Bond University


For some time, I have been interested in clinical legal education in the broadest sense, as a method of teaching and learning, and as a substantive focus for teaching and research.1 As a method, it incorporates the key elements of structured experience and reflection, elaborated below.2 As a substantive focus, it looks at what lawyers really do and what really happens in practice. I have regularly argued that both aspects of clinical legal education can and should be introduced into the LLB, even in quite large classes. Clinical legal education methods and insights can be effectively combined with conventional legal education to further the goals of legal education. This paper elaborates on those teaching and learning ideas, in the specific context of teaching civil procedure. Some background about the goals of legal education and the changing patterns of legal education in Australia is necessary. This leads to a recognition of the importance of addressing the changing dispute resolution processes in Australia and the skills and understanding law graduates need, especially a broad grounding in values and ethics. The second part of the paper describes a program designed to integrate theoretical, critical and practical approaches to the formal rules of civil litigation. As well as covering formal rules and practices, this program considered the reality of settlement in litigation and examined mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, in light of ideas about the nature of civil justice and the moral and ethical dimensions of legal practice.