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Simulated Clients – Authenticity, Skills and the Ethics of the Encounter

Message from Faculty of Law

Professor Paul Maharg
Australian National University College of Law

The use of simulated clients (SCs) is a relatively new form of learning and assessment in law. As with many forms of simulation, the learning zone is also the assessment zone, and this contributes to the authenticity of the encounter. An essential element of the authenticity of the client /lawyer meeting is the relational ethics between the two. This is based not just on rules of professional conduct as these apply to the business and legal practice dimensions of the interview, but a more profound ethics of relational understanding. In this sense the encounter is at once a proxy for legal work and a genuine meeting between individuals with more than just overlapping commercial interests. In this session, the speaker will present on work undertaken to date on the SC initiative and the current state of play. He will explore (1) the tensions inherent in the concept of authenticity, and the implications of that for SC training in interviewing, skills assessment and giving feedback and (2) how SCs can be used in the future of legal education and training.

Paul Maharg is Professor of Law at the Australian National University College of Law, and part-time Professor of Law, Nottingham Law School. Prior to this he was Professor of Legal Education at Northumbria Law School, and Professor of Law in the Glasgow Graduate School (GGSL), University of Strathclyde where he was Co- Director of Legal Practice Courses, and Director of the innovative Learning Technologies Development Unit at the GGSL, as well as Director of the two-year, JISC/UKCLE-funded project, SIMPLE (SIMulated Professional Learning Environment). He is the author of Transforming Legal Education: Learning and Teaching the Law in the Early Twenty-first Century (2007, Ashgate Publishing), co-editor of and contributor to Digital Games and Learning (2011, Continuum Publishers), co-editor of and contributor to Affect and Legal Education: Emotion in Learning and Teaching the Law (2011, Ashgate Publishing). He is the co-editor of two book series, Emerging Legal Education and Digital Games and Learning, and has published widely in the fields of legal education and professional learning design ( His specialisms include interdisciplinary educational design, and the use of ICT at all levels of legal education. He was appointed a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, HEA National Teaching Fellow (2011), a Fellow of the RSA (

Date: Friday, 14 February 2014
Time: 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Room 824, 8/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

RSVP: Please register at

For enquiry please contact Mr Wilson Chow (email: