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LAW 3510 – Clinical Legal Education:

Course Coordinator: Ms Margaret Castles

Prerequisites: LAW 2504

Incompatible: LAW 3080

Restrictions: Available to LLB students only. Course participation will be by way of selection.

The course is designed to demonstrate the operation of theoretical and doctrinal law in a legal environment. Students are placed for one day per week in a legal office, such as Ombudsman SA, supervised by a legal practitioner, and participate actively in all aspects of the work at the office, including case work.

The concurrent seminar program builds on students’ experiences on placement, examining issues such as lawyer/client relationships, legal ethics, professionals and professions, justice access, and the role of our legal system in society.

Note: When offered over summer course entails 2 days of placement each week for 6 weeks between January and the end of February.

Course Learning Outcomes:

This course offers a limited number of students the opportunity to participate in legal practice whilst completing a three point elective subject. Students are placed at one of two legal advice services operated by the Law School, or at other community focussed legal service agencies, for one day a week for 12 weeks in Semester 1 and 2, or for two days per week over 6 weeks in Summer semester, as well as participating in an academically focussed seminar program.

This course will equip later year law students with a critical appreciation the operation of law in a practical setting, the day to day and long term impact of law on the community, justice access, dimensions of community lawyering as a social and professional phenomenon, and the ethical and professional dimensions of legal practice. These outcomes will provide students with a number of the Program Graduate Attributes for the Bachelor of Laws.

Communication Skills:

The continuing development of good inter-personal and communication skills is widely recognised as important for all graduates. This course specifically seeks to develop students’ abilities to engage in a wide range of written and oral communication activities, in the day to day clinical work on placement, and involvement in the interactive seminar program. Assessment is also based in part upon communication skills in a range of different contexts.

For more information and a copy of the course outline, please visit:

Testimonials / Experiences:

Alexandra Harris

Alex pic

How did you go about applying for your placement?

“I applied for the subject ‘Clinical Legal Education’ run by Ms Margaret Castles, and Ombudsman SA is one of the placement agencies associated with that course.”

When did you conduct your placement with Ombudsman SA?

“Semester 1 of 2014, every Tuesday from weeks 1-12 of the university semester. The course is very flexible and I chose Tuesdays as my placement day because it fitted in with my university timetable and work schedule.”

What sort of activities did you undertake?

“Reading case files and developing detailed chronologies, drafting provisional reports, legal research (both legislation and cases) and sitting in on client interviews. I also helped develop a webpage on the Ombudsman SA website aimed at law students from all South Australian universities that highlights how they can go about attaining an internship at Ombudsman SA and what to expect from it.”

“On my first day I was given the opportunity to work on a case which involved a council dispute. The claimant had been forced to move out of her accommodation due to an inflexible application of policy. I was excited to see administrative law come to life as I read the client’s file and actively contributed to helping the senior solicitor who was handling the case. I had to comb through the file which consisted of a series of ‘back and forth’ emails outlining the facts of the dispute, develop a succinct chronology, refer to relevant legislation and then come to a conclusion as to whether the council had erred in their application of a policy. After deciding (along with the senior solicitor working on the case) that there had in fact been a misapplication of policy, I was given the opportunity to draft a provisional report outlining the facts of the case and recommendations.”

How would you describe your ‘average day’ at Ombudsman SA?

“I arrive at the office at 9am and set up my desk / check emails. Then I check in with my supervisor and/or other staff members to be assigned my work for the day. There is generally always something new and exciting taking place, and if there are staff meetings or presentations I am invited to attend. Ombudsman SA has an ‘open door’ policy which welcomes and encourages students to actively be involved in the day-to-day work of the office.”

How has your experience at Ombudsman SA benefitted you?

“Exposing me to professional life in the public law system is extremely beneficial as not only does it give me experience of what it is like to work in administrative law, but I am also able to hone my legal skills and put into practice the learning that takes place at a university level.”

“I have learnt that legal practice is very fast paced and being organised and meeting deadlines is crucial. There is a lot of work to be done, so understanding how to prioritise and manage time is also of great importance.”

“Working for the community in an independent integrity body is fundamental in ensuring social justice, and it has been incredibly rewarding to see administrative law ‘come to life’ in a real world context.”


LAW 3527 – Public Law Internship Programme

Course Coordinator: Dr Laura Grenfell

Prerequisites: LAW 2504

Restrictions: Available to LLB students only. Enrolment is by selection only, please consult with Course Coordinator for eligibility.

The course places students in “internships” with the office of the SA Ombudsman for a period of 22 days in total. This involves two intensive weeks over non-teaching weeks e.g., summer or winter break, followed by one day per week over the semester (with each day being a 7.5 hour day).

The internships enable students to build on their understanding of the theory of public law by gaining an appreciation of its practical operation. The course aims to give depth and context to students’ existing knowledge of public law.

The course will begin with an orientation seminar providing an overview of Ombudsman SA to students. Students will be required to complete an agreed research task under the supervision of the course coordinator. The research task might involve research into a specific aspect of the powers of the Ombudsman. The research task will be negotiated with the student and the course coordinator, and will build on the work the student completes within Ombudsman SA.

It is expected that students will also be involved in day-to-day activities of Ombudsman SA and gain a broad understanding of how such accountability organisations operate and of the operation of public law generally.

For more information and the course outline, please visit:

Testimonials / Experiences:

Michael Schubert

Michael website final

How did you go about applying for your placement?

“I applied for the Public Law Internship elective and upon acceptance into the elective was allocated a placement at Ombudsman SA. In 2014, Public Law Internship elective participants had a choice of five workplaces in the field of public law at which they could intern.”

When did you conduct your placement with Ombudsman SA?

“February to June of 2014.”

How long was your placement?

“I completed a two-week intensive placement in February, followed by one day a week for the twelve weeks of Semester 1.”

What sort of activities did you undertake?

“I was involved in a wide variety of activities which differed each week. These have included: attending meetings with complainants, returning complainant phone calls, visiting department offices to search documents, serving a summons, attending lunchtime seminars, involvement in case meetings, evidence hearings, a guided tour of the courts, writing letters (including summons), drafting provisional and final reports, legal research, reading through department files, and drafting various sections of a state government-wide audit.”

How would you describe your ‘average day’ at Ombudsman SA?

“An average day will see me divide my time between several different matters. In the mornings I will catch up on developments in cases which are ongoing, before usually being handed new work. There is always something to do and if I am ever in need of any advice the other staff members are readily accessible. At any time I will be involved in one of the activities listed above. Most days I attend a meeting or do something out of the office. I have felt like I am making a genuine contribution to the work of Ombudsman SA, while being given the time and assistance to continue my legal development.”

How has your experience at Ombudsman SA benefitted you?

“My placement at Ombudsman SA has been immensely beneficial. As my first legal work experience it has given me a genuine insight into the mechanics and makeup of a legal office. Through my exposure to a variety of different issues and practices I have grown in confidence and expertise (as a result of working on everything from complaints about a neighbour’s fence to whistle blower disclosures).  It is the generalist work, with both investigatory and research components, which results in both the development of strong foundational legal skills and interesting work from day to day. Because of the Ombudsman’s position in the structure of government, I have also been privy to unique experiences which are not part of the mandate of a typical legal or departmental position.”