Engaging with the community

Clinic at Murdoch

For more than 25 years, our Clinic, through its collaboration with The Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service Inc (SCALES), has placed students within a real legal practice, offering legal advice and representation to clients that are marginalised or disadvantaged.

While serving the community, the Murdoch Law Clinic also allows students to develop their legal skills, working under supervision on real cases. Students interview clients, undertake research, develop case theories and formulate advice.  They also draft documents, participate in mediation and assist in litigation, working with solicitors and barristers both within SCALES and in the profession more broadly. In doing this they help provide much needed legal services to approximately 800-900 people every year and teach our students and future lawyers the importance of access to justice.

In addition to representing clients, the clinical program includes non-litigation strategies for legal change, like community education and law reform. Our clinic has won numerous prizes including a National Human Rights Award for the legal work and a National Teaching Award for the real life experience our students gain through the program.

How you can benefit

Clinical Legal Education is an invaluable experience by allowing you to apply your knowledge and skills to real-world situations and cases. If you have a keen interest in the practice and social justice, you can experience first-hand legal practice, receive feedback on your efforts and participate in guided reflection on the professional role and its responsibilities to the larger society.

You could work on a range of legal matters and use a variety of skills, including interviewing, formulating advice, advocacy, and representation. Some of the cases our students have been involved in include:

  • a High Court case that became the precedent for safe third country issues in asylum law
  • Supreme Court action around the rights of juveniles while detained
  • countless cases to keep people from homelessness
  • cases that were taken to the United Nations, on torture, the right to housing, the right to health care, and more
  • law reform through parliamentary enquiries at both a state and federal level
  • reports and submissions to the United Nations, both the committee system and the special rapporteur.

Our Clinic can help you develop a clear idea of what area you would like to specialise in by allowing you to explore the role of law in society, what legal practice can achieve, and its limitations.