Monash University Clinical Legal Education

Clinical Legal Education

Monash University law students have a unique opportunity to develop practical legal experience that is credited towards their degree through the Clinical Legal Education (‘CLE’) program. The CLE program enables students to work in community law clinics that are operated by Monash Law or in law firms, courts, or other agencies in partnership with Monash University. Students will work with real clients on real cases, and be able to make a valuable contribution to their community.

Professional Practice:

Students enrolled in the JD or LLB programs at Monash law can undertake a practical placement in a community legal centre. Students will work under the supervision of qualified solicitors and provide legal advice to clients, undertake casework, brief Counsel, and may even represent clients in Court.

Family Law Assistance Program (FLAP):

Monash Law also offers a specialist family law program based in a community legal centre. Students will work alongside qualified lawyers to undertake legal research and casework in the area of family law. Students also participate in the duty lawyer service at the Dandenong Family Court weekly to assist underrepresented litigants. In appropriate cases, students may represent clients in Court or attend Court to instruct Counsel.

Clinical Placement/In House Placement:

Monash Law offers a variety of external placements where students will perform practical legal work in host organisations, as well as a range of in-house opportunities hosted at the Monash Law Clinics in the CBD. These placements can be undertaken in a range of human rights law fields, the judiciary, community legal centres, government and more. Students also have the option to self-source placements.

Examples of host organisations include:

  • Victoria legal Aid
  • AED Legal
  • JobWatch
  • Australian Law Reform Commission
  • Supreme Court of Victoria
  • County Court of Victoria
  • Coroners Court of Victoria

Examples of in-house opportunities include:

  • Climate Justice Clinic
  • Anti-Death Penalty Clinic
  • Modern Slavery Clinic
  • Castan Centre Human Rights Clinic
  • National Justice Project

Clinical Placement / Professional Practice List

Note 1: Pre-requisites exist for Clinical Placement eligibility 

Ø  For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW1111 (FOL); LAW1114 (Crim 1); LAW1112 (Public Law); LAW1113 (Torts); LAW2101 (Contracts A); LAW2102 (Contracts B); LAW2112; LAW2111 (Property A) + LAW3112 (Corporations Law).

Note 2: The available placements differ between semesters.

Holding Redlich (Human Rights)

Holding Redlich is a commercial law firm, offering this placement in conjunction with the Castan Centre for Human Rights. This placement is focused on litigation involving a broad range of human rights, including compensation for workplace injuries and discrimination to assisting asylum seekers and elderly victims of fraud and predatory lending.

Immediate casework supervision is provided by the law firm, with academic coordination by a member of staff, and tasks undertaken may include attendance at client interviews, meetings with clients and barristers, mediations and at Court, as well as undertaking of detailed legal research in support of legal practitioners preparing cases;

Stary, Norton, Halphen (Criminal Law)

Stary Norton Halphen is the largest specialist criminal law practice in Victoria, and focuses on social justice without discrimination as to clients: “Some of our clients are homeless, others are high profile, all are important”. Students will work with experienced criminal defence lawyers, who routinely appear in and prepare for matters in Court.

Anti-Death Penalty Clinic (Run out of Monash Law Clinics – CBD) 

Participating students are linked with legal and NGO partner bodies across Asia. Students will undertake research and analysis of casework and advocacy briefs, drafting submissions, assisting legal teams and human rights advocates in numerous jurisdictions. Students will work on legal teams with lawyers and anti-death penalty advocates from across Asia.

Students will work in small groups under the close supervision of a Clinical Supervisor to undertake research and analysis of current death penalty cases, strategic litigation and advocacy campaigns, assisting with legal teams in Asia.  Students will also have the opportunity to engage with local anti-death penalty practitioners, the Capital Punishment Justice Project and other key actors, who will provide students with a substantive background in the current state of anti-death penalty advocacy and the relationships between NGOS, governments and the United Nations.

Modern Slavery Law Clinic (Run out of Monash Law Clinics – CBD)

Students work on advocacy and policy projects addressing various forms of modern slavery. The focus of the clinic is in the main on Asian States and ASEAN in particular. Students will work in small groups under the close supervision of Dr Gina Bekker (the Clinical Supervisor), as they provide legal support to key partner organisations such as the Global Pro Bono Bar Association, Liberty Shared and the International Justice Mission. Weekly meetings and seminars, covering topics including the importance of self-care for social justice lawyers, advocating for change and public interest litigation will run alongside client projects, so as to equip students with key skills relevant for law-related work in the social justice field.

Note: students are strongly encouraged to enrol in LAW4687 – Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery and the Law, for foundational expertise.

Castan Centre Human Rights Clinic (Run out of Monash Law Clinics – CBD)

The Castan Centre Human Rights Clinic engages students in practical human rights work with direct collaboration and engagement with external human rights organisations with support from the Castan Centre and a representative of the external organisation. Students will work with domestic or international human rights organisations on one or more policy or advocacy projects that have real-life impact. Work may also involve drafting submissions to parliamentary inquiries or preparing reports to UN expert bodies.

Students will work on projects in small groups with close supervision of a Clinical Supervisor. Weekly meetings and guest seminars will run alongside project work to equip students with key skills relevant for law-related work in the human rights field. Meetings and seminars are designed to expose students to the knowledge and expertise of human rights professionals from a diverse set of career backgrounds and thematic areas of expertise.

Note: participating students should ideally have completed at least one human rights-related module in the Law Faculty.

National Justice Project (Run out of Monash Law Clinics – CBD)

The National Justice Project is a civil rights organisation dedicated to tackling systemic injustice and racism within government institutions. With community legal centres losing funding and the prohibitive cost and difficulty of seeking social justice the NJP enables the most vulnerable to have their voices heard and to ensure that social justice principles apply to all. It does this through the provision of legal services and the running of public interest cases.

Students will work under the close supervision of a lawyer-teacher on real world active social justice cases and complaints in small groups.

Students will have the opportunity to work on projects from active cases and complaints that the National Justice Project team are working on, including:

Ø  Offshore Detention Cases

Ø  Death in Custody Coronial Inquests

Ø  Aboriginal Health Justice Project

Ø  Police, Prisons & Youth Services Project

Ø  Papua New Guinea Social Justice Project

Castan Centre Internship (Run out of Monash Law Clinics – CBD)

The Castan Centre Internship provides an opportunity to work closely with Castan Centre staff and academics to further the Centre’s research and policy work.

The Castan Centre internships are more academic in nature but may involve research that feeds into policy submissions by Castan Centre academics. As an intern, the students work directly with the Castan Centre on the Centre’s own research and policy projects. The interns are supervised by Castan Centre staff and academics. It provides an opportunity for the interns to form connections with leading human rights law academics, some of whom have a background in legal practice.

In the Clinic, students work on policy and advocacy projects with external human rights organisations in Australia or overseas with support from the Castan Centre and a representative from the external organisation.

Prerequisites: participating students should ideally have completed at least one human rights-related module in the Law Faculty.

Castan Centre Indigenous Internship (Run out of Monash Law Clinics – CBD)

The Castan Centre is pleased to announce the launch of the new Castan Centre Indigenous Internship. The Indigenous Internship provides an opportunity to work closely with Castan Centre staff and academics to further the Centre’s research and policy work, including issues relating to Indigenous rights.

The Castan Centre internships are more academic in nature but may involve research that feeds into policy submissions by Castan Centre academics. As an intern, the students work directly with the Castan Centre on the Centre’s own research and policy projects. The interns are supervised by Castan Centre staff and academics. It provides an opportunity for the interns to form connections with leading human rights law academics, some of whom have a background in legal practice.

In the Clinic, students work on policy and advocacy projects with external human rights organisations in Australia or overseas with support from the Castan Centre and a representative from the external organisation.

Prerequisites:

Ø  The Indigenous Internship is open for applications from Indigenous law students. Applications can be made via a separate application form from the Castan Centre or the William Cooper Institute.

Ø  Participating students should ideally have completed at least one human rights-related module in the Law Faculty.

AED Legal Centre (specialising in legal services to clients with a disability)

AED Legal Centre is a legal advocacy program established by the Association of Employees with Disability Inc. (AED). The Centre provides free legal advocacy to people with a disability in the areas of employment, education and training.

AED’s main objective is to protect and advance the rights of people with disability who experience difficulties and/or discrimination in employment or education because of their disability. AED does so through advocating for workplace solutions on behalf of employees with disability; educating employees with disability about their rights and employment law; drafting complaints of discrimination or unlawful dismissal; and providing legal representation at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Federal Court of Australia, Federal Magistrates Court, Fair Work Commission,

For students considering their professional placement with us, an interest in working with people with disability is essential.

Family Violence Clinic

This clinic is designed for students who are interested in assisting victims of family violence by attending the court on family violence list days and assisting the duty lawyer and to help clients make victims of crime applications to the Victims of Crime Tribunal.

The clinic is based at Springvale Monash Legal Service.

Activities include provision of legal information, advice and support to victims of family violence; attendance at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on a weekly basis, where we provide duty lawyer support and representation to people with family violence maters; assisting in the preparation of compensation applications to the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT); liaising with expert witnesses (e.g. psychologists and psychiatrists) to obtain reports in support of applications to VOCAT; and briefing of barristers and attendance at VOCAT hearings.

Pre-requisite Units: LAW4328 (professional practice), LAW4330 (Family Law Assistance Program) or JD equivalents.

JobWatch 

Jobwatch is a community legal centre where staff specialise in providing legal advice and ongoing casework to people with employment law problems, including unfair dismissal, workpace harassment and discrimination claims and other general protection claims.

Students receive extensive training and support to give advice on the telephone advice line in relation to various employment law issues, and assist with legal education materials, preparation of cases and legal research.

Activities may include: provision of legal information and support to people with employment law issues; assisting legal practitioners at JobWatch in the preparation of applications to the Fair Work Ombudsman and/or Fair WorkCommission; and undertaking of detailed legal research in support of legal practitioners preparing cases.

Note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are encouraged to apply for this internship, and students who have studied Employment Law or Anti Discriminatory Law are also encouraged to apply.

South East Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) at SMLS

Run in conjunction with the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) at Springvale Monash Legal Service, this clinic offers legal services to victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse. This placement is designed for students who have developed an interest during Professional Practice in supporting victims of sexual assault. Students will undertake casework in conjunction with SECASA staff as needed.

The clinic is intended for emotionally mature students who see themselves as potential criminal lawyers (whether acting for the prosecution or defence), as well as students interested in personal injury law and other areas of law that involve dealing with vulnerable and marginalised populations.

Activities include: provision of legal information, advice and support to victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse and their families; assistance in the preparation of compensation applications to the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT), in accordance with the Victims of Crime Assistance Act; liaising with expert witnesses (e.g. psychologists and psychiatrists) to obtain reports in support of applications to VOCAT; briefing of barristers and attendance at VOCAT hearings; and preparation of Sentencing Act applications (where compensation is sought from the offender themselves, as part of the offender’s sentencing process).

Pre-requisite Units: LAW4328 (professional practice), LAW4330 (Family Law Assistance Program) or JD equivalents.

Victorian Legal Aid

VLA provides legal aid services to members of the community both in-house and through contracted private lawyers. Our services include the provision of duty lawyers at courts, legal representation on individual cases, legal information, community legal centres and community legal education. VLA also conducts research into and makes submissions concerning legal aid and law reform issues.

Seeking students with an interest in gaining a high level understanding of social justice and access to justice issues in Victoria. Activities may include: transcribing interviews with legal assistance sector stakeholders in relation to legal needs; research into legal needs literature and methodology; support of the team in preparing for and reviewing workshops; and drafting of documents for use with VLA and CLC stakeholders

Lawyer Assisted Family Dispute Resolution Clinic (4811)

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is a type of mediation which helps separated parents resolve disputes in relation to children with the assistance of an impartial mediator called a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP).

In this clinic, each student will assist the supervising lawyer from Monash Law Clinics in a lawyer-assisted FDR (LAFDR) session and represent one of the parents during mediation. The other parent will be represented by another lawyer from another Community Legal Centre (CLC).

In addition, students will conduct interviews under supervision with clients who are either preparing to participate in the FDR process or have additional legal needs after their FDR sessions have concluded.

Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV) Clinic 

Social Security Rights Victoria (SSRV) is a community legal centre that provides free legal services in relation to Social Security and Centrelink matters to people across Victoria. Monash Law Clinics and Social Security Rights Victoria are partnering to offer a new clinic in the area of social security rights. Law students participating in the Social Security Advocacy Clinic will learn to use their legal skills to address the use of the law to promote effective economic justice.

Under the close supervision of the Clinical Supervisor, students will learn about social security law and service delivery. Students will have the opportunity to consider ways to work on policy projects as identified by SSRV to support social justice and foster government accountability.

Technology in Access to Justice Clinic 

The Tech in A2J clinic will provide students with insight into the intersection between law and technology in the provision of legal service, including how technology can be used to increase access to justice.

Legal practice is continuously seeking ways for legal practitioners to utilise technology to provide clients with enhanced access to legal processes. These include not only zoom, webex, and MS Teams but also through technological design of apps, BOTs and websites. Students undertaking the TLC will be learn how technology impacts on legal service and become equipped with the skills needed to match the demands of the modern lawyer.

Additionally, students will have the opportunity to experience the way in which technology is used to provide legal services to those clients who cannot attend lawyers in person. Such clients include those who are living in regional or remote areas, or who are disadvantaged either through financial hardship or other circumstances, including disability, language barriers, family violence or other circumstances. Under supervision of practising lawyers, students will provide legal advice to real clients with real legal problems. This part of the TLC will focus on issues that need to be addressed to prepare students to make effective use of technology to assist clients, including developing communication skills for interaction with clients via technology, and building trust and rapport with clients.

Australian Law Reform Commission (LAW4811)

The Australian Law Reform Commission is a federal agency that reviews Australia’s laws to ensure they provide improved access to justice for all Australians by making laws and related processes more equitable, modern, fair and efficient. Your work would include research and other written tasks, with the opportunity to attend consultation meetings (if held in Melbourne) as well as contribute to law reform papers and reports.

Note that this is a very limited opportunity that will only be offered to selected students.

Victorian Ombudsman

The Ombudsman provides a free, independent, accessible and impartial service to Victorians. Their role is to ensure that state and local government services are delivered in a fair and reasonable manner that is compatible with the rights protected by the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

The Ombudsman also investigates allegations of improper conduct referred by the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC). The Ombudsman also promotes excellence in public administration in Victoria through systemic investigations, publication of authoritative reports and engagement within both the government sector and the broader community. Victorian Ombudsman is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing an inclusive, accessible and safe work environment.

Students will be working on a discrete project, usually in pairs. Each project will require students to conduct legislative and regulatory analysis, examine and be involved in the engagement with stakeholder group, critically assess relevant legal and legislative landscape, prepare briefing and contribute to the development of policies.

Public Transport Ombudsman

The Public Transport Ombudsman is a not-for-profit, independent dispute resolution body proving a free, fair and informal service for the resolution of complaints and disputes about Victorian public transport operators and government entities who are members of the scheme. This unit of study will appeal to law students wishing to gain further insights into both alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and consumer protection.

Additionally students will gain exposure to legislation and policy application in an ADR environment, the processes and practices of a consumer based ombudsman scheme and governance of a not-for profit entity. Students will have the opportunity to develop internal practice notes, participate in case management and resolution, contribute to broader policy and legislative review submissions, and experience the role of a Company Secretary.

The PTO is particularly interested in students who see themselves working for an Ombudsman scheme or community legal centres and have an interest in vulnerable or disadvantaged members of the community. This particular project may involve work relating to accessibility.

The PTO encourages students with a disability to apply for this opportunity.

Grata Fund - Democracy and Freedoms Clinic (LAW4811)

Monash Law Clinics and the Grata Fund are partnering to offer a new clinic in the area of strategic litigation and freedom of information (FOI). Grata empowers people and communities to hold the powerful to account through integrated litigation and movement campaigns on the issues of human rights, democracy and climate change.

Law students participating in the Democracy and Freedoms Clinic learn to use their legal skills to address the use of the law to promote effective democracy. Students will work with  with experienced public-interest lawyers at the cutting edge of the law. Students are challenged to think strategically and creatively to implement legal interventions that contribute to holding governments and statutory authorities to account.

Climate Justice Clinic (LAW4811)

Students participating in the Climate Justice Law Clinic will learn to use their legal skills to address the urgent need for increased climate change mitigation action. Under the close supervision of the Clinical Supervisor, you will have the opportunity to advise climate activists, climate NGOs and concerned citizens who wish to use legal tools and legal advocacy in their fight for climate justice.