Macquarie University
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A history of Australian legal education

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:23 authored by David Barker
This thesis 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 until 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 thesis 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. The thesis also takes account of the influence of state and territory regulatory authorities and legal practice admission boards, together with consultative councils and committees. In addition it examines a major challenge for legal educators, namely, the tension that arises between ‘training’ and ‘educating’, which has given rise to a plethora of inquiries and reports in Australia. In the final analysis, the thesis 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

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Literature review -- Chapter 3. Methodology -- Chapter 4. Early development: 1788 to 1930 -- Chapter 5. The waiting years—1930 to 1960 -- Chapter 6. Initial years of expansion: ‘second-wave’ law schools–1960 to 1980 -- Chapter 7. An avalanche of law cchools: ‘third wave’ law schools—1989 to 2015 -- Chapter 8. External factors affecting Australian legal education -- Chapter 9. Legal education reforms : concerns, innovation and transformation -- Chapter 10. The four pillars of Australian legal education (and other reports) -- Chapter 11. Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 335-358

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie Law School

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Law School

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Brian Opeskin

Additional Supervisor 1

Bruce Kercher


Copyright David Barker 2016. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (xiv, 358 pages)

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