Subject Code & Title :- LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission
Assignment Type :- Assessment
1. One of the assessment tasks in LAW5PCL is the 1500-word law reform submission worth 25%.
2. This Assessment Guide contains essential information requirements and advice about the law reform submission.
3. You must read this document very carefully and follow the requirements.The marker of your work will assume that you know the entire contents of this document.
4. All the various requirements noted in this guide are important though some are more important than others. Failure to comply with requirements will be penalised.
5. Please note that some details below may be altered. Regularly check LMS for relevant announcements.
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment
What is the task?
6. In summary you must write a 1500-word submission arguing for or against some proposed or possible law reform The possible topics are listed in the next section.
7. A law reform submission is a document that takes a substantive position on a law reform issue and seeks to persuade its target audience to agree with that position.The target audience is usually some person or organisation with the power or capacity to make decisions that will shape what the law will be such as the Government whether as a whole or a particular Minister) a Parliamentary Committee or the Victorian or Australian Law Reform Commissions.
8.The issue is not what the law is but what it should be. Your submission needs to present a clear position on what the law should be (even if should remain unchanged — defending the status quo can be a perfectly respectable position).Your submission should also attempt to persuade your target audience to adopt the policy position that you support.
9. Think very carefully about how best to get your audience to agree with you or at least to take your view seriously enough to warrant a considered response.This means that logical arguments supported by credible evidence and appealing to shared or common values and normative principles are likely to be your main tools of persuasion. As your concern is with what the law should be not what it is citing legal authorities to back up your argument will be of limited use. Of course if you are saying something is the law then you should cite the authority for that. But law reform arguments are more likely to be grounded in political social and ethical principles such as justice human rights welfare human dignity respect compassion or moral obligations and so on.
10. Merely expressing your own emotional convictions will be of little use to you. Your goal is not to give a full and satisfying expression to your feelings. Simply saying how strongly you are convinced of some matter is unlikely to give your audience a reason to share your conviction. Rather your goal should be to persuade a reasonable person or group of people to agree with your position or at least take it seriously. You should aim to give your audience reasons for it to adopt your position. This means it might not be enough to articulate your own reasons for adopting the position you adopt. Think what reasons you can give your audience for it to adopt as its reasons for taking that position or at least taking it seriously.
The topics :-
11.You must choose one of the following topics.
Topic 1: Defence of lawful correction of children
12. Imagine that the Victorian Attorney-General has asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) to conduct an inquiry into whether the common law defence to assault of lawful correction of a child should be abolished statutorily reformed or left unchanged.
13.Your task is to write a submission to the VLRC.
14.You may write as yourself (i.e. as an individual) or as the representative of a stakeholder group. If you want to write as the representative of a group you can (a) make up your own stakeholder group (b) adopt an actual group or (c) adopt one of the following (fictional) groups:
1.Tough Love a conservative group of concerned citizens that defends what it sees as traditional models of child rearing)
2. Children’s Welfare Network (a coalition of various private and non profit groups involved in providing child welfare services
3. Pragmatic Parents Collective an organisation comprising people who want what is best for their children but think laws and government policies have to be realistic and tailored to suit ordinary people
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment
Topic 2: Stalking
15.The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) is (truly) currently conducting an inquiry into stalking. The terms of reference can be found via this link: Stalking Terms of Reference – Victorian Law Reform Commission
16.Your task is to write a submission to the VLRC. Your submission should address some aspect of the terms of reference, but does not need to address all of them.
17.You may write as yourself (i.e. as an individual) or as the representative of a stakeholder group. If you want to write as the representative of a group you can (a) make up your own stakeholder group (b) adopt an actual group or (c) adopt one of the following (fictional) groups:
1.Stalking Victim-Survivor Support Network a group of victim-survivors of stalking provided support for each other
2. Freedom Defence League (a libertarian group that advocates against the expansion of the criminal law)
3. Social Media Federation (a group representing the interests of social media owners concerned about the role of social media in stalking and seeking to protecting social media owners from liability for offences committed via social media)
Topic 3: Voluntary assisted dying
18. Imagine that the Victorian Attorney-General has asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) to conduct an inquiry into whether the eligibility criteria for accessing voluntary assisted dying under s 9 of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) should be reformed. The terms of reference ask the VLRC to consider whether any of the existing criteria should be abolished or amended and whether any new eligibility criteria (whether in addition to the existing criteria or as alternatives to them) should be adopted.
19.Your task is to write a submission to the Committee.
20.You may write as yourself (i.e. as an individual) or as the representative of a stakeholder group. If you want to write as the representative of a group you can (a) make up your own stakeholder group (b) adopt an actual group or (c) adopt one of the following (fictional) groups:
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment – Australia.
a. Life Support (a lobby group campaigning against all forms of euthanasia and for better palliative care support for people with a terminal illness)
b. My Life My Death (a lobby group campaigning for greater freedom and support for people to choose the time and manner of their dying)
c. Scalpels with Scruples (a group of doctors opposed to voluntary assisted dying)
Topic X: Your own topic
21. If none of the above topics appeals to you then you may wish to choose your own Topic X. If you do like one of the general topics covered above but you don’t like the specific questions actually posed above then you may well like to do Topic X. That is to say you can take the same general topic (e.g. drug law reform) but devise your own question on it for approval (e.g. ‘Should recreational cannabis use be decriminalised?’). Your question should take the form of a law reform issue and your answer should be in the form of a law reform submission.
22. If you want to choose Topic X you must formulate a specific question and have it approved by the subject co-ordinator by midday Send your proposed question to the subject co-ordinator by email.
23. Carefully formulating your question is very important. Don’t simply think along the lines of ‘I find offensive language offences interesting. I’ll write something on that’. Having a topic (i.e. a general subject matter or area) to write about is not enough. You will need a specific question about your subject area which you will then answer. The question needs to raise a particular issue or issues that need a response.
24.If you choose Topic X then your aim should be twofold: first, to formulate an important (or at least non-trivial) interesting and answerable issue and second then to present a clear and well-argued response that actually answers the question asked. Formulating a good question is not easy and even if you do formulate one that is no guarantee that you will answer it better than you might have answered one of the set questions above. Sometimes students who do their own question find themselves boxed in or tripped up or frustrated by their question in ways they did not anticipate.
25. There is no guarantee that any proposed Topic X will be approved. Also specific changes to a proposed question may be required before it is approved If your topic is approved and if you submit an assignment on that chosen topic you will then be assessed with respect to the question in the terms that were approved. However if you have had your own topic approved, you are not obliged to write on it and may instead answer one of the set questions for Topics 1 to 4 above. Just be clear that that is what you have done.
26. There are limits to what topics will be approved. Your topic must in some way be concerned with policy and reform issues relating to some area of the criminal law.However the area of law addressed need not be one of the areas covered in this subject.
27.If you take this option and write your own approved topic then your assignment’s front page must include the full and exact text of the approved question. Your marker needs to have the exact terms of the approved question in front of them when they mark your work.
Some suggested starting points for reading
28. You are expected to do your own research to support your submission. However some starting points for reading are provided here just to help you get started if you wish. It is not strictly required that you cite any of these documents in your submissions but for most of you it will be helpful to do so.
How many marks is the law reform submission worth?
29. The law reform submission is worth 25 marks and comprises 25% percent of the total marks for this subject.
When and how must the law reform submission be submitted?
30.You must submit an electronic copy of your law reform submission
31. Do not email your work to the subject co-ordinator or the law school If you do it will be ignored.
32.Late submissions will be subject to a penalty of 5% of the marks available per day for up to 10 working days. After 10 working days no work will be accepted. See the University’s Assessment Procedure — Adjustments to Assessments Policy for more details.
What is the maximum word length?
33.Your law reform submission must be no more than 1500 words in total. Words over the 1500-word limit will be ignored.
34.There is no 10% ‘leeway’ rule.The real limit is 1500 words not 1650 words. If you submit a piece that is well under 1500 words that is up to you. There is no rule as to the minimum length. But it is likely that work that is well under 1500 words will suffer in quality.
35. Headings are included in the word count But do not let that put you off using headings Judicious use of headings will help you. Citations in footnotes are not included in the word count However any substantive text beyond citations in footnotes will be ignored so do not think you can sneak extra words into your work via footnotes. Do not use end notes. The bibliography is not included in the word count.
36.You must include an accurate word count on the front page of your submission.
37. Surely you may ask ‘1500 words are not enough to adequately address all the relevant issues?’ It will be almost inevitable that not every relevant point that you could make will fit into 1500 words. So you will need to be selective in what you cover. However it is quite common for real-world law reform submissions to be less than 1500 words. An ability to write concise and yet informative and persuasive documents will bring you more success and influence in the real world than the ability to produce book-length treatises.
38. Follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 4 th edition (2018) (AGLC). It can be found via this
39. Failure to follow the AGLC will lose you marks.
40. A useful summary of the AGCL 4 th edition is found in the Law Short Guide to Citing the Law 4 th ed. It can be found via this link:
41. You must provide a bibliography of all works cited and used in the preparation of your law reform submission.
42.The bibliography is not to be included in the word count.
What should the document look like?
43.The front page of the document you submit must contain the following information only :
1. Subject code and year
2. Subject name
3. Name of assessment task
4. Your name and student number
5. Topic number chosen (either 1, 2, 3 or X)
6. If you chose Topic X the full text of your approved question
7. Word count
Disclaimer in header
44. You must make it clear that the document is part of your assessment in this university subject and not a real law reform submission.
45.To do this you must use the following text in the ‘header’ of each page:
46.Your document must:
i. be in Times New Roman, 12-point font, in black;
ii. have 2.5 cm margins (top and bottom, as well as both sides); and
iii. be 1.5 or double-spaced.
47. You may use headings and even sub-headings Indeed they are desirable They show the structure of the document. Headings are to be included in the word count.
48.You can use bullet points where appropriate But don’t overuse them Bullet points can be useful for:
1. identifying distinct items in a list more clearly;
2. breaking up long sentences in which distinct points are made; and
3. presenting a checklist of things to be covered.
49. Note that use of bullet points does not entail writing in grammatically incomplete or incorrect sentences Always write using complete and grammatically correct English sentences
50.The law reform submission may but need not have numbered paragraphs like this document No marks will be gained or lost by having them or not having them.
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment – Australia.
51.What is the role of research in completing the law reform submission?
52. It is expected that you will undertake relevant research for the law reform submission The law reform submission is different to the take-home examination in that regard. A well-researched submission will all things being equal have more impact than one that contains a series of unsubstantiated or under informed claims.
53.However it is very important to stress that the task is not to produce a ‘research report’ or to tell your audience all about what other people have to say about the issue. Your primary goal is to persuade your audience to adopt or take seriously your position on the particular issue(s) — and to help you do that well doing some research will be necessary. But the research is really just a step toward that goal. Research is a tool or a means to an end not the end itself.
54. Exactly what sorts of things will be appropriate and relevant to research will obviously depend on the particular issues you are addressing and the position you are adopting.
55.Use the resources available to you on the Library’s Law page to get started:
56. A word of warning about internet-based research.There’s gold in them their web pages— and there is also a lot of junk and second-rate stuff You need to search and sort critically to figure out which is what. Too many university students still have difficulty sorting out the gold the junk and the second-rate stuff The fact that you find something on the internet that is vaguely connected to the topic is not sufficient reason to cite it or even use it in preparing your submission. So don’t just do a Google search and go straight to one of the linked pages that come up on the assumption that it must be relevant to your purposes and reliable. Google and the like can be among the useful tools you can use to get started but you really should be using more sophisticated search methods (and ones that require you to think about what you are looking for). Many of the kinds of sources you will need such as articles in refereed academic journals statutes and law reports will not come up on Google searches.
57.Do not cite sources from the internet merely by providing the URL in a footnote. You need to identify what the title of the source is who the author was whose web page it is from when it was written etc. See the AGLC 4 th ed for the prescribed method of citing internet materials. A surprising number of students still seem to think they are ‘citing their source’ just by giving the URL They are not.
Providing just the URL might depending on the particular case help you to avoid a plagiarism charge because you are at least indicating that the idea is not your own) but it is still an inadequate form of citation because it contains insufficient information.
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment – Australia.
What format do law reform submissions have?
58. In short there is no standard or official format for law reform submissions. Your law reform submission can take a variety of formats and structures. But whichever format you adopt aim for clarity. You want your reader to know right from the start what your document is doing and how each part of the document serves that task. Be clear about what specific issue(s) you are addressing what your recommendations are on those issues and what your arguments are for your recommended positions. Your structure should reflect these different sub-tasks of your submission.
59.Real world law reform submissions take a variety of forms partly because they are not a formal legal document compared with say a lawyer’s memorandum of advice) or a standard academic task such as an essay. It is also partly because in our much-to-be- cherished-democracy, anyone is free to make a submission to a law reform body or the government. That does not mean that every submission is equally effective however Many are to be blunt very weak documents indeed if we are to assess them in terms of whether they are taken seriously by their audience. So my advice is to learn from real examples rather than simply follow them.
60.You will find many examples of law reform submissions on the websites of the Victorian Law Reform Commission the Australian Law Reform Commission and the various parliamentary committees such as the Victorian Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Standing Committee among others Go to the web pages for some of the particular past inquiries of these bodies. Many will have uploaded the submissions made in relation to the inquiries. Peruse a range of these submissions. You will see that they vary widely in style and quality. As noted there is no set or standard format for law reform submissions.
61.Most of the submissions available via these web pages are in fact not very good and so I am not directing you to these websites because everything you find there will be good examples to follow. The better examples will usually be from better funded or more reform-oriented organisations. So as a very rough rule of thumb I recommend you pay more attention to submissions from organisations such as Law Council of Australia Liberty Victoria Human Rights Law Resource Centre Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria Police Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Law Institute of Victoria and Victoria Legal Aid among various others.
62. An important factor for you to bear in mind is your word limit. You would not be wise if you slavishly followed a 5000-word example in all its details such as having an executive summary. Again learn from examples rather than follow them.
63.Regarding references your law reform submission is indeed expected to be informed by research which is properly cited. Many real-world submissions are under-informed and or ill-informed and are all the weaker because of that. So do not follow those examples in that particular respect.
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment
64.Academic integrity means being honest in academic work and taking responsibility for learning the conventions of scholarship. Academic misconduct includes cheating plagiarism or any other conduct engaged in by a student with a view to gaining for themselves or another person an unfair or unjustified advantage in an examination or assessment. Any cases of academic misconduct will be reported. See the University’s Academic Integrity Policy and associated documents for more information.
65.The law reform submission will be assessed according to the criteria below. The criteria are presented as what your work needs to be to get an A-grade.
1. English expression: The document is written in correct clear and concise English. Each sentence is grammatically correct and properly punctuated. Every word is correctly spelt. The document articulates clear and distinct ideas in clear and direct prose. It is clear what point is being made in each sentence.
2. Relevance: The document is relevant to the question posed. It answers the question and addresses the issue(s) raised. The document shows insight into the scope and nature of what the question requires.
3. Structure: The document has a clear comprehensible and appropriate structure. The different parts of the document have a clear interrelationship. The document proceeds in a logical way, stage by stage through the various issues.
4. Research: The document shows evidence of its author having researched relevant and appropriate materials. Appropriate research methods were followed.The material located has been intelligently sorted and analysed and appropriately deployed to help the document achieve its purpose.
5.Exposition: The document clearly, accurately and fairly expounds relevant texts and issues. It shows a sound and insightful comprehension of those texts and issues.
LAW5PCL Law Reform Submission Assessment
6.Understanding of issues: The document shows breadth and depth of understanding of the relevant issues. It shows insight as to what the problems are including their contexts and implications.
7.Logical reasoning and critical discussion: The document presents clear and logically cogent arguments for the positions it takes. It presents appropriate critical analyses of the relevant materials and issues that show the genuine strengths and/or weaknesses of the relevant positions.
8.Independent thinking: The document displays independent thought. It does not show signs of being largely derivative of, and dependent on, other works and sources.
9.Communicative effectiveness: The document displays a clear understanding of its audience(s) and the relationship between the author and the audience. It demonstrates a clear grasp of its fundamental purpose in relation to its audience (e.g. persuasion providing information, etc) and uses appropriate means to achieve that purpose.The document is concisely written within the word limit imposed.
10.Acknowledgment of sources: All sources are appropriately and adequately cited. All citations follow the specified citation style (i.e. the AGLC 4 th ed.).
11.Compliance with instructions: The document complies with all instructions (e.g. submitted on time with in the word length with the correct front page etc.).
66. In summary A-grade work satisfies most or all of the assessment criteria at a high to very high level. While almost all work can be improved in some way there is generally no area in which A-grade work suffers notable flaws.
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