The Law School has developed a policy concerning plagiarism, consistent with the University regulations, which is designed to assist students in understanding how such cases will be dealt with. You should read the policy carefully and if you have any questions contact your course coordinator.
Policy concerning Plagiarism
Plagiarism is cheating. It is taking and using another person's thoughts, writings, inventions or other work as your own.
So far as law students are concerned plagiarism is especially serious because it suggests dishonest practice and a failure to respect the basic principles of legal ethics. In the context of the University it is an offence that can amount to misconduct and exclusion from the University. It also has wider implications. Recently the Queensland Supreme Court, responsible for the admission of law graduates to legal practice in that jurisdiction, indicated that it would take a very strict view of plagiarism. In one case the Court deferred the admission of a student for six months on the basis that the student had not disclosed to the court that while at University the student had been found guilty of plagiarism.
The University regulations require that where a lecturer is satisfied that a student has plagiarized; the staff member shall report the matter in writing to the Head of Department. In the case of Law, the Head of Department is also the Head of School. Under the regulations the Head of Department or Head of School may:
- warn the student
- authorize a reduction in marks or
- if the matter is sufficiently serious refer it to the Discipline Committee of the Senate.
A student has a right of appeal from the decision of the Head of Department or Head of School.
The view taken by the Head of the School of Law is that unless the plagiarism is trifling (for example a one-off failure to acknowledge the work of another, or an inadequate acknowledgment of another's work in which case the student will be given an official written warning with the possibility of a deduction of marks) then the student will receive a mark of 0 for that piece of work. Cases of plagiarism which are regarded by the Head of School as substantial (for example a significant failure to acknowledge a source) will be forwarded to the Discipline Committee. The Law School proposes to introduce a data base of those students who have been reported to the Head of School for plagiarism and the penalty that was imposed. Repeat offenders (regardless as to the extent of the plagiarism) will be automatically referred to the Discipline Committee.