Law Apps

Subject LAWS90033 (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 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 18-Oct-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

This subject has a quota of 20 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: 36 hours
Total Time Commitment:

144 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 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
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 Gary Cazalet


Graduate Services Coordinator (Work Integrated Learning)

Phone: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

In Law Apps students will design, build and release a live legal expert system that can provide legal advice to non-lawyers. Legal expert systems (law apps) are applications that replicate the thought processes and actions of a lawyer in connection with a specific legal question. Law apps are a new and growing part of the legal landscape. Lawyers in Australia and overseas are using them to provide fast, accurate and cost effective answers to common legal problems.

The subject involves a series of distinct but related topics and tasks:

  • The current role and future role of law apps;
  • The identification of appropriate legal problems in the not-for-profit sector that can be answered by law apps;
  • The design of sequences of appropriate questions and answers which culminate in the provision of correct legal advice for the problems;
  • The authoring of a law app using the Neota Logic platform;
  • The release of the law app in a live web and or tablet/mobile based environment.

The semester will commence with an introductory survey of the role of legal analysis and advice programs and the use of artificial intelligence in legal advice in Australia and overseas. Students will be required to research, imagine and predict the future use of such technology in and beyond the legal profession. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of law apps design and basic mastery of Neota Logic’s authoring tools. The Neota Logic platform does not require coding knowledge or application. It has been used in Australia and overseas as a platform of choice for lawyers building law apps. Throughout the semester students will have access to advice from law firm Slater & Gordon’s digital department and Neota Logic's experts.

As the semester progresses the subject will explore other ways that technology is being incorporated into legal practice and address some of the professional regulation issues. Guest speakers from the profession and experts in digital technology will present in seminars. There is a light reading load in this subject as students will be required to spend time outside the seminars working in their groups on the design, authoring and release of their live Law App. The semester will culminate with a Law Apps Bake Off - groups will present their Law Apps to an invited panel of experts and the winning Law App group will be receive a prize sponsored by Slater and Gordon.

At the commencement of the semester students will be provided with a choice of pre-identified not-for-profit organisations that are interested in being involved in the Law Apps subject. Students will be required to list which organisation they would like to work with in order of preference.

Students will be placed in a small group of three of four students and will work in that group throughout the semester. In collaboration with the not-for-profit organization, groups will identify suitable common legal problems that can be answered through a series of structured questions. This will involve visiting the organisations and meeting with key staff so that students understand the relevant needs and concerns of clients and the wider non-lawyer public. This group-focused process will enable students to build on and develop their skills in legal analysis, creativity, problem solving and innovation. The teacher will meet regularly with students individually and with groups to check on progress and to work with the group on any issues that may arise within the group. Part of the assessment for the subject is a group mark. This mark will be awarded equally across all students in the group unless an individual’s contribution falls substantially below the contribution of other students in the group, in which case that individual's mark will be reduced.

Learning Outcomes:

This subject will build on the research and analysis skills developed within the JD program. A student who has successfully completed the subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role of automated legal analysis system design;
  • Have expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills to:

    - Analyse critically, reflect on and synthesise complex information, legal problems and concepts;
    - Design and construct a Law App which can be used by a non-specialist audience.

  • Be able to work effectively with external organisations to identify and articulate specific legal questions that can be appropriately answered by a Law App;
  • Develop and enhance their collaborative and teamwork skills;
  • Analyse, critically reflect on and communicate their personal perspectives on their learning in the subject.
  • Individual research paper, a maximum 1,000 words, on current law or similar apps and possible future law apps - the paper may include visual and video components (15%);
  • Self-reflection journal, to be submitted online, a maximum of 350 words every two weeks (15%);
  • Seminar assignments, seminars 2-7 inclusive (30%);
  • Group mark for Law App, design brief (20%);
  • Group mark for Law App, working Law App, as delivered (20%).

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

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials (and software) 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
Related Course(s): Juris Doctor

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