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Law5pmi - Legal Process, Methods And Institutions

Research Essay Instructions

  1. Submission deadline and process

The Research Essay must be submitted by 11.59pm Tuesday 31 May 2022 via Turnitin on

LMS. Submit your essay to the submission link that corresponds with your chosen topic (a, b

or c).

  1. Late Submission Policy

For information about the late submission policy, applications for extensions and

procedures for special consideration, please read pages 5-6 of the Subject Learning Guide.

  1. Word Limit

The word limit for this assessment is 3,500 words. You must include a word count at the

end of your assignment. The word limit includes headings and subheadings. Provided that

no substantive text appears in the footnotes these do not count in the word limit. All

substantial text should be incorporated into the body of your assignment, not in the footnotes.

If substantial text is incorporated in your footnotes it must be included in your word count.

The word limit does not include the reference list.

If your assignment is over the word limit, only the first 3,500 words will be read, the remainder

of your answer will be disregarded. Please take note that the word limits will be strictly

applied. The so-called ‘10% leeway rule’ (allowing the word limit to be exceeded by 10%)

does not apply.

  1. Presentation

Your assignment must be typed in 12 point font and be 1.5 spaced and include footnotes

referenced in accordance with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th ed, 2018). You should

include a reference list set out in AGLC format.

It is necessary to use quotation marks (‘x’) when quoting an author’s words and cite

the source in a footnote. It is also important to include that source in your reference list.

When referring to an author’s ideas and/or paraphrasing their words, it is necessary to

footnote the source.


When writing your essay you may wish to refer to Paula Baron and Lillian Corbin, Chapter

6 ‘Research Essays, Theses and Dissertations’ in Legal Writing: Academic and Professional

Communication (Oxford University Press, 2016).

  1. Assessment Criteria

The following information is included to help student’s understanding of what

examiners look for when assessing written work. It suggests factors or qualities they

look for to determine the levels of understanding and performance being demonstrated, and

to differentiate between the various grades. It is important to understand that not every

criterion noted below requires equal attention or is intended to be of equal weighting.

ADDRESSING THE QUESTION (How well does the essay respond to the question?)

ARGUMENT (Does the essay have a clear and coherent argument?)

STRUCTURE (Does the essay have an evident and logical structure?)

DEPTH OF RESEARCH (Does the essay locate and use an appropriate amount and variety of

relevant research materials? Note that to satisfy this criterion students are required to conduct legal

research outside of the LAW5PMI materials, while also referencing relevant essential readings

prescribed throughout the semester).

CRITICAL ENGAGEMENT (Does the essay demonstrate critical analysis of relevant research


ORIGINALITY (Does the essay demonstrate originality of thought?)

STYLE (Is the writing style and expression, including grammar, spelling and punctuation,


CITATION (Are research materials accurately and adequately cited?)

REFERENCE LIST (How comprehensive and appropriate is the reference list?)

  1. Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means being honest in academic work and taking responsibility for

learning the conventions of scholarship. La Trobe University views this seriously as evidenced

by the following extract from page 6 of the Subject Learning Guide:

Academic integrity means being honest in academic work and taking

responsibility for learning the conventions of scholarship. Academic integrity

education is integral to the learning experience at La Trobe University. The

University requires its academic staff and students to observe the highest ethical

standards in all aspects of academic work, and it demonstrates its commitment to

these values by awarding due credit for honestly conducted scholarly work, and

by penalising academic misconduct and all forms of cheating.


Academic misconduct includes improper referencing, plagiarism, copying and cheating. You

should familiarise yourself with your responsibilities in relation to Academic Integrity.

Information can be found on this website:

Students are not permitted to work in groups or collaborate in answering the Research Essay

or discuss their answers with other students. Students must certify that the work submitted

is their own individual work.


Write a 3,500 word research essay answering ONE of the following topics (50 marks).

(a) A fundamental tenet of the rule of law is ‘equality before the law’. Critically evaluate

two features of the Australian legal system that promote ‘equality before the law’ by

reference to one disadvantaged group in the Australian community.


(b) Anna Coote has posed the question whether the admission to practice requirements are

‘productive or persecutive’: ‘“Fame and Character” Requirements: Productive or

Persecutive?’ (2020) Burgmann Journal

Discuss this proposition with a focus on the requirement for law students to declare

allegations/findings of academic misconduct from during their law degree when seeking

admission to legal practice in Victoria.


(c) ‘It was the French author Anatole France who captured the essential injustice of treating

unequal people equally. He wrote that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor

alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” […] Take Mr Tomasevic,

for example. When he stood before the judge in the present case, he was not poor, had not

slept under a bridge and had not stolen bread. He was a trained teacher with a confident

manner, a strong voice and a large grievance, and so was one kind of person among the great

diversity of people who appear in the courts self-represented. But, to use the words of the

Smith J in R v Nilson, he was still in a position of “grave disadvantage.” That was because he

lacked two critical qualities possessed by competent lawyers: professional skill and ability,

and objectivity’: Tomasevic v Travaglini [2007] VSC 337 [78] – [79] per Bell J.

Critically evaluate Justice Bell’s comments about self-representation versus the qualities that

competent lawyers bring to the representation of their clients. In addition to the qualities of

‘competent lawyers’ referred to by Bell J (‘professional skill and ability, and objectivity’) you

should also consider the role of legal ethics and professional responsibility. Your response

should examine how self-representation and competent legal representation impact on access

to justice.

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