Melbourne Law School (MLS) has developed these Professional Behaviour Guidelines for Students (Guidelines) for four interrelated purposes. First, interacting with others in a professional manner provides the foundation for a respectful and inclusive MLS community that is conducive to the best educational outcomes for all students. Secondly, MLS has developed these Guidelines to support students in developing and maintaining professional practices in interacting with others, in preparation for entering (or continuing) professional life post-graduation, irrespective of the profession or industry a student moves into.
Thirdly, maintaining standards of professional behaviour has particular significance for law students. Whilst graduates of MLS pursue careers in a wide range of professions, many MLS graduates establish careers in the legal profession. Lawyers, as officers of the court, are required to meet high standards of behaviour. For example, in order to be admitted to the Australian legal profession, an applicant must be “a fit and proper person” to be a legal practitioner. Most admission rules also require that the applicant is currently “of good fame and character”. Students should be aware that applicants for admission in Australia are required to complete a statutory declaration that covers a wide range of matters, including academic misconduct, and general conduct to the extent that it may reflect on whether they are “a fit and proper person” to be a legal practitioner (see Appendix for further information).
Finally, these Guidelines have been developed to further the University’s obligations to provide an environment for all that is safe and without risks to health, under both work health and safety legislation as well as anti-discrimination legislation.
These Guidelines apply to JD students, students enrolled in a Melbourne Law Masters program, as well as students studying in the MLS Breadth program. They do not replace University policies regarding student behaviour, including the University of Melbourne Student Conduct Policy. Rather, the purpose of these Guidelines is to clarify and supplement existing University policies to reflect the standard of conduct expected of MLS students. Other relevant University documents include the
- Academic Board Regulation which sets out the Board’s powers and processes relating to student general and academic misconduct;
- Student Charter which sets out the key principles in the relationship between students and the University, including what students are responsible for and what they can expect from the University;
- Student Academic Integrity Policy which addresses the University’s stance on academic integrity and sets out processes for addressing potential breaches;
- Alcohol Policy which articulates the University’s commitment to an inclusive community for all, including those who choose not to consume alcohol, and to the responsible service of alcohol at University events; and the
- Student Complaints and Grievances Policy, which articulates the nature of complaints students may bring in relation to their studies and sets out the applicable process for addressing a grievance.
The University’s Safer Communities Program may also be of assistance. In addition, students should also remember that they have full recourse to ordinary legal avenues, including the police and the processes of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Students might be interested to know that standards of behaviour of staff are described in a number of University policies, including the Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy, which sets out the standards, values and expectations for behaviour of staff in the workplace.