Law school introduces the country’s largest practical training centre

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Bond University has announced it will establish a new Centre for Professional Legal Education, the largest of its kind in Australia.

The plans to open the new centre at the beginning of next year’s academic year were revealed on Monday night as part of the university’s Research Week.

"Since around the time Bond was established, there has been a shift towards teaching students to become lawyers by ensuring they learn practical legal skills and not just legal doctrine,” said executive dean of law, Professor Nick James.

“The establishment of this Centre will ensure we stay at the forefront of professional legal education in Australia, by focusing on ways to ensure the teaching of law is professionally-focussed, skills-based, authentic, global and consistent with the principles of student learning.

The brainchild of James, the dual function centre will be used for conducting research as well as the delivery of legal training programs.  He expects the centre to expand quickly with the ultimate aim of setting up an international network of legal education centres.

“We need to ensure that law schools continue to focus on other important aspects of their role in society, including equitable access to legal services, law reform and social justice,” James said.

“The work undertaken by the Centre will include helping law schools to find the right balance between serving the profession, serving the law and serving the community.”

The Bond University Law School employs more than 50 academics and has a student base of more than 850.

“There is a pressing need for scholarly and critical reflection around who and what law schools teach, the ways in which law school teach and assess students and the wider role and responsibilities of law schools,” James said.

“This new centre will bring together academics, practitioners and administrators and facilitate an ongoing disciplinary conversation about the nature and purpose of professional legal education.”