• Offered by ANU School of Legal Practice
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Legal Practice
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Susan Kirby
  • Mode of delivery Online
  • Offered in Summer Session 2019
    Spring Session 2019
    See Future Offerings

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

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

  1. 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. (null) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]

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 6 week intensive course.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (6303XGDLP or 6312XGDLP) or Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP) and have completed the course LEGW8141 Becoming a Practitioner.

Prescribed Texts

Please refer to the WATTLE site.

Preliminary Reading

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
2019 $1200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $1571
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.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1629 25 Feb 2019 08 Mar 2019 08 Mar 2019 05 Apr 2019 Online N/A

Spring Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8604 23 Sep 2019 04 Oct 2019 04 Oct 2019 01 Nov 2019 Online View

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