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Unit information: Clinical Legal Studies in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Clinical Legal Studies
Unit code LAWD30005
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. John Peake
Open unit status Not open



Membership of the Law Clinic or Human Rights Clinic; membership of the Law Clinic is guaranteed for those students taking this Unit

School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This Unit will have the following aims: - To provide students with practical legal skills applicable to practising law in the relevant thematic fields, to include: ethics, ADR, court structure and lawyering, legal aid, access, submission of pleadings, costs, enforcement and conducting interviews. - To provide students with real-life experience of drafting legal briefs, commenting on draft or existing legislation or legal documents at the national and international levels, as appropriate. - To enable students to select a particular thematic area on which they will critically reflect. The objectives of the unit will be to provide students with an understanding of the application of law in practice; an appreciation of the concept of professionalism and ethics necessary for a legal career; an ability to bridge the gap between the academic study of law and the practical application of law.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Appreciate and apply alternative methods of dispute resolution
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the advocacy techniques which are appropriate for national tribunals and courts and some international tribunals and courts
  • Apply a range of practical skills and knowledge base necessary to provide advice and advocacy in the chosen field
  • Understand the application of law in practice
  • Appreciate the concept of professionalism and ethics in line with appropriate standards
  • Demonstrate an ability to bridge the gap between the academic study of law and the practical application of law
  • Demonstrate an ability effectively to communicate with clients, lawyers and non- lawyers

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught by a combination of 9 lectures, 6 case related two-hour workshops, four case supervision sessions (30 minutes each) and eight one-hour seminars to consider legal and ethical issues raised in the cases being conducted by those students in Clinic.

Assessment Information

In order to achieve the learning outcomes, the assessment is made up of two 2000 word essays (50% each). The subject-matter of the first assessment will concern an investigation of a legal issue that has arisen within the Clinic. The students will be maintaining a reflective log on the practical work in which they will be engaged during the second teaching block. The second assessment will enable the students to draw on that material to reflect on their experiences in light of the material in the first teaching block.

There will be no formal formative assessment. However, there will be ongoing peer and tutor review of the mandatory reflective log, as well as advice on how it should be maintained (especially as regards ethical issues).

The summative assessments will test the learning outcomes by requiring the students to understand the terrain of clinical legality, that it does not always require “going to law” and that there are alternative forms of dispute resolution; an appreciation of the theoretical approaches and practical issues in legal practice and professional ethics; a reflection on the gap between academic study and legal practice, as well as the skillset required to practise law.

Reading and References

  • A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure – Stuart Sime 13th edition (OUP)
  • A Student Guide to Clinical Legal Education and Pro Bono – Kerrigan/Murray (Palgrave Macmilllan)
  • A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution – Blake Browne & Sime (OUP)