Legal and Ethical Contexts of Practice

Subject SCWK90055 (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:

August, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Aug-2016 to 28-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 25-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 09-Sep-2016
Census Date 16-Sep-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 28-Oct-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (7 x 1.5 hour lecture, 7 x 1.5 hour seminar and a 3 hour lecture)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours



Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr David Rose


Subject Overview:

This subject provides an overview of social work ethics and the Australian and Victorian legal systems. It explores values and principles upon which human services law and social work ethics are based. The subject examines current legal and practice issues which practitioners can expect to encounter in such practice areas as child protection, family law, domestic violence, mental health, guardianship, and working with refugees.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the subject students should be able to:

  • understand the interconnectedness of social work practice and law
  • understand the nature of the legal and ethical context of practice and the implications for social work practice.
  • understand the notion of rights, their definition and their enforcement
  • articulate the interrelationship between access to justice and socio-economic factors, gender, sexual orientation, Aboriginality and ethnicity
  • articulate and understand the ethical and legal responsibilities of social workers in their practice generally, and in a range of common practice contexts.
  1. A written paper 2,000 words (40%) due mid semester
  2. 2 short tests (15% each) due mid semester
  3. A written paper 1,500 (30%) due end of semester
Prescribed Texts:

Rice, S. + Day, A. (2014) Social Work in the shadow of the law, (4 th Ed). Annandale: The Federation Press.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work

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