Advanced Legal Advice Case Work

The details
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
05 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module involves students engaging in a different form of learning to most of their other courses. This form of learning is often called experiential learning because it involves the use of real-life experiences as the basis for learning. In law school, it is usually called clinical legal education. Throughout the world and increasingly in the United Kingdom clinical legal education is becoming central to legal education.

According to one expert, 'Clinical Legal Education involves an intensive small group learning experience in which each student takes responsibility for legal and related work for a client (whether real or simulated) in collaboration with a supervisor. The student takes the opportunity to reflect on matters including their interactions with the client, their colleagues and their supervisor, as well as the ethical aspects and impact of the law and legal process'.

This module will first provide students with the ethical frameworks necessary to equip them to provide legal services to community members as an adviser with the University of Essex's Law Clinic. The module will also explore current issues in obtaining access to justice. Students will be provided with the opportunity both in class and through written assignments to reflect on their experiences in terms of what they have learnt about professional and ethical values, and the justice of the legal system.

Please note that this module is suitable for students that have previously undertaken the Essex Law Clinic induction programme either through the module LW250 Legal Advice Casework or as a clinic volunteer on an extracurricular basis. Students that have not undertaken the induction should consider enrolling in LW250 Legal Advice Casework instead. This module will appeal to students seeking an in-depth and critical knowledge of the law, policy and practice of key aspects of the criminal justice system of England and Wales.

The module beings with an introduction to some general issues and themes in criminal justice, including: the presumption of innocence and a defendant's the right to a fair trial; the due process and crime control models of criminal justice; the significance of the political context in the development of criminal justice policy; and recent trends in criminal justice policy. This provides a context for subsequent discussions on particular aspects of the criminal justice system, ranging from the pre-trial to the post-trial stages of the criminal process.

During these weekly seminars key questions relating to our criminal justice system will be discussed, such as: Are juries fair? Do the police use their stop and search powers in a discriminatory manner? Should plea-bargaining be allowed? What tensions exist in current sentencing policy? Do high levels of imprisonment lead to a safer society? What potential do restorative justice practices have in responding to sexual offending?

Module aims

The module aims:

1. To provide students through experience of clinical practice with basic legal skills and ethical values in order to equip them to act as an advisor in the Essex Law Clinic.

2. To provide students with experience of legal advice work in areas such as benefits advice, housing rights, equality and employment law, family law and consumer issues.

3. To provide students with an appreciation of the ethical, social and political context in which services are provided.

4. To introduce students to the practice of reflection on experience in order to improve their performance and understanding of legal work.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module the students should be able to:

1. Undertake a range of tasks and activities concerned with legal advice work.

2. Apply legal and, as appropriate, other skills in a practical and focused way to problems or project topics.

3. Understand and critically evaluate the core ethical and professional principles governing the provision of legal services

4. Engage in critical reflection on the performance of relevant legal and educational activities.

Module information

Students will only be able to participate in this module if they maintain clinic membership and are able to attend clinic sessions and are prepared to sign a confidentiality policy and uphold the University's equalities policies.

Reflection on the ethics of the legal profession will involve looking at the most important ethical principles governing legal practice such as confidentiality and the avoidance of conflicts of interest and some of the most controversial debates such as whether lawyers should pursue immoral goals or use unethical means to achieve client goals, whether clients should be allowed to make "irrational decisions" and whether lawyers owe duties to ensure equal access to justice. Related to this issue is the current position as regards access to justice and possible means of redressing current problems. The module will also consider strategies for putting values into action in the legal professional setting.

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching will be by way of fortnightly two-hour classroom sessions and by participation in a variety of clinical activities under supervision. Classes on ethics and justice will take the form of seminars for which students must prepare by reading set materials and then engage in class discussion and debate.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Exercise I 15/01/2020 33.4%
Coursework Exercise II and Exercise III 66.6%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Lee Hansen, Prof Donald Nicolson and Elizabeth Fisher-Frank
Law General Office, 01206 872529, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk


Travel costs for UK - based unpaid, approved work placements and live projects which are an integral part of a module may be covered by your department. (NB this will usually exclude field trips and site visits). Please check with your module supervisor to ensure that the activity is eligible.

External examiner

Ms Lydia Katherine Bleasdale-Hill
The University of Leeds
Director of the Clinic
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Law (School of)

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.