A general reminder to all.
To VLS and SZCC Students
From Professor Andrew Clarke, Dean and Head of VLS
30 May 2012
Dear VLS and SZCC Students,
I want to bring some important matters to your attention.
As users and adopters of technology we have access to an array of exciting potential ways of communicating with each other. These include Twitter, Facebook, email and more.
As law and legal studies students, we are also aware of both the power and the privilege afforded by the law to written documents. For example, written documents are usually a superior form of evidence in a court. For this reason alone, written documents should always be prepared with care and with great attention to the content. This is especially the case with online and electronic modes of writing. That is because such modes of communication are often:
• able to be copied to multiple people,
• able to be sent on and forwarded to unknown third parties,
• distributed to others beyond the original author’s control; and
• difficult, if not impossible, to delete or permanently remove from an IT system.
It is also the case that employers are increasingly looking at the online presence and the ‘electronic history’ of would-be employees.
The need to maintain high standards in your communications.
The message is clear. You need to be able to maintain high standards as a would-be professional in all your communications, including your online modes of writing, comment etc, as these are not forms of communication that you can assume are:
• within your control; or
• in some cases, compliant with the law (for example, defamation and discrimination laws etc).
Adopting a self-checking approach.
Useful self-checking tests for your online communication are as follows:
• Is this a communication I would be happy to see on the front page of a public newspaper?
• Is this a communication I would be happy for a potential employer to ask me about?
• Is this a communication I will be happy to be associated with on a permanent basis?
Please pay attention to, and inform yourself of, the pitfalls (as well of the benefits) of your written and spoken communication.
As I have said to new students at Orientation, you need to maintain very high standards of written communication in an increasingly connected world.
Please let me or the VLS staff know if you have any queries about this aspect of this note. I would be happy to answer them.
Practice Direction 2 of 2012
I also take this opportunity to inform you that the Council of Legal Education’s (COLE) Practice Direction (PD) 2/2012 has replaced PD 4 of 2009.
VLS will in due course be arranging the 2012 information session on these matters.
The PD covers important matters and it is essential that you keep up to date with the expectations and requirements of admission to practice.
Best wishes for 2012
It is an exciting and challenging experience to undertake Higher Education studies and on behalf of all of VLS/SZCC staff, I wish you well. Good luck with your studies in 2012!
Professor Andrew Clarke,
Dean and Head of Victoria Law School
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30-May-2012 09:29 PMO you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh as just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mā'idah: 8)