Worth: 15% of your final mark for JURD7152 Introducing Law and Justice
Word Limit: 1000 words (there is a small leeway included for this assignment. See below for information about penalties for exceeding the word limit – the penalties differ from the default Law School word limit policy).
Option for group work: you may submit this assignment individually, or as part of a group (maximum 3 students per group).
NOTE: You MUST include the ARE Cover Sheet (available on Moodle) in the main file of your online submission, that includes the names of everyone in your group (if applicable). The release of your final result for JURD7152 may be delayed if you fail to include the ARE Cover Sheet. Please ALSO include your SID(s) in the header or footer of your assignment.
The aims of this assignment are:
- to provide an opportunity to apply the legal research skills that you will have learned in Introducing Law and Justice (Research) to a topic that connects to Introducing Law and Justice and other core courses;
- to develop, and receive feedback on, your research strategy skills; and
- to provide an opportunity to work collaboratively with your peers using a range of synchronous and asynchronous communication platforms.
This assignment requires you to develop and document an annotated research strategy that you would use to address the scenario below. You must follow the detailed instructions below as to the sources you should include and document in your research strategy. You do not need to draft or write the research briefing paper referred to in the scenario.
- The Assignment Task
The Australian Law Reform Commission is proposing to inquire into automated decision-making and administrative law.
You are working for an Australian non-government advocacy organisation with an interest in this area. You are working as an intern in the legal policy/reform section of this organisation. You have been asked to write a research briefing paper on the impacts of automated decision-making in administrative law. This briefing will inform your organisation’s submission to any future inquiries by the ALRC.
In addition to the legal issues, your organisation is particularly interested in:
- The moral or ethical implications of allowing automated decision-making by government decision-makers; and/or
- The accuracy or reliability of automated decision-making.
If you choose, you can narrow the focus of your research briefing by choosing a specific area of administrative law (such as immigration, social security or taxation decisions) provided that your chosen organisation has an interest in that particular area.
Detailed Assignment Requirements
For this assignment, your task is to develop and document an annotated research strategy to locate information and resources that you would need to write the research briefing paper described above.
You do not need to draft the research briefing itself.
Your annotated research strategy should:
- Include a short introductory paragraph that identifies the advocacy organisation you are working for. There is no ‘right’ organisation, but the organisation you select must be one that would plausibly be interested in this topic. In this introduction you should explain why this organisation would be interested in this topic and also indicate which of the additional issues noted above , (i) and/or (ii), your briefing paper is going to address.
- Identify a minimum of eight primary sources that are relevant in preparing the research briefing paper. Your sources should come from at least two jurisdictions (this could be a State and Federal jurisdiction or include an international jurisdiction). For each of these you should indicate the steps that you took to identify and locate these sources, including, if applicable, the databases you accessed, and the search terms used. Your research for primary sources should incorporate a minimum of four open access and/or subscription databases and include a list of the searches you conducted and the terms that you used (eg. the Boolean searches used).
- Provide a short commentary on four of the primary sources explaining how they are relevant for your research briefing paper, and how they will align with/contribute to understanding the issues you will cover in the research briefing paper. These selected sources should come from at least two
- Identify a minimum of eight secondary sources that are relevant to preparing the research briefing paper. At least two should address the ‘sub-issue’ you have selected (ie. ethics and/or accuracy). For each of these sources you should indicate the steps that you took to identify and locate them, including, if applicable, the databases you accessed, and the search terms used. Your research strategy for secondary sources should incorporate a range of relevant databases (e. more than one database) and include a list of the searches conducted and terms used.
- Provide a short commentary on four of the secondary sources that you judge to be the most relevant to preparing the research briefing. This commentary should explain briefly why you selected these sources and how they will align with/contribute to understanding the issues you will cover in the research briefing paper. Your selected sources should come from more than one database/location.
You can use tables or other appropriate list formats to document your strategy, the results of your searches and your commentary on individual sources. The description of searches and your comments/commentary can be in point form.
- Formal Assignment Requirements and Criteria
As you are conducting your research and writing up the strategy, compile a file, either electronically or in hard copy, consisting of the records of searches, lists of databases used, sources and resources located, and copies of the sources/resources that you have provided commentary on. You do not need to hand this file in with your completed annotated research strategy, but you may be asked to submit this file to your lecturer for verification. Students should keep a copy of their assignment, as well as the file of research notes and copies of primary and secondary sources referred to above, until your final mark for Introducing Law and Justice has been released.
Marking Criteria and Legal Writing
For further information about the expectations, standards and criteria used to mark this assignment please review the sample feedback rubric provided on Moodle. Overall we will be looking for evidence that you are applying the skills and content that has been covered in your Legal Research Tutorials, and that the annotated research strategy demonstrates an awareness and application of the principles of good legal research, ie. that your research strategy addresses the scenario task and is effective, efficient and rigorous. This includes consideration of whether your strategy is:
- systematic and methodical – you have used a variety of sensible, thoughtful and adaptive search terms (including Boolean searches) and recorded the details of your searches so that you can be sure what searches you have already performed;
- comprehensive – you have searched across a range of suitable databases for both primary and secondary materials, including taking into account jurisdiction(s), and you have searched for authoritative sources appropriate to an academic/legal policy context; and
- current – you have searched across the most up to date versions of legislation, the most recent cases, and identified the most relevant and/or current secondary sources.
When completing this assignment, and to the extent that they are applicable to this assignment, you should conform to the principles of good legal writing, including:
- writing clearly and precisely with attention to how effectively you communicate your meaning;
- structuring your text carefully, which may include using sub-headings;
- using plain legal language;
- using gender inclusive language;
- citing sources or authority whenever necessary;
- using footnotes where appropriate to refer to sources or authority; and complete, correct and consistent citation of primary and secondary sources.
For information about correct citation, please refer to your 2020 Research Modules on the course Moodle page, and/or the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Assn, 4th ed, 2019).
You must include an exact word count on the cover page of this assignment. The word limit for this assignment is calculated by reference to all text in the main body of the assignment. Any additional appendices and attachments are included in the word count, as are substantive or explanatory text in footnotes. Footnotes that contain only citations or other references are not included in the word count. The Moodle cover sheet is not included in the word count. Penalties for exceeding the word limit will be applied as follows: 75+ words excess – 10% of the grade awarded; 150+ words excess – 20% of the grade awarded; 200+ words excess and above – 30% of the grade awarded.
Plagiarism and group work
This Research Exercise must be your own work, or the work of members of your group. If you are submitting this Applied Research Exercise as a group, any work to be submitted for assessment can only be shared, whether in draft or completed form, with other students in your group. While it is understood that it is often beneficial for students to study together and to discuss their work, students who share, distribute, or show their written work to any other student, other than those in their group, while enrolled in the course for which the work is to be submitted may be deemed to be colluding in their work and guilty of academic misconduct. It will be assumed that all students are familiar with Law School and University Policies relating to academic misconduct and plagiarism. Information about University policies in relation to plagiarism and academic misconduct can be found here:
Late Assignments and Extensions
Requests for extensions should be submitted online via myUNSW. Requests in relation to group assignments can be based on the individual circumstances (or individual ELP adjustments) of one of your group members. Penalties for submitting your assignment late, without an extension, will be applied in line with the Law School Assessment Policy.
 Australian Law Reform Commission, The Future of Law Reform: A Suggested Program of Work 2020-25 (2019)
 You can decide which organisation you are working for, see further below.
 Examples of non-government organisations are ACOSS, the Kingsford Legal Centre, the St James Ethics Centre, or the Welfare Rights Centre. You can use one of these organisations, or select your own.
 Note: this is a departure from the Law School default Word Limit Policy.