International Criminal Justice Clinic

Subject LAWS90060 (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 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: 105 hours (12 full days of clinical work (approximately 96 hours) plus 9 hours of timetabled classes)
Total Time Commitment:

160 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:
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Familiarity with principals of international law would be helpful but is not essential.

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.


Ms Kate Fischer-Doherty


Graduate Services Coordinator (Work Integrated Learning)

Phone: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

Organized in partnership with Amnesty International, the International Criminal Justice Clinic will study efforts to investigate and prosecute those suspected of committing crimes under international law (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance) and conduct timely research and advocacy on topical human rights questions.

Students will undertake 12 days of clinical work (one day per week during semester) at Melbourne Law School. At the beginning of the semester, each student will be assigned a legal research project on a topical issue of international justice and human rights that they will work on during and outside clinic time and submit in week 12. Throughout the semester students will also monitor on-going international criminal proceedings (for example at the International Criminal Court) as well as other developments in international criminal justice practice in order to identify emerging human rights issues, in particular relating to fair trial, the rights of victims and witnesses and gender justice. They will prepare rapid response legal analysis briefs on selected emerging issues and draft posts for a new Human Rights in International Justice blog commenting and reflecting on topical and emerging issues in the field.

Nine hours of seminars (three hours per week for the first three weeks) will provide an in depth introduction to international criminal justice practice and related human rights issues. Additional guest lectures, including by practitioners in the field, will be organized throughout the semester during clinic days. Skill trainings will also be provided during clinic days on trial monitoring, legal research and analysis of international criminal law and international human rights law, and writing for advocacy. During weekly clinic meetings, students will reflect on developments in the field and their on-going clinical experience.

The work conducted by students will inform Amnesty International’s on-going advocacy, including litigation, to promote human rights compliance in all aspects of international criminal justice practice, including for the rights of all of those involved in proceedings – such as the accused, victims and witnesses – to be fully respected.

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 practice effectively in a team of legal researchers, including in the areas of collaborative work, research, communication and organisation;
  • The sources, breadth and effectiveness of the laws for prosecuting those suspected of crimes under international law whilst respecting their rights and the rights of other persons involved in the process.
  • The application of human rights in international criminal justice proceedings;
  • The role of different actors and parties in ensuring that international criminal justice proceedings are human rights compliant, including the judiciary, the prosecution, the defence, victims’ counsel, states and trial observers (such as NGOs and the media);
  • The monitoring of complex criminal proceedings;
  • Techniques for the production of high quality legal briefs and advocacy blogs that analyse and apply international human rights law, international criminal law and other relevant national or international laws.
  • Satisfactory clinical performance and attendance - Throughout semester with feedback provided at the end of semester (hurdle requirement);
  • Legal Research brief (2500 words) - End of semester (40%);
  • A rapid response legal analysis brief on emerging issues (1000-1500 words) - Weeks 3-12 (30%);
  • Two blogs commenting and reflecting on topical and emerging issues (750 words each) - Weeks 3-12 (30%).

The exact due dates of the above assessments will be available to students via the LMS.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available from the Melbourne Law School and/or Amnesty.

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:

  • Applied research skills, including the ability to identify (including through trial monitoring), research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual and legal issues in the context of a complex and emerging area of law;
  • Legal practice skills, including critical legal analysis and writing legal briefs.
  • Personal and professional skills, including learning autonomously, being accountable for one’s work, time management and self-reflection on performance;
  • Team work skills, including working in small groups to achieve assigned group tasks, communication, office organisation and co-worker collaboration;
  • Research and reflection skills, including the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical reflection, and to develop and articulate clear and credible legal analysis;
  • Advocacy skills, including the ability to develop credible and convincing advocacy for a public audience on complex and often controversial legal issues.
Related Course(s): Juris Doctor

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