Bond University

Article Title

Recent Statistical Trends in Australian Legal Education


[Extract] Law Schools The central message of the Pearce Report on Australian Law Schools was that legal education in Australia is being run on the cheap, and this is a Bad Thing. The moral for Vice Chancellors, University Councils and Governments, however, is that legal education in Australia can be run on the cheap, and this is an Absolutely Splendid Thing. In 1960, there were six university law schools in Australia — one in each state capital. By the mid-1970s the number had doubled, with second law schools established in Victoria and Queensland, three new law schools in New South Wales, and another established at the Australian National University in Canberra. One of the law schools in each of Queensland and New South Wales was established in an Institute of Technology, foreshadowing the end of the binary divide in higher education. By the mid-1990s, the number of law schools will double again. New law schools have already been established, or are about to be established, at seven more public universities: Murdoch University, Wollongong University, Newcastle University, the University of the Northern Territory, Flinders University, Griffith University and James Cook University. La Trobe University’s well-known legal studies department is also set to begin offering LLB degrees for the first time, in addition to the BA in Legal Studies. Similarly, the legal studies group within the Business and Commerce Faculty of the University of New England, in Armidale, NSW, is currently taking active steps towards the creation of a separate law school. The University also has a branch in Coffs Harbour and is one of the leaders in distance education, so that there are arguments in favour of this move despite the already crowded field. The conversion of the legal studies department into a law school at the University of Canberra is also strongly rumoured. Further, there is also likely to be pressure soon to establish a law school at the University of Western Sydney, which already houses some legal studies departments at its separate campuses and is located in a heavily populated region which is poorly served by professional faculties (and services).