One Day Symposium: Teaching Legal Analysis and Writing Dec 10th : Melbourne Law School

Melbourne Law School, Melbourne University, is hosting a one day symposium on Teaching Legal Analysis and Writing Skills on Thursday, December 10, 2015, from 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM, at 185 Pelham Street, Carlton, VIC. Faculty from New Zealand, the United States of America, and 8 law schools in Australia are attending.

The symposium will be an opportunity for professional development in a stimulating and interactive series of sessions.  Topics include:

  • Using games to stimulate student learning
  • How to develop online teaching and learning materials
  • Creative methods of demonstrating legal concepts and reasoning in the classroom
  • The variety of legal writing exercises that might be used to teach and assess analysis and communication skills

This is a great opportunity to share promising practices in teaching legal analysis and writing.

If you have any questions about the symposium, please contact Dr Chantal Morton at chantal.morton  @ unimelb.edu.au.

 

 

 

 

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Wellness for Law

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China in the World Centre, ANU, photo: Melissa Castan

Justine Rogers

I attended the National Wellness for Law Forum last week. The 2-day event brought legal academics, practitioners, consultants and students to leafy ANU in Canberra to exchange their research and ideas about law student and lawyer psychological distress, and their solutions.

Linking the talks was a background debate about whether wellness is an individual brain phenomenon or one driven most significantly by neoliberalism and other social and political factors – I hope we can agree that it’s both, and much more than this, and that ‘treatment’ must be multi-layered and won’t always be called ‘treatment’. The Forum shared many approaches to supporting and improving wellbeing – in the classroom, law schools, in firms  – and at the bench!  – including mindfulness and creativity, developing ethical, interpersonal and emotional capacity, and legitimate flexible work.

One of the presenters said that treatment was useless or, more carefully, that no matter what coping strategy one chose, it didn’t materially matter. The focus, they argued, needs to be on prevention at the organisational level. After my initial reaction Continue reading “Wellness for Law”

GAJE conference and the India Supreme Court case re-criminalizing gay sex

The 7th Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE) conference currently occurring in Delhi India was inspiring on many levels.  It raised questions about the role of law schools in preparing lawyers who are responsible to their communities, and are ethical and caring people.   It also challenged participants to takehome learnings about how they could personally change the way they teach to create lawyers who care about justice on all its levels.

It was a shame that at the same time as the Indian Supreme court delivered a very conservative judgment re-criminalising gay sex (on Section 377 of the Indian Penal code), that the conference did not take the opportunity to discuss this.  The mainstream newspapers and media outlets were full of discussion about the decision and various commentators explaining what is likely to happen next and the impact on the Lesbian, gay,  bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.  With such a land mark decision at the same time as the conference, it’s disappointing that a group of justice educators did not discuss the decision in a plenary session.  Perhaps it’s indicative of the still challenging nature of discussing any questions relating to gender identity or sexuality in many countries, including in India.  It’s also partially explained because the conference was at Jindal University, about 2 hours out of Delhi with no access for delegates to radio, television or local papers.  It did have excellent Wifi and I’m sure Indian delegates would have been aware of the decision but didn’t raise it for discussion. The opportunity was lost to discuss these issues in an international conference as no doubt there would have been many perspectives and experiences which would have been shared, with the potential for combined action.  It’s encouraging that so many in the mainstream media in India recognized the decision’s significance and saw it as a breach of human rights.

By Anna Cody

Global Alliance for Justice Education Conference – “women’s courts” and clinical legal education

The 7th Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE) conference is currently taking place in Delhi India.  GAJE includes teachers in law schools and professional practice teachers from around the world.

One of the most interesting workshops I attended at the conference focused on ‘women’s courts’.  These are a form of dispute resolution system where groups of ‘Dalit’ women sit in groups of 12-14 and decide the disputes which community women bring to them.  The non government organization (NGO) which has promoted this development is called, Vikalp and works in Gujarat state as well as in some of the other states in India.  The women who use the courts bring disputes about family break up, domestic violence, work issues and neighbour disputes to the court.

Clinical legal education students from various law schools in India and the USA have supported the NGO do its work through projects such as developing resources for the NGO. The students then have the amazing opportunity to observe the women’s courts in action, sitting under a tree in the open air, in local communities.   The community women are trained in and practice some basic legal principles and processes, including summoning the person, frequently a husband, to the court.  While the system is outside the formal legal system, both parties attend and the final decisions of the women’s courts carry weight in the local community.

What a great way to teach law and how an informal legal system can be adequate for resolving disputes the way women want them resolved.

By Anna Cody

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