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This assignment requires you to observe and critically evaluate the legal system in order to deepen your understanding of the diversity of proceedings, parties, needs and dispute resolution processes that our legal system deals with. The assignment also asks you to do additional readings to support your analysis of what you observe.

More particularly, by writing the paper you will:

  • Understand approaches to ethical decision-making in legal processes;
  • Be able to investigate attitudes to the various roles in the legal system;
  • Research the purposes of the procedures used by courts and investigate alternatives;
  • Better understand the changing nature of our legal system, including contemporary thinking about our ‘adversarial’ legal system and modifications made to the operation of the adversarial system
  • Better understand how legal concepts actually work in practice, the gap between theory and practice, and the role of law reform
  • Evaluate the fairness and suitability of the processes by which our courts adjudicate disputes
  • Have an opportunity to experiment with self-directed learning
  • Be able to consider the factors that underpin your assumptions relating to the legal system and yourself as a law student
  •  Foster personal self-awareness
  • Develop your skills of observation and analysis, self-directed research, time management, planning and written communication.


Option 1: Court visits – Prepare a paper in which you describe and analyse at least ONE hearing which you have observed this year in a court.


Option 2: Community Law – Make TWO visits to one of the Community Legal Services operated by the Law Faculty, instead of visiting a court, and write a paper according to the instructions below.

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