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Law students are a special case Library014 (JISC 2005)

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1 Law students are a special case Library014 (JISC 2005)

2 Purpose of case study Target audience: Law students and law academics Key issue: The potential life-long implications of a breach by a law student and the importance of not aggravating the breach by appearing to minimise its importance. Purpose: To help law students take seriously the citing and referencing of other peoples work, and to encourage their development of professional integrity. 2 Academic Integrity Standards Project

3 Case Materials Case scenarios; University policy; selected reading (eg Bretag et al 2011). Case of Richardson (2003) TASCC 9 Case of AJG (2004) QCA 88 Re Liveri (2006) QCA 152 Case of Humzy-Hancock (2007) QSC 34 In the Matter of OG (2007) VSC 520 Academic Integrity Standards Project

4 Our research Interviews of six law academics as part of a larger interview schedule involving 28 senior academic integrity stakeholders: Quote from respondent: I think there needs to be clear guidelines …Law is a special case in terms of the overriding and exacting, and onerous obligation to disclose Sometimes its referred to as excessive disclosure, and I think thats a good term; it is excessive disclosure, and thats important that we get that message out (Law Academic, Interview 6, University A) Academic Integrity Standards Project

5 Case Study: Michelle 18 year-old first year Law Student Reported by her tutor for cheating due to high levels of unreferenced text matching. The law school finds the cheating proved but allows the student to pass the course with a warning about referencing and a slightly reduced mark. Five years later the student graduates with an LLB and applies to the Supreme Court for admission to practice law. In the application form the applicant has to respond to the statement: 'I am and always have been of good fame and character.' Michelle can hardly remember the incident of cheating six years previously and marks the form so as to agree with the statement. 5 Academic Integrity Standards Project

6 Michelle: Academic integrity process for law students Another question asks the applicant to respond to I am not and have never been the subject of disciplinary action in a tertiary education institution. This time Michelle recalls the cheating allegation in her first year of study but decides to ignore it because it was a minor incident and so long ago. She decides 'disciplinary action' must refer to significant cases where students fail the course or are banned from the university. The application is accepted and Michelle is admitted to practice as a lawyer Following a tip-off, the Law Society investigates the woman's academic record, discovers the proven incident of cheating and applies to the Supreme Court to have her struck off. 6 Academic Integrity Standards Project

7 Michelle: Academic integrity process for law students The Supreme Court agrees, ordering that Michelles name be struck off the roll of practitioners. The reason for judgment makes little reference to the cheating incident but relies on Michelles failure to acknowledge it in her application for admission to practice. Academic Integrity Standards Project

8 Considerations… Should law students be treated differently than other students because of the life-long professional implications of a breach early in a students life? Do Law Schools adequately inform students about the additional risk they face compared to other students found to have breached academic integrity? 8 Academic Integrity Standards Project

9 Questions for law lecturers: Do your courses include sufficient material on academic integrity? Does the design of your courses adequately motivate the students to take the academic integrity content seriously? Should you allow the serious implications of a breach by a law student to affect your application of academic integrity policy in investigating a breach, or in determining a penalty if a breach is proved, or in recording the outcome? 9 Academic Integrity Standards Project

10 Questions for Law Students Why do you think the implications of a finding of breach by a law student are potentially more serious than for other students? Do you think that difference is unfair or justifiable, and for what reasons? If you disagree with the system, what would be a fairer system and why? Based on your experiences at law school so far, can you think of a better way to help law students learn good practice in academic integrity? 10 Academic Integrity Standards Project

11 References and resources Bretag, T., Mahmud, S., East, J., Green, M., James, C., McGowan, U., Partridge, L., Walker, R. & Wallace, M. (2011). Academic Integrity Standards: A Preliminary Analysis of the Academic Integrity Policies at Australian Universities, Australian Universities Quality Forum, 29 June-1 July, Melbourne, Australia. Bretag, T., Mahmud, S., Wallace, M., Walker, R., James, C., Green, M., East, J., McGowan, U. & Partridge, L. (2011). Core elements of exemplary academic integrity policy in Australian higher education, International Journal for Educational Integrity, Vol 7(2), pp. 3-12, available online: Corbin L. and J. Carter (2008) Is Plagiarism Indicative of Prospective Legal Practice?, 17(1&2) Legal Education Review, 53 JISC (2005). Library 014, digital image, accessed on 29 August 2012, This image is used with permission under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Creative Commons License. Joy Cumming J. (2007) Where Courts and Academe Converge: Findins of Fact or Academic Judgment Australia and New Zealand Journal of Law and Education, 12, Jowitt A.(2007) The Impact of Plagiarism on Admission to the Bar- Re Liveri 2006 QCA , 2 Journal of South Pacific Law Wyburn, M. (2008) Disclosure of Prior Student Academic Misconduct in Admission to Legal Practice: Lessons for Universities and the Courts, 8,2 QUTLJ _amended.pdf _amended.pdf 11 Academic Integrity Standards Project

12 For further resources from the Academic Integrity Standards Project, please go to: Support for this project/activity has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views in this project do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License 12 Academic Integrity Standards Project


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