Disability Human Rights Clinic

Subject LAWS90004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 30-Sep-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

This subject has a quota of 20 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law JD website for further information about subject quotas

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 12 full days (96 hours) of clinical work plus 18 hours of timetabled classes
Total Time Commitment:

170 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
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students would benefit from having completed the below subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
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.


Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake


Graduate Services Coordinator (Work Integrated Learning)

Email: law-wil@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 8344 4475
Website: www.law.unimelb.edu.au/jd

Subject Overview:

The Disability Human Rights Clinic will analyse and report on rights violations experienced by people with disabilities and will propose solutions. The clinic will have an interdisciplinary focus bringing together the fields of disability studies and international human rights law.

Students will undertake 12 days of clinical work (one day per week during semester) at Melbourne Law School. Students will participate in a range of clinical projects including legislative submissions, amicus briefs, shadow reporting. Students will be taught lawyering skills in persuasive writing, organisational collaboration, and advocacy.

The clinical work will be complemented by 18 hours of seminars (one hour per week during semester). Through lecture and discussion, students will acquire substantive knowledge in international human rights law, disability rights law and disability studies. During the classes, students will also reflect on their ongoing clinical experience.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully completes this subject will be able to analyse and reflect critically and meaningfully on:

  • The practical, interpersonal, technical skills and ethical awareness needed to practise effectively in a team of legal researchers, including in the areas of collaborative work, research, communication, file management and organisation;
  • Their capacity for learning from experience;
  • The sources, breadth and effectiveness of the laws for addressing the challenges faced by individuals with a disability;
  • The parameters of human rights frameworks in the context of the disability movement;
  • The application of disability human rights frameworks to legal regimes;
  • The most effective methods for conducting legal research in international human rights databases and sources;
  • Best practice techniques for the production of policy and legal documents that analyse and apply disability human rights;
  • 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, economic and political change;
  • 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;
  • Effective methods for collaboration with external stakeholders including Disabled People's Organisations, international NGOs, civil society organisations and international human rights bodies (e.g. United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
  • One hour open-book exam (30%);
  • Clinical project. 3,000 words prepared during clinical work (50%);
  • Reflective writing. 1,000 words (20%).

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

Prescribed Texts:
  • Philip Alston and Ryan Goodman, International Human Rights (Oxford University Press 2013).
  • 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 in a way that is useful and effective;
  • Applied research skills, including the ability to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues in the context of a complex and emerging area of law;
  • Legal practice skills, including critical legal analysis, legal writing and drafting of policy documents;
  • 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;
  • Research and reflection skills, the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical reflection, and to develop and articulate legal reform ideas for social change based on theoretical and empirical knowledge of the operation of the law.
Related Course(s): Juris Doctor

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