• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Anthony Hopkins
    • Prof Mark Nolan
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

The Prison Legal Literacy Clinic offers students a unique opportunity to work with detainees in a prison setting at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). The AMC is the Australian Capital Territory's only adult prison, accommodating all persons who have been sentenced to full-time imprisonment or remanded in custody by ACT Courts.

The Prison Legal Literacy Clinic was developed from the highly successful ANU College of Law, Law Reform and Social Justice Prison Legal Literacy Program which commenced in 2010.  

Students in the Prison Legal Literacy Clinic will attend the AMC to deliver six legal literacy sessions for a cohort of detainees chosen by AMC management. These sessions provide legal information only, rather than legal advice. The first session focuses on establishing mutually agreed rules and boundaries, developing respectful relationships and identifying areas of legal interest to detainees that will become the topics for the remaining five sessions. These topics are as diverse as detainees interests but may involve laws and legal process relating to criminal law, evidence, sentencing, appeals, parole, administrative law, human rights law and tort law. Many topics require students to convey an understanding of the democratic process of law making, the federal system of law as well as the hierarchy and jurisdiction of courts and tribunals.  The emphasis is on students working as a team to develop informative, engaging and interactive sessions. Student are required to undertake significant research in each week of the session delivery phase of the course, often in areas of law that are unfamiliar to them. Detainees who complete the program are presented with a certificate in the final session acknowledge their efforts.

Students will be provided with Security Awareness Training by the AMC and supported before and during the delivery stage of the program by the course convenor who will be present at, and guide the delivery of, each of the Legal Literacy Sessions at the AMC.

Following the delivery of six sessions (in the first 6 weeks of the semester) students are required to submit a reflective assessment. Students will then use the remaining six weeks of the semester to write a research paper on a legal topic they have identified from their experience with detainees within the AMC. Students will be supported to develop and hone their research papers in research workshops that will be held in the second half of the semester.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Review how legal knowledge can be used to empower detainees, improve detainee experiences and promote social justice
  2. Reflect on their personal motivation for studying law, their goals and career aspirations.
  3. Develop and apply a coherent body of substantive legal knowledge in the preparation delivery and evaluation of legal education workshops delivered to detainees.
  4. Evaluate a variety of social issues of justice, power and disadvantage, and to critically analyse entrenched issues of injustice in the legal system.
  5. Research and evaluate range of legal practice approaches having regard to the legal needs of detainees
  6. Investigate and evaluate the predicament of detainees having regard to the operation of the law and the legal system.
  7. Select and review concrete and achievable ways in which they can promote access to justice and equality before the law.
  8. Identify, plan, manage and execute a written research project addressing a problem relating to detainee experiences and/or the prison setting, and present findings using a variety of media

Indicative Assessment

  1. Participation in and delivery of legal literacy sessions at the AMC (NCN) (10) [LO 3]
  2. Reflective Journal or Report of Experience (1200 w) (20) [LO 2]
  3. Work in Progress Research Project Presentation (10-15mins ) (10) [LO 8]
  4. Research Project (4500 words - from a 7500word max) (60) [LO 1,4,5,6,7,8]

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.


Students are required to attend a half day prison security awareness course, as well as a two hour pre-course training workshop run by the convenor. Student will then attend the prison to deliver legal literacy sessions on six consecutive weeks on a day to be determined with the total time for travel, delivery and planning being approximately four hours. In the second half of the semester student will be required to attend three two hour research workshops. The total contact time expectation is 36 hours. Preparation for each legal literacy session and time required for research and preparation of the research project is additional. 

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD), have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses and have completed LAWS1206/LAWS6106 Criminal Law and Procedure; OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law and International Law B. An application process exists for this course, please contact the ANU College of Law. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4304 Prison Legal Literacy Clinic.

You will need to contact the ANU Law School to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.


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:
6 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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5700
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4612 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person View

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9617 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person View

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