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Plagiarism and academic misconduct by law students: The importance of prevention over detection

Evans, M. (2012) Plagiarism and academic misconduct by law students: The importance of prevention over detection. International Journal of Law and Education, 17 (2). pp. 99-121.


Plagiarism and other types of academic misconduct at Law School can have very serious consequences for students after graduation. As case law illustrates, these include denial of admission as a legal practitioner or being 'struck off' the roll of legal practitioners if plagiarism is discovered after admission, as prescribed by the Legal Practice Acts of the various States throughout Australia. The traditional approach adopted by Law Schools is to 'catch and punish' students who commit academic dishonesty. However, a review of education literature, when read in light of the very serious consequences for students who are found to have 'committed' academic dishonesty (or even have an allegation of academic misconduct made against them), suggests that this approach, whilst necessary in some cases of actual dishonesty, is flawed because it does little to prevent academic misconduct from occurring in the first place. This paper argues that an alternate approach, of prevention of plagiarism before it happens, is preferable. This paper provides some suggestions as to how Law Schools can educate students about academic dishonesty in order to reduce plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: The Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association
Copyright: The Author
Publisher's Website:
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