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Lawyers, Ethics & Justice is a compulsory core course in applied legal ethics. It examines the structures, rules and values that enable ethical practice for lawyers. The course explores ethical issues that arise in professional practice and the regulations and standards that govern them. It considers these issues and principles in light of our personal values, experiences and psychological biases, as well as wider and dynamic professional contexts. These contexts include the history and workings of the legal profession and its rapidly changing circumstances. They also include the diverse and demanding environments in which contemporary lawyers work.

This course treats questions of ethics as found in everyday decisions and behaviour, general as well as those particular to lawyers. However, Lawyers, Ethics & Justice addresses, in particular, the responsibilities of lawyers in maintaining the integrity of the justice system. In doing so, students will analyse the roles lawyers do and should play in the justice system, and relate them to the values and routine skills lawyers have, or should have, to ensure effective and just outcomes.

The course is also designed for students to evaluate the conduct of lawyers, the nature of ethical practice, and the pursuit of justice in light of their own identities, values and skills. Students are asked to consider what acting in accordance their values would mean for their own professional lives.

During the course, students will start to develop the skills they will need to engage in ethical legal practice, including those to: identify and address ethics issues; work with colleagues and other professionals to institute and maintain ethical work practices; recognise and manage the diverse needs and interests of clients; and integrate often competing duties to clients, the workplace, the profession, the judicial system and society. This course combines interactive teaching, group work, and a clinical component in which students work with clients and lawyers at UNSW Law's Kingsford Legal Centre.

Main Topics

  •  Personal values and attributes, ethics and legal professionalism
  • Cultural constructions of lawyers, ethics and justice
  • History and changing status of the legal profession
  • Access to justice
  • Legal culture and the workplace
  • Questions of morality
  • Professional duties and rules
  • Lawyers' accountability
  • Client duties and skills
  • Ethics at the Criminal and Civil Bars
  • Negotiation and ADR
  • Recognising and resolving ethical problems
  • Globalisation of law and legal practice in the region
  • Clinical experience at KLC



Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 1, Term 2, Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Pre-requisite: 24 UOC completed in LLB courses including LAWS1052 or 24 UOC completed in Juris Doctor courses.

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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