• Class Number 8604
  • Term Code 2970
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Susan Kirby
    • Susan Kirby
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 23/09/2019
  • Class End Date 01/11/2019
  • Census Date 04/10/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/10/2019
SELT Survey Results

Governments operate through departments, agencies and the Parliament to implement policies and legislation. It is important that lawyers be familiar with these processes and procedures as much as with the consequent policies and legislation that impact on citizens' (individual and corporate) activities. 

One course cannot fully or adequately cover the scope of 'government legal practice'. This course provides some opportunities to do so. You will participate in scenario simulation of policy development as the legal adviser to a policy team, as well as undertake legal advice work and participate in selected aspects of legal practice in relation to the day-to-day business of government, for example:

  • Commercial law, through the procurement of goods and services and contracts for supply
  • Statutory interpretation and advice work such as legal advice for policy development and in relation to development and / or managing legislation 
  • Information technology, intellectual property, security and social media law;
  • Legal advice in relation to Parliament, such as committees, questions, ministers, private clients, and
  • Introduction to legal risk assessment and risk management.

The course introduces frameworks and principles applicable to government legal practice through a 'pathway' scenario simulation, which may have, for example, a commercial / procurement / IP / IT practice bias or it may include policy development (through an administered program or by passage of legislation).  In any case, the scenario provides context to illustrate what may be involved and the problems requiring legal consideration along the 'pathway'.

Students have the opportunity to approach government legal practice from different perspectives: as in-house government lawyers in a government agency and as lawyers in the private legal sector (such as firms who act for government agencies or who act for private sector clients in their dealings with government).

The course is Commonwealth based. Where possible, students are encouraged to share their experiences in other jurisdictions.

Other Information

Government Law Practice can only be taken by students who are completing a minimum of 3 GDLP electives (9 units).

If you are studying 2 electives for your GDLP, Government Law Practice cannot be one of those electives.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills 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

Required Resources

  • You are required to read all the materials that are made available via the course site and view/listen to all audio-casts that may be offered as part of the course. New materials will be announced in the Course Convenor Notes'.
  • You are expected to carry out independent research during the course to complete some of the assessments (as you would be expected to do in practice). You can undertake virtually all of the beneficial independent research online.

Staff Feedback

You will be given written and/or oral feedback pointing out things that have been done well and those that could be done better or differently. You will be given written or oral feedback following any submission of an assessment. This is typically available 1-2 weeks after submission of the assessment. You may seek further elaboration on any feedback - either from your marker or by the convenor. If you feel that your feedback and grade does not reflect your performance, please contact the convenor in writing and outline your concerns. Your submission will be re-marked by a new examiner.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Competency Standards

The GDLP draws together the compulsory skills, practice areas and values from the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC) Competency Standards for Entry-Level Lawyers. The LACC competencies set out the standards that you must achieve during your professional legal training (PLT) to be eligible for admission to practice.

You can find the PLT Competency Standards for Entry-level lawyers at https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/files/web-pdf/LACC%20docs/224336988_10_LACC%20-%20PLT.pdf.

External Resources

Information about the ANU Law Library, including details of E-Legal research online resources (for example, CCH Intelliconnect, Legal Online, LexisNexisAU, etc) is available to ANU students and can be found at http://anulib.anu.edu.au/subjects/law. For access to the online resources please go to: http://virtual.anu.edu.au then type in your student number and password. At various points throughout the course you will be directed to other useful external resources.

Requesting an Extension

If you think other circumstances justify an extension you should discuss your circumstances with your Convenor, before the due date. Whether or not an extension will be granted remains in the discretion of the Convenor. Convenors will not usually grant extensions if the reason for your inability to complete work on time is due to a commitment that you knew you had at the start of the course. Alternatively, an extension is likely to be granted if an issue / commitment arises during the course that you could not have predicted.

In some circumstances (illness, injury, family crisis etc.) an extension will be granted as a matter of course. The Convenor may ask you to provide documentation – e.g. a medical certificate. Retrospective extensions will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. Convenors recognise that circumstances can arise when it is impossible or impracticable for a student to request an extension prior to the submission date. Convenors may notify the Sub-Dean when responding to your extension request. The Sub-Dean may contact you with regard to your extensions request(s) if they identify that you may benefit from additional and/or coordinated support due to your circumstances.

Word Limits

As the assessment in the GDLP Program is authentic to legal practice, we do not impose word limits. However, you will often be given a word ‘recommendation’ to guide you, taking into account the purpose of the document and the length it is likely to be in practice.


Sub-Dean, GDLP/MLP

The GDLP/MLP Sub-Dean, Pamela Taylor-Barnett can be contacted via email on subdean.slp@anu.edu.au

Wellbeing Support Services for Lawyers

You will find an abundance of wellbeing support information for lawyers on the ANU School of Legal Practice website.

We also encourage you to read Being Well in the Law – a guide for lawyers which is a toolkit is provided by the NSW Law Society, written by our ANU Academics.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction – context and framework Being a government lawyer Introduction to the scenario (stakeholders and clients) Commence Assessment Exercise 1
2 Stakeholders, consultation, policy and legal issues Policy and legal issues and role of lawyer Contribute to Forum 1 Commence Assessment Exercise 2 (Part 1) Assessment Exercise 1 due: Tuesday, 01 October 2019 9.00am (AEST)
3 Legal issues – context, identification and advice Contribute to Forum 2 Continue with Assessment Exercise 2 (Part 1) Forum 1 due: Monday, 07 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)
4 Clients, instructions and legal issues Continue to contribute to Forum 2 Assessment Exercise 2 (Part 1) due: Tuesday, 15 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)
5 Progress the matter: refine your analysis of legal issues Contribute to Forum 3 for your reflective analysis and Ready for Practice Assessment Exercise 2 (Part 2) review supervisor feedback and prepare final advice Forum 2 due: Monday, 21 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)
6 Legal issues: finalise your advice to client Complete post-course questionnaire Assessment Exercise 2 (Part 2) due: Wednesday, 30 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT) Forum 3 due: Friday, 1 November 2019 5.00pm (AEDT)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Client and stakeholder identification and interest 0 % 01/10/2019 15/10/2019 1,2,6
Advice to a Client 0 % 15/10/2019 29/10/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Forums 0 % 07/10/2019 15/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


You must check Wattle course announcements and forum discussions as well as your ANU email at least every 24-48 hours.

All email correspondence from the ANU will be sent to your ANU email address. You may arrange for your ANU Email to be forwarded to an email address you check daily.

Alternatively, set your personal setting to provide you with all the reminders you need to achieve this. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to ensure you are actively committed and involved in this course.

The course will be conducted in the following time zones (Canberra time). 

Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): from 7 April 2019 to 6 October 2019. 

Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT): from 7 October 2019 to 5 April 2020.

Please make appropriate adjustments if you are located in a different time zone.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 01/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,6

Client and stakeholder identification and interest

Task: Identify potentially interested and affected groups and persons (stakeholders) and their legal interest in the new policy proposal. Contribute to the public consultation process by drafting a short submission.

Assessment Due Date: Tuesday, 01 October 2019 9.00am (AEST)

Please refer to the Important Class Information in Wattle for further information and grades in this course.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 15/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 29/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

Advice to a Client

This assessment exercise is in two parts.

Part 1

Prepare a draft of your advice (plan), using the Assessment Exercise 2, Part 1 template provided. Prepare a draft/outline/plan of an advice to your client. Your draft will identify:

  • your role;
  • your client;
  • the legal issue(s) and
  • your advice

demonstrating your understanding of the legal issue(s), your analysis, research and writing / drafting skills.

Assessment Due Date: Tuesday, 15 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)

Part 2

Draft an advice to a client. Based on your Asessment Exercise 2, Part 1 draft and feedback received from your supervising lawyer, prepare a ‘final draft’ advice to your client.

Assessment Due Date: Wednesday, 30 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)

Please note: The Due Date listed in the Assessment Summary is the due date relating to Part 1 of this assessment. For the due date for Part 2 please refer to the information above. Please refer to the Important Class Information in Wattle for further information and grades in this course.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 07/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7


The 3 Forums are compulsory, but do not receive a grade. Students will receive either Competent or NYC for contributing to the three forums.

Forum Information: Forums, open for 2 weeks (in 2 week blocks) for contributions and discussions on legal and legal related topics that are relevant to that segment of the course.

  • Topics in FORUM 1 and 2 deal with legal issues and related matters, including time management.
  • Topics in FORUM 3 provide opportunities to develop and practise skills in problem solving, research, analysis, writing and drafting and reflection.

Forum Due Dates:

  • Forum 1: Monday, 07 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)
  • Forum 2: Monday, 21 October 2019 9.00am (AEDT)
  • Forum 3: Friday, 01 November 2019 9.00am (AEDT)

Please note: The Due Date listed in the Assessment Summary is the due date relating to Forum Post 1. For the due dates for Forum Post 2 & 3, please refer to the information above. Please refer to the Important Class Information in Wattle for further information and grades in this course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

Please ensure that you keep a copy of all the work you submit.

The submission requirements specific to each task will be set out on the course Wattle site by the Convenor.

Generally, you will submit written assessments through the course Wattle site in the appropriate submission box under the heading “Assessments”. You must complete the electronic academic integrity certification. Ensure you confirm your submission has been properly submitted (click “send for marking”), and not merely uploaded as a draft file.

You will complete oral assessments through the web-conference platform provided on the course Wattle site (Adobe Connect) or through Skype under extenuating circumstances. Oral assessments will be recorded and webcam will be required for student verification only. You must have your student card, driver’s licence or other form of photo identification available to show your assessor. You can then turn your camera off.

Hardcopy Submission

No hard copy submission will be accepted in this class.

Late Submission

If you submit an assessment late, without receiving an approved extension from the Convenor, the following penalties will apply: 

  1. You will not be able to achieve a Higher Level Performance (HLP) grade for the assessment in question.
  2. If your assessment is graded as Not Yet Competent (NYC) you will not be offered the opportunity to resubmit the assessment, or to submit a supplementary assessment.
  3. Assessments submitted more than 72 hours after the due date will be automatically graded NYC.

The Convenor has overriding discretion to accept an assessment and/or to allow a student to resubmit an assessment, or to submit a supplementary assessment.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Your written work will receive feedback and grading via the course Wattle site under the corresponding assessment drop box. Assessment results are typically available between 1-2 weeks after the due date via the same dropbox your assessments were submitted to. The Convenor will post announcements about when you can expect your assessment results.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

  • Students who make a bona fide attempt at assessable work and who submit it on time (or are granted an extension), and who receive a Not Yet Competent (NYC) grade for the assessment item, will be offered additional assessment.
  • Additional assessment is EITHER one opportunity to resubmit the assessment, OR one opportunity to submit a supplementary assessment. The Convenor has the discretion to decide which form of additional assessment to utilise.
  • Both the opportunity to resubmit work that has been graded NYC, or to submit a supplementary assessment, are considered to be supplementary assessment in the course. 
  • No further supplementary assessment will be offered once a student receives an N (fail) grade as a final result for the course.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Susan Kirby

Research Interests

Susan is an experienced private practice and government lawyer, admitted to practice in the ACT, NSW and the High Court.

She has worked extensively in the areas of legal advisings/statutory interpretation, legislation, commercial law and litigation in several Commonwealth departments and statutory agencies. Susan has taught in the GDLP program since January 2013 in the Government Law elective, the Administrative Law elective and Legal Ethics.

Prior to working in Commonwealth government legal practice, Susan worked in private practice, predominantly in Family Law and Criminal Law.

Susan Kirby

Monday 09:00 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 17:00
Thursday 09:00 17:00
Friday 09:00 17:00
Susan Kirby
02 6125 3483

Research Interests

Susan Kirby

Monday 09:00 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 17:00
Thursday 09:00 17:00
Friday 09:00 17:00

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