Bond University
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Abstract

[Extract] This paper considers how changes in higher education are impacting on the discipline of law, causing the critical scholarly space to contract in favour of that which is market-based and applied. The charging of high fees has transformed the delicate relationship between student and teacher into one of ‘customer’ and ‘service provider’. Changes in pedagogy, modes of delivery and assessment have all contributed to a narrowing of the curriculum over the last two decades in a way that supports the market. I will briefly illustrate the way the transformation has occurred and consider its effect on legal education. This study is based on interviews with academics in Australian public university law schools. Interviews were conducted with up to six academics from each school. Participants included both senior and junior, and male and female academics, as well as the dean or head of the school. They were asked to comment on their perception of change within the legal academy since the Dawkins reforms in 1988 with respect to curriculum, pedagogy and research, as well as the student body and their own lives as academics. Participants are referred to generically by position, and law schools by classification, in order to maintain confidentiality. The typology of schools includes four classifications according to age. They are the Sandstones (the original State university law schools); the Redbricks (that emerged post-World War II); the 3rd Generations (that emerged in the period of economic growth 1970s to 1990s); and the News (that generally emerged from the Dawkins reforms in 1988).

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