PERTH’S three existing law schools will face added competition in 2005, with Edith Cowan University and Curtin University planning to expand their legal studies programs.
Edith Cowan has announced plans to open a ‘law school with a difference’ with a strong focus on youth, social and Indigenous issues, alternative dispute resolution, legal ethics and law reform.
Curtin is also hoping to launch an expanded legal studies program in 2005, linking to existing degrees in its business school and division of humanities.
Edith Cowan and Curtin are both building on existing law programs.
They are also keen to differentiate their plans from the law schools at the University of Western Australia, Murdoch University (which started teaching law in 1990) and the University of Notre Dame (which started law in 1997).
Edith Cowan vice-chancellor Millicent Poole said the new Bachelor of Law course would draw on the university’s existing strengths in areas such as police studies, criminology, justice studies, business, finance and psychology.
“At its core, our program will equip graduates with a high-quality foundation in conventional legal studies and practice, satisfying the legal profession’s admission requirements,” Professor Poole said.
“At the same time we will be adopting a modern and progressive approach to legal education strongly aligned to community needs and interests.”
ECU recruited Professor Paul Moyle from UWA earlier this year to head its School of Justice and Business Law.
The school currently offers degree programs in the areas of policing, justice and business law.
Professor Moyle said from 2005 students would be able to undertake either a four-year law degree or a five-year double degree.
The double degree would initially link an LLB with a Bachelor of Arts but would eventually expand into business, justice and forensic science.
Edith Cowan research has found that several hundred potential law students miss out on places in WA each year.
Its first year intake is planned to be about 150.
Curtin Business School presently has a school of business law, which targets students planning careers in areas such as accounting, finance, management and sports administration.
The university is looking to expand into areas including media law, copyright law, visual arts law, human rights and family law.
“We think there are areas of law specialisation that are really required,” said Tom Stannage, Curtin’s executive dean of humanities.
“We are very positive about this as a major step forward.”
Professor Stannage said the new law school would serve students in both Curtin Business School and the division of humanities.
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