The Federation Press

A History of Australian Legal Education


A History of Australian Legal Education examines the history and development of legal education in Australia by tracing the establishment of university law schools and other forms of legal education in the States and Territories from the time of European settlement in 1788 to the present day. While early Australian legal education was founded on historic practices adopted in England and Wales over many centuries, the circumstances of the Australian colonies, and later States, have led to a unique historical trajectory.

The book considers the critical role played by legal education in shaping the culture of law and thus determining how well the legal system operates in practice. In addition, it examines a major challenge for legal educators, namely, the tension between 'training' and 'educating', which has given rise to a plethora of inquiries and reports in Australia. In the final analysis, it argues that legal education can satisfactorily meet the twin objectives of training individuals as legal practitioners and providing a liberal education that facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and transferable skills.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Hon Chief Justice Kiefel AC
About the Author

1.  Introduction

2.  Literature Review

3.  Early Development – 1788 to 1930

4.  The Waiting Years – 1930 to 1960

5.  Initial Years of Expansion: Second Wave Law Schools – 1960 to 1980

6.  An Avalanche of Law Schools: Third Wave Law Schools – 1989 to 2015

7.  External Factors Affecting Australian Legal Education

8.  Legal Education Reforms: Concerns, Innovation and Transformation

9.  The Four Pillars of Australian Legal Education (and Other Reports)

10. Conclusion

Appendix – Empirical Study: List of Participants



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