• Offered by ANU Legal Workshop
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Legal Practice
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Lynette Du Moulin
  • Mode of delivery Online
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2016
    Spring Session 2016
    See Future Offerings

Governments operate through departments, agencies and the Parliament to implement policies and legislation. Irrespective of the legal subject areas or the type of legal practice in which they are engaged, lawyers should be familiar with these processes and procedures as much as with the implemented policies and legislation that impact on citizens’ (individual and corporate) activities.

One course cannot fully or adequately cover the scope of ‘government legal practice’. Legal practice within and for government may include areas of law such as:

•    Commercial law practice – for example, procurement, contracting, finance and related matters;
•    Corporate governance and regulation;
•    Statutory interpretation and advice work – across a range of legal areas, including matters normally considered the domain of the private legal sector;
•    Constitutional law (note the requirements set out in the Legal Services Directions (LSDs) regarding constitutional matters being tied work);
•    Information technology, intellectual property, security and social media law;
•    Litigation;
•    Administrative Law;
•    Legal advice for policy development;
•    Legal advice in relation to development and / or and managing legislation etc;
•    Legal advice in relation to Parliament – committees, questions, Ministers, private clients etc; and
•    Risk assessment and risk management.

The Government Law Practice course introduces frameworks and principles applicable to government legal practice. The coursework and assessment exercises are designed to develop a student’s skills, knowledge and understanding to be able to undertake government and government-related legal work as an entry-level lawyer.

The course does this through a ‘pathway' scenario. Sometimes the ‘pathway’ has a commercial / procurement / IP / IT practice bias. Sometimes it includes policy development (through an administrated program or by passage of legislation), statutory interpretation / application of legislation, parliamentary matters or project development and implementation. In all cases, the scenario provides context to illustrate what may be involved and the problems for legal consideration along the ‘pathway’.

This approach provides opportunities for students to approach government legal practice from different perspectives, for example, as in-house government lawyers in a government agency and as lawyers in the private legal sector. This could be in firms who act for government agencies or who act for private sector clients in their dealings with government (as represented by a department or other agency). Two examples:

•    You may be advising private sector clients who are negotiating to enter into commercial contracts with government agency/ies as contracted suppliers of goods and services, or
•    You may be acting for clients who are stakeholders in policy or project development and require legal assistance to make representations to government (the Minister, the department or to a parliamentary or other inquiry).

The course is principally based on Commonwealth requirements. However, the principles generally apply in State and Territory jurisdictions.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By participating in the course and undertaking structured and self-regulated learning activities, a student will develop and apply knowledge and skills to be able to:

1. Identify government  legal frameworks, investigate and apply relevant law, policy, processes and procedures when advising clients and, where necessary, other parties.

2. Analyse and synthesise the context of legal practice in and for government (being at the intersection of law, politics, policy and administration) and identify and critically reflect on the breadth and scope of legal issues that may arise.

3. Analyse, research, interpret and evaluate legal and legal related problems that range in complexity to advise clients to enable them to make informed decision(s).

4. Prepare and draft relevant document(s) to transmit and communicate information in a form appropriate to the identified client.

5. Analyse, review and evaluate student colleagues’ work and evaluate and critically reflect on the student’s own knowledge and learning.

6. Demonstrate and critically reflect on their ethical and professional behaviours and responsibilities.

7. Demonstrate and apply the knowledge, skills and values required to achieve the ‘Competency Standards for Entry Level Lawyers’ as determined by the Law Admissions Consultative Council

Other Information

The Government Law Practice course is not another name for Administrative Law.  Administrative law (FOI, merits review, AAT, judicial review etc.) is covered in the separate Administrative Law Practice course. 

Government Law Practice can only be taken if students are completing a minimum of 3 Admission to Practice electives (9 units).

Indicative Assessment

Students are required to participate in discussion forums on issues relevant to government practice; to identify potential clients and stakeholders in a government practice scenarios; to prepare and critically comment on documentation prepared by peers; and to draft an advice to a government client.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Hours required will depend on previous experience and/or knowledge.  You self pace your study to meet online course timelines and assessment deadlines within an 8 week intensive course.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (6303XGDLP or 6312XGDLP) and completed or be completing LEGW8141. OR Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP) and completed or be completing LEGW8141.

Prescribed Texts

Content book and related materials are provided prior to the course commencing.  Most materials are also provided online.

Preliminary Reading

See 'Assumed Knowledge'.

See 'Assumed Knowledge'.  Reading lists are available through the course website in WATTLE.

Assumed Knowledge

If you have not worked in the area, refresh your knowledge by referring to texts on legal system and process, general introductory books on public policy, public administration and law.  Also take some time to look at relevant websites, for example http://www.aph.gov.au/ and federal agency sites.  This will give you a ‘feel' for the scope and breadth of possible legal work and issues.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
3 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

3.00 0.06250
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $1147
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $1503
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
5282 28 Mar 2016 01 Apr 2016 08 Apr 2016 20 May 2016 Online N/A

Spring Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9281 05 Sep 2016 09 Sep 2016 07 Oct 2016 28 Oct 2016 Online N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions