Course Outline

LAW402 Professional Conduct

Course Coordinator:Simone Pearce ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 2

UniSC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


In this course you will study ethical decision-making and rules of professional conduct regulating the way legal practitioners deal with the courts, their clients and other lawyers. You will examine critically the way in which entry to and membership of the legal profession is regulated by the Legal Profession Act 2007 (Qld), including the concepts of ‘unsatisfactory professional conduct’ and ‘professional misconduct’. You will study and apply the rules dealing with receipt of trust monies, administration of trust accounts and the consequences of a breach of trust.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online Learning Materials 1.5hrs Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus 2 hours in weeks 2-13 2hrs Week 1 12 times
Seminar – 1 hour seminar in weeks 1 and 5. 1hr Week 1 2 times

Course Topics

  • The concept of professional responsibility;
  • An overview of the regulatory regime for lawyers;
  • Admission to practice;
  • The lawyer/client relationship;
  • The business of conducting a legal practice;
  • Costs/ Billing; Client Agreements and disclosure;
  • Trust Accounting, the Duty to Account; the set up (and conduct) of a Trust Account
  • Duties to the Client: Identifying and responding to conflicts of interest
  • Duties to the client: Confidentiality
  • Ethics;
  • Dealing with Difficult Clients;
  • Disciplinary proceedings—what, how and why?
  • Legal Professional Privilege
  • Duties to the administration of justice; Fidelity to the Law
  • Access to Justice;
  • The moulding of a Professional Identity

What level is this course?

400 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Synthesise, interpret and apply relevant legal, ethical and factual matters. Knowledgeable
2 Apply critical analysis to generate appropriate and practical responses to complex problems with accountability and professionalism. Creative and critical thinker
3 Communicate persuasively and effectively. Empowered

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


LAW202 and LAW204 and enrolled in any Law Program.


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

In the first 4 weeks of the semester, students prepare policies and practice guides for the conduct of a Law firm, which are to inform the assessment. Those policies and practice guides will be peer reviewed and formative feedback provided by the tutor, as to their adequacy and the progress of your understanding and learning.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Oral Individual 20%
15 minutes
Week 5 To be Negotiated
All 2 Oral and Written Piece Individual 30%
10 minutes for the oral submission, with 1500 words of accompanying written submissions
Week 9 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check and in class
All 3 Written Piece Individual 50%
3000 words
Week 13 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Oral Advice to a Fictitious Client
The goal of this task is for you to: 

Demonstrate your understanding of complex ethical issues and rules of professional conduct;  

Apply legal reasoning and research skills to resolve ethical dilemmas and duty-based issues in relation to a client; 

Exercise professional judgement to generate a response to a problem scenario; 

Communicate effectively, appropriately and persuasively.
Product: Oral
This is an individual task of up to 15 minutes
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Knowledge and understanding of the topic
Analysis and argument
1 2
Oral presentation
All - Assessment Task 2:Submission to a Mock Tribunal / Court
The goal of this task is for you to use the workshop tasks and experience from week 2 onwards to make an oral submission to a mock tribunal/court with accompanying written submissions.
Product: Oral and Written Piece
The written outline of argument simulates court room practice. The outline will be, 1500 words, completed individually, with references to legal authorities in AGLC 4 format.

The oral simulates court room practice. The oral will consist of answers to oral questions without notice over a total period of 10 minutes, provided by the examiner, who will simulate the role of a judicial officer. The questions will be formulated with reference to the problem posed, and the written submission.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Critically analyse contemporary legal developments with reference to broader contexts
Identify and articulate relevant legal and ethical issues
Research, interpret and synthesise relevant legal principles
1 2
Analyse legal and factual matters to reach a conclusion
Communicate effectively in an oral and written format
All - Assessment Task 3:Business Plan and Policies
The task will enable you to: 

demonstrate knowledge of the rules and practices related to the professional obligations of legal practitioners; 

demonstrate analytic reasoning to interpret statutes and evaluate judicial conclusions 

communicate effectively, appropriately and persuasively.
Product: Written Piece
Business Plan and Policies;
You will draw upon your knowledge from all topics to generate a response to legal issues arising from the application of the rules and practices concerning the manner in which legal practitioners are required to deal with the law, the courts, their clients and other lawyers.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
​​​​​Knowledge and understanding of the topic
Analysis and argument
Structure and writing​​​​​

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Paula Baron,Lillian Corbin 0 Ethics and Legal Professionalism in Australia Third Edition Oxford

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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General Enquiries

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