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Mock bail application delivers real-world skills

DLS students deliver ‘outstanding’ arguments to the President of the Court of Appeal.

Deakin Law School (DLS) students have had the opportunity to gain hands-on legal experience in a mock bail application presented to the President of the Court of Appeal in Victoria, the Honourable Justice Chris Maxwell AC.

Samantha Owen presents arguments at the mock bail application.

The mock application was held at the Melbourne CBD-based Deakin Law Clinic where President Maxwell considered high-quality arguments from DLS Criminal Law Clinic students Samantha Owen, Mitchell Wilson, Ashleigh Wallace and Jason Marshall in a performance that he later described as ‘outstanding’.

The Honourable Justice Chris Maxwell AC, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal, with his Associate, Kate Rietdyk.

In an all-day event initiated and organised by DLS senior lecturer Dr Nicole Siller, President Maxwell also toured the law clinic precinct with DLS clinical solicitors Rebecca Tisdale and Syd Balachandran before participating in an informal Q&A session with students from the criminal law and employment law clinics.

The Hon Chris Maxwell, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal with DLS students

The DLS students with President Maxwell. L-R: Jason Miller, Samantha Owen, Kate Rietdyk, President Maxwell, Ashleigh Wallace and Mitchell Wilson.

At a well-attended afternoon panel event – Jury Directions – DLS Professor Marilyn McMahon chaired a panel comprising of President Maxwell, DLS Professor of Practice Felicity Gerry QC and DLS alumna and barrister Sally Flynn QC.

President Maxwell discussed the importance of the Jury Directions Act 2015 (Vic), and how this was judge-led legal reform, while Felicity Gerry QC spoke about her role as a defence barrister and Sally Flynn QC presented a prosecutorial perspective.

Felicity Gerry QC speaking on her role as defence barrister.

Felicity Gerry QC speaking on her role as defence barrister.

Dr Siller says the panel provided practical insight for the many DLS students who attended.  

‘For example, in the unit MLL114 students get their first exposure to substantive criminal law; in that unit they are assigned many cases to read. Usually, the case covers a discussion of a court’s direction to the jury and whether it was adequate pursuant to the law. Determining which Jury Directions should be used at a criminal trial requires a thoughtful discussion by both counsel and the court.’

She adds that importantly, the engagement of legal practitioners with students delivers enhanced learning.

‘Events like these expose DLS students to the practice of law, providing them with valuable experience before entering the legal workforce.’

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