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Deakin Law School turns 30

30 years ago this February, Deakin Law School's program was launched with an address by the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM QC, in which he noted the value offered by a small school dedicated to a single area of the law.

So, Deakin’s Law program began with a focus on commercial law. That focus was supported  by its location in the Dept. of Commercial Law in the Faculty of Commerce. The combined BCom/LLB was the default offering. The program was driven by the passion and dedication of Professor Phillip Clark, later Foundation Chair in Law.

Today, led by Dean, Professor Jenni Lightowlers, Deakin Law School (DLS) stands as a vibrant institution, still strong on its foundation of commercial law but growing into challenging and diverse areas of public and contemporary law, while serving the community through its Law Clinics.

Professor Lightowlers says ‘I’m proud of what Deakin Law School has become, it’s a fabulous law school. I’m proud of the legal education and experiences we provide to our students and equally proud of our scholarship and advocacy, and our law clinics which provide legal support to  the most vulnerable people in our society.’

Deakin Law School’s areas of strength now extend to:

  • Public law across administrative law and constitutional law
  • Criminal law with a focus on matters such as coercive control and domestic abuse; 
  • Health law 
  • International law, particularly in relation to international arbitration, human rights law and matters such as modern slavery
  • Cyber law and use and protection of data,

while the Deakin Law Clinic is well established with locations in Melbourne and more recently, Geelong offering students experience in six practise areas: 

  • family law
  • civil and commercial law
  • criminal law
  • employment law
  • venture law
  • policy advocacy.

Over its thirty years, DLS has graduated students who have reached the top tiers of the legal profession and who have achieved success in many fields outside of law. Its scholars have produced research contributing not only to legal scholarship but to the debates about community issues and concerns and legal protections.

To the students, alumni, staff and members of the legal, business or wider community who have participated in and contributed to the story of Law at Deakin, we say thank you. It is through the combination of your efforts that we are able to celebrate the success story of Deakin Law School. 

Upcoming events in our 30th Anniversary program

Tuesday 3 May – Official opening of the Geelong Law Clinic (invitation only). 

Law Week – DLS is a proud sponsor of Law Week and is presenting two events: 

Tuesday, 17 May – DLS presents a quiz for high school students on image-based abuse. 

Wednesday, 18 May – we will partner with Neighbourhood Houses, providing a topical presentation and free legal information at two locations. These include Cloverdale Community Centre (from 12:00pm – 2:00pm) and Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre in Flemington (from 11:00am – 1:00pm).

Wednesday, 1 June – Two Judges on the DLS Advisory Board, the Hon Justice Ross Robson and the Hon Justice Joshua Wilson. will present on "Judicial Conduct in the New Milennium". This represents a fantastic opportunity for students, alumni and our industry community to hear about this important topic from those at the top of the profession.

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