LAW09011 2017 Law and Social Work
On successful completion of this module, participants will have an advanced knowledge of Irish law as it applies to the social work profession. This programme will address areas of relevant law where social work clients are involved with the law, including child welfare, access, guardianship, custody, adoption, domestic violence, maintenance, and in cases of divorce and separation, also disability, and mental health are addressed during the module. Participants will become adept in the rights, duties and responsibilities of a social worker working in a professional role of assisting clients to navigate their way through the Irish legal system, and acting as an advocate on their behalf. Participants will learn to practice in a professional, non-discriminatory way, and exercise a professional duty of care while discharging their legal and statutory duties. Social workers also encounter organization-specific laws which determine the services available to clients and regulate standards of confidentiality, obtaining consent, data protection, freedom of information, record keeping, and providing professional evidence in various forums. Therefore, participants will also demonstrate competency in report-writing and delivering oral evidence, and in critically evaluating ethical and legal dilemmas encountered in their caseload.
On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;
Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the profession's legal and statutory responsibilities across a range of relevant areas.
Critically analyse substantive areas of law relevant to social work profession.
Demonstrate expertise in producing accurate Court Reports, including oral testimony and apply Courtroom skills in an adversarial environment.
Apply and understand the requirement of fair procedure and natural justice in assessing case files, and requesting informed consent.
Implement professional standards in confidentiality, record management and communicating accurate information.
Critically appraise the role of the social worker within the legal system, and maintain professional boundaries in the best interest of key social work principles.
Teaching and Learning Strategies
Students will attend 2 hours of lectures and a 1-hour tutorial each week. Various approaches to teaching and learning are incorporated including case studies, small classroom group work and courtroom practice to become practised in giving a professional opinion and oral testimony and communicating factual information. All assessment elements will include 10% in written self‑evaluation to detail participants learning.
Module Assessment Strategies
Module participants will be expected to successfully complete the following:
- Draft a Court Report for oral testimony in a simulated court appearance. Students will be given the opportunity for formative feedback during the process of report writing.
- Examination – 2 hour written examination at the end of the module.
Repeat requirements will be decided at Exam Boards but will be most likely consist of both oral and written submission. As per Marks and Standards, any repeat submission will be capped at 40%.
LO 1. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the profession's legal and statutory responsibilities across a range of relevant social work areas.
Chart and critique the development of the social work profession as it established legal and statutory responsibilities in Ireland. Define the sources of Irish law, and acquire practical knowledge of the Irish Court Service. Identify and examine key shifts in statutory requirements through an analysis significant legislation, and evaluate the legal requirements necessary to review case studies.
LO 2. Critically analyse substantive areas of law relevant to social work profession.
Examine relevant aspects of Irish Child and Family Law; including key domestic legislation, statutory instruments/regulations, and EU / International Law. Child protection issues, including social workers statutory responsibilities, the Child Protection process and investigations, and Special Care orders. Similarly, Children in care and adoptions processes are determined and illustrated. Human rights and disability and the Equality Status Act are reviewed, alongside Long-Stay Care for older persons. Domestic violence legislation, including interim orders. The Mental health legal framework and the role of the social worker, including youth and mental health is addressed.
LO 3. Demonstrate expertise in producing accurate Court Reports, including oral testimony and apply Courtroom skills in an adversarial environment.
Demonstrate practical legal training in preparation for a range of Social Work Practice settings, including demonstrate competency in report-writing and delivering oral evidence, and understanding Rules of Evidence. Clarify the duties of the Social Worker to the Court in Child Care proceeding.
LO 4. Apply and understand the requirement of fair procedure and natural justice in assessing case files, and requesting informed consent.
Participants will learn to practice in a professional, non-discriminatory way, and exercise a professional duty of care while discharging their legal and statutory duties. They will develop practices of maintaining the importance of, and be able to obtain, informed consent.
LO 5. Implement professional standards in confidentiality, record management and communicating accurate information.
To understand professional standards of confidentiality and the limitations of confidentiality. Develop competencies in file management, file recording in statutory practice. Understand the scope of data protection and freedom of information legislation. Understand the requirement for accountability in the social work profession and the role of HIQA, the Social Services Inspectorate and the role of CORU in the practice of Social Workers.
LO 6. Critically appraise the role of the social worker within the legal system, and maintain professional boundaries in the best interest of key social work principles.
Engage in an examination of roles, remits and responsibilities to clarify the social work practice in a legal setting. Understand the obligations to maintain fitness to practice. Be aware of, and critically examine relevant legislation, national guidelines and standards, investigations, findings of inquiries, regulations, and associated reports influencing social work practice.
Coursework & Assessment Breakdown
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Draft and Present Court Report||Practical||Performance Evaluation||30 %||Week 5||3,4,5|
End of Semester / Year Assessment
|Title||Type||Form||Percent||Week||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
|1||Written Exam||Final Exam||Closed Book Exam||70 %||Week 12||1,2,4,6|
Full Time Mode Workload
|Lecture||Lecture Theatre||Weekly Lecture||2||Weekly||2.00|
|Independent Learning||Not Specified||Independent Learning||4.5||Weekly||4.50|
Davies M. (Ed) (2013) The Blackwell Companion to Social Work. 4th Edition. UK: Blackwell
Hamilton, C. (2012) ‘Irish Social Work and Social Care Law`. Gill and Macmillan
Brammer, A. (2002) Social Work Law. London: Pearson Longman
Brayne, H. & Carr, H. (2005) Law for Social Workers (9th edition).Oxford University Press.
Carson, D. (1990) Professionals and the Courts - A Handbook for Expert Witnesses, Birmingham: Venture Press.
Higgins, A. and McDaid, S. (Eds.) (2014) Mental Health in Ireland: Policy, Practice and Law. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan
Ursula Kilkelly, (2008) Children’s Rights in Ireland: Law, Policy and Practice. Dublin: Tottel Publishing
Nestor, J. (2011) An Introduction to Irish Family Law, (4th Edition). Dublin, Gill & Macmillan.
Ward, P. (2014) The Child Care Act 1991, 3rd Edition, Thomson Round Hall 2014.