What is Street Law?
Street Law is a subject that involves JD students providing community legal education by diverse high schools and the community. In completing this subject, students experience how community legal education empowers individuals, protects their rights and promotes their responsibilities under law. Street Law incorporates a social inclusion agenda and partners with secondary schools with diverse student populations.
Street Law has been running as a JD elective offering at Melboune Law School (MLS) since 2012. It won a University of Melbourne Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2013. The subject has also been positively profiled in the online human rights journal Right Now, and the University of Melbourne's Voice newspaper.
JD students develop research, analytical and presentation skills that they use to develop and deliver community legal education materials for schools and the wider community. Through the experience of learning pedagogical theory, building substantive legal knowledge of the law and teaching young people what they have learned, JD 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.
The experience is designed to provide an insight into the contributions they can make as lawyers and legal educators in their future careers.
Street Law also seeks to raise awareness of tertiary pathways for students who may not otherwise view higher education as a viable choice. The subject endeavours to remove social barriers between university students and students at our partner schools, who may not traditionally have had strong avenues of access to the legal profession, legal education or tertiary education.
What does Street Law involve?
Melbourne Law School's Street Law program is unique among Street Law subjects throughout the world because of its pedagogical component. This is taught by teaching staff and graduates of the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education (MGSE).
JD students enrolled in Street Law receive instruction in the relevant areas of law from MLS in addition to pedagogic training in lesson planning and delivery by MGSE.
After completing a series of seminars at the law school, JD students attend partner schools to deliver lessons to year 9 students on various 'hot topics' in areas of law that interest them and scenarios that they can identify with. Examples of topics that have been covered in the past include the legal human rights, how to use consumer law effectively and young people’s rights on public transport.
Street Law offers secondary school students the opportunity to learn about substantive law in areas specifically targeted to their interests. For those students who may not have obvious avenues of access to the legal profession, Street Law provides a chance to interact with current tertiary law students.
Our current partner schools include Roxburgh College and Reservoir High School, and other community organisations.
Lawyers who devote their time, in whole or in part, to teaching through clinical methods are called 'clinicians'. The Public Interest Law Initiative was launched in 2012 at Melbourne Law School and has achieved a great deal since then. We now have six clinical subjects and a team of clinicians who are committed to offering a range of innovative, practical subjects.
How do I apply?
Details available on the JD LMS Community.
Handbook details: LAWS50102