History of the Faculty of Law
The UTS Faculty of Law was formally established at the New South Wales Institute of Technology in January 1975, with first classes held on 17 February 1977. Under the stewardship of founding Law Dean, Professor Geoffrey Bartholomew (1975 - 1986), Professor David Flint AM (1987 - 1996), Professor David Barker AM (1997 - 2004), Professor Jill McKeough (2005 to 2012), and Professor Lesley Hitchens (2013 - present) the Faculty has established itself as one of the leading law schools in NSW and continues to make its mark on the legal profession.
On the 13 September 2007, the Faculty celebrated it's 30th Anniversary with a gala cocktail party.
The UTS: Law degree may be distinguished in a number of aspects from other law degrees. These include a strong professional core, a commitment to the development of professional skills and a willingness to accommodate the needs of mature students, particularly those in employment. To supplement the full-time Bachelor of Laws degree, UTS was the first university in Australia to offer a law degree over six years through part-time study, attracting a large cohort of mature students with life experiences. This allowed students to accommodate a work life/study balance, which continues today and adds to the diverse mix of students at UTS.
The foundation of our postgraduate coursework offerings was laid in August 1985 with the approval of the Master of Laws (by coursework). Since then UTS has pioneered a suite of innovative firsts: the first 'professional' doctorate in Law, the Doctor of Juridical Science; the first Masters degree in Dispute Resolution; and the first wholly online course available in intellectual property law, the Master of Industrial Property. From its beginnings in 1989, with the first group of graduates in 1992, this course enables students to undertake studies anywhere in the world. Furthermore, UTS is the only university in Australia that fulfils the full educational requirements for registration as a patent attorney and trade marks attorney in Australia.
Following from the disaffiliation of The College of Law from UTS at the end of 1995, the Faculty piloted the UTS professional program for 52 students in 1996, and began the full-time program in 1997. Today, UTS is the largest university provider of practical legal training (PLT) in Sydney, and the only Sydney city university to offer PLT as an integral part of the UTS Bachelor of Laws and Master of Law and Legal Practice. First introduced in 1999, the Master of Law and Legal Practice is the first postgraduate level award in Australia leading to practice and is now recognised as a pathway into law for professionals with a first degree in another discipline.
The UTS Community Law Centre was opened in 1996 to provide free legal services to UTS staff and students. The community legal research undertaken by the centre has expanded to include, for example, Anti-Slavery Australia (opens an external site). The Faculty, along with the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law, jointly operates the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) (opens an external site), which provides free access to Australasian legal material via the Internet. AustLII formally commenced in January 1995, the prototype website going live in April. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, AustLII recently launched AsianLII, a major international initiative that allows users to search 93 databases containing legislation, case-law, law reform reports and legal journals from 27 countries. This initiative is supported by APEC and LAWASIA, and involves partner organisations in five Asian countries.
1991 brought about the creation of the new Faculty of Law and Legal Practice, comprising of the School of Law of the 'old' UTS and the new School of Legal Practice at the St Leonards campus. Also included were the academic lawyers from the Department of Business Law in Haymarket and the Department of Legal Studies at the Kuring-gai campus. Since 1997, the Faculty of Law has been in architect-designed accommodation at the Haymarket campus, which incorporates a modern Moot Court, two practice courts, state of the art computer labs and teaching rooms, and wireless technology. The Federation Fountain in the southern courtyard at Haymarket was inaugurated in 2001 and celebrates 100 years of Australian federation as a commonwealth.
The Faculty prides itself on its activeness in the international law arena. The Faculty has developed a variety of training workshops for international visitors, including the Human Rights Indonesia-Australia Specialised Training Project (IASTP) in 2004 and the Intellectual Property Rights IASTP since 1996. Both projects were funded by the Australian Agency for International Development. The Faculty has been involved in short course iniatives with a variety of Chinese government bodies, including the Investigation Bureau of Industrial Injury, the Beijing Officer of Public Prosecutions, and the Beijing Lawyers Association. Courses have been developed in areas as varied as WTO Laws and Corruption Prevention.
On the other side of the world, the Faculty has enjoyed student visitor agreements with US universities Santa Clara since 2002 and Widener since 2003. This program has involved groups of students studying at UTS during the Summer break (Dec-Jan). In 2007, this program will be expanded to a formal study abroad program for American students from Hofstra University and Santa Clara University, providing four subjects at UTS over the duration of one semester, which then goes towards satisfying the academic requirements for admission as a legal practitioner in New South Wales, Australia.