MLL416 - Criminal Law Clinic

Year: 2019 unit information
Enrolment modes:

Trimester 1: Deakin Downtown

Trimester 2: Deakin Downtown

Trimester 3: Deakin Downtown

Credit point(s): 1
EFTSL value: 0.125
Cohort rule:

(For Bachelor of Laws students only)

Unit chair:

Theo Alexander (Trimester 1 and Trimester 2), Jenni Lightowlers (Trimester 3)


MLL111, MLL214, MLL218


MLL335, MLL334

Incompatible with: Nil
Contact hours:

Students will be expected to devote approximately 150 hours of study to the unit.

Students must attend the Clinic on the Clinic open days. Attendance is compulsory for students to pass the unit. 

Week 1 –15 hours over two days (Tuesday and Friday):

  • Day 1 - Induction.
  • Day 2 - Overview of key legal topics under criminal law.

Weeks 2 to 11 –cal work – 15 hours over two days (Tuesday and Friday):

  • Weekly – attend Clinic during the two open days each week, meet with clients, prepare documents and advice, review matters and proposed strategies with supervising lawyer.



Places are limited. To register your interest, please complete an Expression of Interest here.

Expressions of Interest closing dates:

  • Trimester 1: 5pm Friday 18 January 2019;
  • Trimester 2: 5pm Friday 10 May 2019;
  • Trimester 3: 5pm Friday 13 September 2019

Please note: students who have not undertaken a law clinic unit will be given preference in consideration of expressions of interest.

Students will need to attend classes at Deakin Downtown, Collins Square, 727 Collins Street in Melbourne City. Attendance is compulsory for students to pass the unit.



Students undertake a practical placement in the specialist Deakin Criminal Law Clinic (‘the Clinic’) based at the Deakin Edge offices in the Melbourne CBD. The unit takes place in an environment which replicates a small to medium sized criminal defence firm. The Clinic provides services to clients who have been charged with summary or indictable offences. The Clinic also undertakes appeal work in appropriate cases.


Under the supervision of qualified specialist solicitors, students will be engaged in the criminal law process from commencement to conclusion. This includes providing legal advice to clients, undertake ongoing casework, undertaking legal research in relation to appeals, briefing counsel, and in appropriate cases, appearing for clients in court and or instructing counsel who appear for clients in court. Students also attend the Duty Barristers’ Scheme of the Victorian Bar, at either the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court or the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court, on a designated day to observe and assist the duty barrister who appears for unrepresented litigants to increase their exposure to the criminal law process.  Observing other members of the profession at work is a critical part of this learning experience.


By undertaking this unit, students acquire a diverse range of practical legal skills including: the capacity to undertake legal research and apply legal research to factual scenarios; the ability to synthesise professional, technical and ethical knowledge acquired in the law degree and apply it in a practical legal context; skills in critical thinking and legal judgment; the capacity to independently devise legal solutions for complex legal problems; and the capacity to identify and respond to ethical, moral and professional dilemmas in legal practice.


Students also develop an appreciation of social justice issues and have a heightened awareness of the operation of the criminal justice system, law reform needs and policy issues which face courts and criminal lawyers. The skills developed in this unit will be useful for students who wish to practice law (especially criminal law), along with students interested in policy, government and social justice career pathways. 


Assessment 1 (Individual) – Practical assessment – 60%

Assessment 2 (Individual) – Written professional reflection (2000 words) – 20%

Assessment 3 (Individual)- Legal writing assessment (2000 words) – 20%

Hurdle requirement: Minimum attendance with no more than one day absent on Clinic days.

Unit Fee Information

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