Street Law

Subject offered Semester 2 in 2023

What is Street Law?

Street Law provides students with the opportunity to design, develop and present community legal education sessions in real community settings, including secondary schools and other justice-involved agencies. Students gain an understanding of how community legal education empowers individuals, protects their rights and promotes their responsibilities under law.

Street Law at MLS forms part of a worldwide movement of law schools delivering relevant and targeted community legal education to empower communities and increase access to justice.

The Street Law program brings the law to life, in a classroom context where Year 9 students can fully engage with the practical implications of the law in their everyday situations. Neil Laws, Deputy Principal, Roxburgh College

What will I learn?

Students build on their research, analytical and presentation skills to develop and deliver community legal education materials for schools and the wider community. Through Street Law students:

  • Develop a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by young people in the Australian legal system
  • Develop knowledge of at least three areas of law relevant to young people
  • Understand and apply theories of teaching and lesson delivery
  • Gain practical experience in communicating complex legal concepts and ideas to non-specialist audiences
  • Develop an understanding of and the ability to choose appropriate methods for identifying and developing written materials to communicate with non-lawyers
  • Develop an understanding of the importance of legal literacy and what community legal resources are relevant to young people.

What will I do in the Clinic?

In seminars at the Law School, Street Law students learn from legal practitioners, Melbourne Law School academics and graduates of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education to develop the skills and knowledge to empower diverse high school communities, or clients of community organisations. Students then go onsite in high schools and organisations to deliver community legal educational materials they have developed.

In previous semesters students have developed and delivered material on consumer law, human rights, rights on public transport, anti-discrimination, disability rights and employment law. The topics that are taught each year are decided with partner organisations.

Our high school partners have included Braybrook Secondary College, Footscray City College, The Grange P-12 College, Hobson’s Bay Secondary College, Mount Alexander College, Reservoir High School and Roxburgh College. We partner with community organisations such as the Neighbourhood Justice Centre and Fitzroy Legal Service.

Where will this take me?

Street Law students develop the ability to translate complex legal concepts to non-legal audiences, a skill essential in any type of legal work. Past students have used Street Law as a launching pad to pro bono work and work in community legal education. Street Law students often develop or deepen an interest in teaching, with some going on to become high school legal studies teachers.

For industry: Interested in hosting MLS students?

If you are a high school or public interest law organisation that would like to partner with Melbourne Law School and host Street Law students, we would love to hear from you. Please contact MLS Clinic Director Kate Fischer-Doherty to discuss further.