmental change based on theoretical and empirical knowledge of the operation of the law.
Related Course(s): Juris Doctor

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