UTS Subject Review: 75421 Civil Litigation

I did Civil Litigation (75421) this Autumn 2010 semester.

Learning Structure: 4/5

1 hour lecture and 2 hour tutorial per week.

Fortunately, the lectures are short! There’s not a lot of content in this subject, because it is mainly practise (drafting) based.

You must go to the tutorials – they are in labs and teach you how to draft Statements of Claim, Defence, Affidavit, Notice of Motion, Costs Disclosure! You definitely need to go, learn and practise because you will need to know how to draft the Statement of Claim for the drafting assignment. The other drafting exercises are not examined. Importantly, you HAVE to go to the tutorial that you are allocated to in your Subject Activities. They are very strict with this, because you need to do negotiation with a partner from your class and there is a limited number of computers in the lab.

Both the lectures and tutorials end before Week 14 – this is because the time is allocated for the negotiation assessment instead.

Staff: 3/5

The 1 lecturer is Valerie De Rome. She is quite passionate in the lectures and brings her own experiences as a litigation lawyer into the lectures. I had her for both my lectures and tutorials, but there are several other tutorial leaders including Peter Alexander etc.

During my semester, there were quite a lot of complaints against the teaching staff after the marks for the Drafting Assignment were released. Apparently, Valerie had told some students information which was contrary to how they were actually marked at the end. As such, a lot of students allegedly lost marks because of this. There also seemed to be a lot of disorganisation on the part of the staff in this subject – for example, negotiation marks not being uploaded onto UTS Online before the final exam, some students getting their marks 4 weeks afterwards (myself included), the staff losing negotiation reflections etc.

Amount of Readings: 5/5

  • Set Textbook: Boniface & Kumar, PRINCIPLES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IN NEW SOUTH WALES, Random Century Limited, 2nd ed, 1999
  • Set Textbook: Dunstone, A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DRAFTING PLEADINGS, Lawboook Co, 1998

This is basically a subject that does not require readings! There are set readings each week, but you don’t really need to read them.

I do NOT recommend bothering to read Boniface & Kumar – you can actually get away with buying the book entirely. The level of information in that book is NOT necessary for the exam (all you need to do is go to lectures). However, I DID have the book with me in the exam, and it did help a lot (despite me not actually reading the book throughout the semester). But other people who didn’t have the book in the exam also said they found they didn’t need it at all.

I recommend reading Dunstone’s guide, because it will help you out with understanding how to set out your causes of action, the elements and alternative causes of action. It’s a very short, practical guide (numbered points!) with examples.

You also do NOT need to read the College of Law Practice Papers. Valerie De Rome stated this in the weeks before the exam.

Assessments: 3/5

  • Drafting Assignment (40%): you have to draft a proof making model and Statement of Claim – WARNING, this was marked very harshly during my semester, because a lot of students did not plead negligence AND contracts. As such, we automatically lost 10 marks already.
  • Negotiation (30%): you have to negotiate against other students in 2 cases. In 1 case, you are the client, and in the other you are the solicitor. You are only marked on your role as the solicitor. You also have to hand in a reflection statement. Again, this was marked somewhat hard, so beware!
  • Exam (30%): 20 multiple choice and 2 out of 3 short answer questions. The exam was very easy compared to other Law exams I’ve done. The short answer questions are all on procedure, like “Advise what the procedure for doing ____ is…”

Basically, the assignments are NOT hard, but the Drafting Assignment and Negotiation are marked hard. You can make up for it in the final Exam though!

Cons of this Subject:

  • Harsh and arguably unfair (there were a lot of complaints) marking for the Drafting Assignment and Negotiation.
  • Negotiation marks were uploaded onto UTS Online in a disorganised way – some students received their marks 4 weeks later than others, some students had to resubmit their reflections, because the faculty had lost them

7 comments for “UTS Subject Review: 75421 Civil Litigation

  1. Mary
    August 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Why was the drafting assignment and negotiation marked so hard? Why did so many students loose so many marks. Im doing these subjects this semster and am freaking out right now. I’m not that smart, what should I do?

    • tutortales
      August 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      It wasn’t necessarily marked harsh – it was just that the marking structure made it so that if you didn’t plead a particular cause of action (in that semester, it was contracts and negligence, but many people didn’t please negligence at all), you automatically lost 10 marks (out of 30). This is because you wouldn’t have put it in the proof making model (4 marks lost) and then not put it in the Statement of Claim either obviously (8 marks lost). I think a lot of us weren’t prepared for this given that some tutors had even told students that we would NOT have to plead negligence, and that they would be marked more on their drafting abilities than whether they plead the “correct” cause of action or not.

      TT

  2. mo
    March 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Dear Tutor Tales,
    Would you have any notes on Civil Litigation? Also, could you do a review and/or provide notes on the PLT subjects Advocacy and Legal Skills and your other law electives?
    Thanks :)

    • tutortales
      March 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I don’t have much notes at all for those 3 subjects, because they are largely practical subjects. I’ll have a look to see if there’s anything useful I can post up for those. :) TT

  3. mo
    April 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Ok, thanks very much :)

  4. Lise
    August 1, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Hi what is Dunstone’s guide? Do you still have it?

    • tutortales
      August 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      It’s a textbook called A Practical Guide to Drafting Pleadings. Sorry I don’t have it anymore. TT

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