Student appearance rights

Student Appearance Programs Guidelines

Student appearance rights

The proposal is that Law students participating in the clinical legal education program in Monash University’s Faculty of Law be entitled to appear in court on behalf of clients in accordance with the following criteria:

1. Selection of students
To be entitled to appear, a student must be currently enrolled in, have satisfactorily completed the unit Professional Practice in the Faculty of Law at Monash University. There is no expectation that every student enrolled in the subject will be given the opportunity to appear. Students will be selected by the clinical teaching staff in the subject on the grounds of their ability and their understanding of the law and professional responsibility.

2. Supervision
Students will be supervised by a qualified practitioner (either a member of the clinical staff or a private practitioner) who will be present in court throughout the conduct of the case. The role of the supervisor will not be to ‘coach’ the student or in any way disrupt the proceedings. The supervisor’s primary function will be to step in and take over the conduct of the matter if, for some unforeseen reason, it becomes apparent that the student does not have the capacity to conduct the case competently and the client’s interests will be prejudiced thereby.

3. Clients
The only clients who may be represented by a student are those clients who would otherwise be unrepresented in a particular case except that a client who might otherwise have had access to representation by a Duty Lawyer may be represented by a student with the client’s consent. Matters beyond the resources of the service will be referred to local solicitors.

4. Client’s consent
A student may represent a client only after it has been explained to the client that s/he is being offered representation by a student (under supervision) who is not admitted to practice and the client has consented in writing to such representation.

5. Courts and types of matter
It is proposed that the program, while in its pilot stage, operate only at the Dandenong Registry of the Family Court of Australia and in Magistrates’ Courts in the Southern Region. The types of matters in which students may appear are:

Family Court

  • Applications to dispense with service
  • Applications for dissolution of marriage
  • All suitable unopposed applications and applications for order by consent.

Magistrates’ Court

  • Guilty pleas
  • Adjournment applications, opposed or unopposed (if the adjournment is refused, the supervisor will conduct the substantive case)
  • Interlocutory or chamber applications
  • All unopposed applications and applications for orders by consent