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Inherent requirements


Inherent requirements for law


These inherent requirements apply to the following courses: Diploma of Laws, Associate Degree of Legal Studies, Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Laws Honours, and Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry).

The study of law in the Northern Territory is governed by the requirements of the Legal Profession Uniform Admission Rules 2015. These rules require a minimum of the equivalent three years full time academic study in law. Further, the Rules set out the academic content and knowledge requirements that a student must acquire in order to pass the unit. The basic requirements are set out in the Northern Territory Legal Profession Admission Amendment Rules 2015. The specific learning outcomes for each Law unit are described in the Unit Information document for each Unit.

Prospective and current students who are concerned about their capacities in relation to inherent requirements are strongly encouraged to contact the CDU Access and Inclusion team to discuss possible adjustments or alternative courses.


How to read the inherent requirements

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other course information and related information such as:

There are seven domains (some with sub domains) of inherent requirements for Law courses and units at CDU.

Each domain has five levels: 

  1. Introduction
  2. Description
  3. Justification
  4. Adjustments
  5. Exemplars 

Inherent requirement domains and statements

Ethical behaviour

Acting in ways consistent with the recognised values of society and avoiding activities that do harm.
In the context of inherent requirements, students undertaking a course of study may be governed by practice standards and codes of ethics.

  1. Introduction
    Law is a profession governed by competency standards, rules and codes of ethics (Rules of Professional Conduct and Practice and Guidelines on Applying for Admission as a Legal Practitioner), professional conduct and professional boundaries where lawyers are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates knowledge of, engages in and understands, the requirements of ethical behaviour in practice.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Compliance with the codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they engage. This ensures the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of the individual is not placed at risk.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must not compromise codes of conduct or result in unethical behaviour.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Complying with academic and non-academic misconduct policies
    • Demonstrating appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom and professional settings
    • Demonstrating compliance with professional conduct rules, rules of natural justice, honesty, courtroom, and professional etiquette.
Behavioural stability

The maintenance of conduct that is acceptable and appropriate, according to the recognised norms of society over a given period.

  1. Introduction
    Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in a demanding professional role.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates the behavioural stability required to work constructively in diverse and changing academic and professional environments.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing, challenging and unpredictable environments. Law students will be exposed to emotionally challenging and intellectually demanding situations and human suffering and will be required to have the necessary behavioural and intellectual stability to manage these events objectively and professionally.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in academic and professional settings.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Being perceptive, receptive and professional in responding appropriately to constructive feedback
    • Effectively managing own emotions and behaviour when dealing with individuals and groups in academic and professional settings.

Related to the law. In the context of inherent requirements, this refers to the legal requirements of professional bodies relevant to specific courses of study.

  1. Introduction
    Legal practice is mandated by specific legislation, rules, and codes of conduct to enable the professional delivery of legal services.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with Australian Law, professional rules, codes of conduct and regulations, and scope of practice.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary prerequisites to legal practice activities, courtroom settings, mediations, and other negotiations to manage the risk of harm to self and others, as well as achieving learning outcomes. Compliance with these professional regulations and the Australian Law ensures that students are professional, responsible and accountable for their practice.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must be consistent with legislation, rules, codes of practice and regulatory requirements.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Complying with rules of evidence
    • Complying with relevant child protection and safety legislation
    • Comply with the Legal Profession Act, Conduct and Bar Rules.

Verbal communication: Conveying messages, ideas, or feelings through speech.

  1. Introduction
    Effective and efficient verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe, effective, professional advice and practice.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates:
    • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences
    • The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner
    • The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation
    • The ability to give and receive timely clear verbal reports and feedback
    • The ability to deliver clear presentations to groups
    • The capacity to use a range of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to complete academic assessment requirements. 
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Capacity to comprehend verbal instructions is an essential element of legal practice. 
    Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for effectiveness of legal advice.
    Timely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions is critical to individual client safety and management. Verbal communication is essential to achieving the learning outcomes in law units. They are inherent in aspects of legal practice, such as: court room advocacy, taking instructions from clients, providing advice in conference and mediation meetings, and negotiation of disputes. Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others develops trusting relationships. Adequate communication with team members is necessary for the completion of academic team assignments. Effective communication is necessary for building successful teams and professional relationships. Timely and effective delivery of feedback is critical to academic team tasks. Academic assessment may require verbal presentation of work to peers.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments for impaired verbal communication must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Participating in tutorial and simulation discussions
    • Responding appropriately to advice that is being sought in the professional environment.

Non-verbal communication: Communication other than speech that conveys meaning including gestures and facial expressions, body posture, stance, touch, eye movements, eye contact and distance from the person/s with whom you are communicating. Non-verbal cues can provide significant additional information to the person with whom you are communicating.

  1. Introduction
    Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to the legal profession and needs to be courteous, respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic, honest, and non-judgmental.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates:
    • Capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues
    • Displays consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours
    • Responds with sensitivity to individual differences.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships. Displaying consistent and appropriate demonstrative behaviour being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships. Being sensitive to individual differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Recognising and responding appropriately in classroom situations
    • Recognising and responding appropriately in academic, professional, and placement discussions
    • Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in academic and professional environments.

Written communication: Communication by written symbols including electronic means, print or handwriting.

  1. Introduction
    Effective written communication, in English, is fundamental to legal practice.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates:
    • Capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances including, in some circumstances, the use of Plain English that avoids legalese and jargon
    • The capacity to use a range of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to complete academic assessment requirements.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Receiving and accurately documenting client’s instructions, and the construction of written text-based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards, are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter, procedures, and professional practice. Accurate written communication, including e-mail, letter writing, record-keeping and client instructions and notes, is vital to provide consistent and professional client care.
    Advocacy, mediation, arbitration, and negotiations require the preparation of clear and precise documentation such as pleadings, affidavits, written submissions, and position papers.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy, and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in academic and work integrated learning settings.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Constructing an essay to academic standards
    • Constructing a law student's report in a timely manner that meets professional standards
    • Drafting legal documents to appropriate legal and professional standards.

The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through one's thoughts, experience, and senses.

Knowledge and cognitive skills: Acquired skills that reflect an individual's ability to think. Cognitive skills include verbal and spatial abilities, concentration, memory, perception, reasoning, planning and organisation, flexible thinking, and problem solving.

  1. Introduction
    Consistent and effective knowledge and cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide safe and competent legal assistance and advice.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates:
    • Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information
    • Ability to process information relevant to practice
    • Ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice
    • Ability to understand the principles of the duty owed to the court and to the client.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Delivery of quality legal advice and being able to advocate and negotiate a client's case is based on comprehensive knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied to enable the provision of best practice quality legal assistance.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment requirements
    • Applying knowledge of policy and procedures in legal professional settings.

Numeracy: This relates to the ability to understand and work with numbers.

  1. Introduction
    Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for professional legal advice and effective client management.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student interprets and correctly applies data, measurements, and numerical criteria.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Competent application of numeracy skills is essential in legal practice to ensure the quality of legal advice and assistance to clients, particularly in dealing with Trust and Control monies.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must enable the demonstration of a capacity to appropriately interpret and apply concepts and processes in a timely, accurate and effective manner.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Demonstrating an understanding to complex commercial transactions that involve numeracy skills
    • Calculating entitlements to damages, compensation, interest, or other monetary payments in litigation.
Reflective Skills

Actively listening to someone express their thoughts, feelings or experiences and showing understanding by consciously responding through skills such as paraphrasing, summarising or mirroring.

  1. Introduction
    Competent listening and comprehension skills are essential to provide professional and effective delivery of legal advice to the client.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    The student demonstrates:
    • The ability to accurately acquire information and convey appropriate messages
    • The ability to reflect on their professional performance
    • The ability to accept feedback on their academic and professional practice and respond constructively.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Studying in learning environments involving teamwork requires a well-developed understanding of oneself to appropriately engage with others. Working in work integrated learning settings requires a well-developed understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to a variety of situations that may arise. The ability to acquire information in a variety of circumstances and to accurately convey messages is necessary to demonstrate the capacity to deliver effective legal advice and assistance to clients. The ability to read, decode, interpret, and comprehend multiple sources of information is necessary to demonstrate the capacity to deliver effective legal advice and assistance to clients.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must enable the demonstration of a capacity to effectively engage in self-reflection and an acceptable level of effective relational skills.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Identifying when a learning activity is outside one's scope or expertise or when one's practice may be negatively affected by personal experience and/or reactions
    • Demonstrating the ability to acquire information accurately and effectively
    • Demonstrating the ability to effectively use relational and interpersonal skills to manage relationships in academic and work integrated learning settings.
Sustainable Performance

The ability to undertake a task/s over a pre-determined length of time. This could include physical performance such as standing for a length of time, or cognitive (mental) performance such as concentrating for a particular length of time.

  1. Introduction
    Legal practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level to meet client needs.
  2. Description of inherent requirement
    Student demonstrates:
    • Consistent and sustained level of physical and mental energy to complete an assigned task in a timely manner
    • The ability to perform research activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is appropriately completed
    • The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period.
  3. Justification of inherent requirement
    Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide professional legal services.
  4. Adjustments
    Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period.
  5. Exemplars:
    • Reading and comprehension of vast amounts of text and oral information as the basis of formal decision making
    • Breaking down information into a context that can be understood within a team
    • Managing lengthy complex meetings
    • Planning time and workload effectively including the ability to self-manage competing commitments and take responsibility for own wellbeing.

Glossary - key terms

Access/placement plan

An Access and/or Placement Plan documents the agreed reasonable adjustments that are to be implemented for an individual student.  Access/Placement plans are developed by the Access and Inclusion team.

The plans outline the reasonable adjustments and indicate the responsibilities of both the student and relevant University staff for implementation of the plan. Depending on circumstances relating to the student’s disability, the plans can be altered or amended to reflect changes in the student’s disability or condition.


Is defined by the University in line with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and refers to a carer or assistant, in relation to a person with a disability, who provides assistance or services to the person because of the disability.


Is defined by the University in line with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and includes students with:

  • Any physical, sensory, neurological, intellectual, learning disability, psychological or psychiatric condition, and includes physical disfigurement, the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms and total or partial loss of part of the body or a bodily function
  • A temporary, permanent, current, past or future disability, and chronic health conditions which may or may not commonly be considered disabilities.
Fitness to practice

Means a student’s demonstrated ability to meet the expected standards of conduct, compliance, knowledge, performance, and capacity required by the relevant profession and legislation governing the profession.

Reasonable adjustment

Refers to adjustments that can be made to allow a student with a disability to participate in education on the same basis as students without a disability. An adjustment is reasonable if it successfully balances the interests of all parties affected and does not compromise the academic standards or inherent requirements of a subject or course.

Universal design

Refers to the design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or of specialised design. In education, this means developing course content, teaching materials and delivery methods to be accessible to and usable by students across the broadest diversity ranges.

(Attribution Western Sydney University)

Creative Commons

Inherent Requirements
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