A history of Australian legal education
thesisposted 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.