Home News
Deakin Law’s new home

With Deakin Law School about to open its new building, we thought we’d take a look back at how far we’ve come.

In the beginning

Deakin Law School was opened 29 years ago by Chief Justice of the High Court, The Honourable Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM QC. 

Professor Phillip Clarke was the driving force behind the school’s inception, securing accreditation for the Deakin Law program from the Council of Legal Education and he was subsequently appointed Foundation Chair in Law. The school was based at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus and started teaching with just a handful of students enrolled. 

Since then, Deakin Law School has since produced over 7000 Law graduates, many of whom have gone on to make significant contributions in the legal profession, business, government and not-for-profit organisations.

Graduates making their mark

Many Deakin Law School graduates have forged impressive careers and have been appointed to positions at the peak of the legal profession. Some of these include: The Hon. Justice Joshua Wilson (Family Court of Australia), The Hon. Judge Gregory Lyons (County Court), The Hon. Judge Fiona Todd (County Court), The Hon. Magistrate Kristen Rose and Victoria’s first indigenous magistrate, The Hon. Magistrate Rosemary Falla.

More recently, we have seen Victoria’s Attorney General, the Hon. Jaclyn Symes and Victorian Government Solicitor, Matthew Hocking, appointed from the ranks of Deakin Law alumni.

Established and emerging concerns

Deakin Law School is known for a commercial focus, but is strong across the board. This is exemplified in the Deakin Law Clinic which offers students clinical experience in Civil and Commercial, Criminal, Employment, Family and Venture Law.

The scope of the School’s research and practical expertise embraces established fields such as Administrative law (Professor Matthew Groves and Professor Dan Meagher) and it extends to contemporary and challenging issues like:

  • Natural resources and climate change (Professor Sam Hepburn)
  • Death and dying (Assoc. Professor Neera Bhatia)
  • Criminal law and domestic violence (Professor Marilyn McMahon)
  • Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (Professor Felicity Gerry QC)
  • Cyber Law (Professor Jenni Lightowlers and Vicki Huang).

Moving in to a new home

Deakin Law School’s new premises is a building designed around both the learning and the wellbeing needs of students and staff. 

Professor Jenni Lightowlers Dean of the Deakin Law School says “Our new home will help us to create an immersive, highly engaging law school experience that brings our students and staff together in a supportive, law-focused environment. It provides a wonderful platform for our engagement and dialogue with the community and the profession.”

The building genuinely blends self-care into the daily routine. Over two levels, there are student support services, medical, allied health and pathology centres, multifaith chaplains, a fitness centre, zen-inspired wellness garden and, of course, a café. Informal study and relaxation spaces are dotted around the building.

For Law students, a Moot Court is housed on the same floor as the DLS academics. Flexible learning spaces occupy five levels, changeable to accommodate classes of 30 students through to 200. 

Learning spaces are adaptable to future developments in technology so students will be learning with the latest methods for decades to come.

Posted in News