Multi-disciplinary practice in a community law environment: new models for clinical legal education


  • Richard Foster Monash University



The Monash-Oakleigh Legal Service (MOLS) is a community legal service auspiced by Monash University, Melbourne Australia, and partly funded by Victoria Legal Aid. MOLS was principally established to provide practical legal education to Monash law students over 30 years ago, but has since evolved to focus also on serving community legal needs. Incorporated within MOLS is the Family Law Assistance Program (FLAP) which, as the name suggests, deals exclusively with family law matters. FLAP students attend the Family Court each week with lawyers who provide assistance to clients in a duty lawyer capacity, as well as operating four clinical sessions each week within MOLS.

Like many community legal services, most MOLS clients experience a form of disadvantage and resultant financial difficulty. Consequently, MOLS deals with a range of legal matters including: criminal law, family law, tenancy and neighbourhood disputes, and a number of credit, debt, and
bankruptcy issues.

In July 2010, the Multi-Disciplinary Clinic (MDC) was established at MOLS to provide a holistic service to clients by involving students from three academic disciplines to deal with client issues. Later, in December 2010 (the commencement of the university’s summer semester), students from one other discipline were included in FLAP and a third discipline was also adopted in the following semester.