Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Monash University Faculty of Law

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Type  Public
Campus  Urban
Number of students  3,500
Headquarters  Clayton, Australia
Established  1963
Affiliations  Monash University
Dean  Bryan Horrigan
Founded  1963
Monash University Faculty of Law httpswwwmonashedudataassetsimage001414
Location  Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Similar  Monash University, Melbourne Law School, Monash University Malaysia, University of Melbourne, Monash College

Monash University Faculty of Law, or Monash Law School, is the law school of Monash University in Melbourne, Victoria.


Monash Law offers a wide variety of degrees, including the LLB as well at 9 double degree options in conjunction with the LLB, J.D., LLM, S.J.D., LLD and PhD degrees in law. It currently has approximately 3500 undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students, as well as several hundred academic staff.

In 2014, the Faculty was ranked 16th in the world for Law by QS World University Rankings by Subject. Entry to the Bachelor of Laws is highly competitive, with an ATAR mark of approximately 98 required in 2015.

Currently, a number of senior judicial positions in Victoria - including Chief Justice of Victoria, Chief Judge of the County Court, Chief Magistrate of the Children's Court, and State Coroner - are occupied by Monash Law School graduates. The School's alumni are also prominent in business and government.

The Monash University Law Review, the School's flagship review, is one of the scholarly refereed law journals based at Monash Law School.


In the 1950s it had become clear that Melbourne's one law school would soon be unable to meet demand for legal education. This meant that although Monash was founded to focus primarily on science and technology, the university would inevitably contain a law school. The need was not considered pressing enough to make Law a foundation faculty of the new university; however, when the University of Melbourne imposed quotas on law school candidates due to a lack of resources, a new law school was immediately needed to cater for the extra students. The Victorian Council of Legal Education, the Chief Justice of Victoria and the Victorian Government pushed for the overnight establishment of a Monash law school, but this was resisted by the University's Vice-Chancellor, Sir Louis Matheson, who wanted a high quality, well-planned, original faculty of law. In the end, it was over a relatively short period of time - 5 months from October 1963 to March 1964 - that a first year law school curriculum was established and two teaching staff were appointed. However, when students first arrived in 1964, they did so with the knowledge that the curriculum for their later years was still being written. The University's law library was established with impressive speed, after substantial book donations from two former Supreme Court justices. Appropriately for a law school, the Faculty's establishment was delayed by a dispute over the interpretation of the Monash University Act, concerning when and how the University Council could set up new faculties. Debate between the University, the Crown Solicitor and the Parliamentary Draftsmen eventually resulted in an amendment to the Act.

Early years

David P. Derham was the Law School's first dean, beginning his term on 29 February 1964 after resigning his post as Professor of Jurisprudence at Melbourne University the day before. Immediately Derham sought to depart radically from the way that law had been taught previously in Australia. His appointment was announced on a Monday, and reportedly he was outlining detailed proposals for first year subjects by the following Friday. He drastically reworked the curriculum and teaching style which his faculty had taught at Melbourne University. Monash introduced small-group teaching, interactive lectures, and a curriculum which emphasised legal skills in addition to a knowledge of the law itself. According to Derham the reason for this was that the law is "not fixed and static. It moves and grows." This was in contrast to the conventional style of teaching in Australian law schools, in which part-time staff members would deliver lectures to a hall of students with little or no student-teacher interaction. A similar transformation later took place at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. In later years Derham also managed to establish strong international links with law schools in North America and Europe, which continue today. The first intake of law school students began in March 1964 with an initial enrollment of 149 students, after a lengthy selection and interview process. The first lecture, for the first year subject "The Legal System", was held by Derham on Monday 9 March 1964, with all staff sitting anxiously in the front row.

According to its early staff members, the opportunity to develop a new and original law school excited all those involved in Monash Law School's early years. In addition to its teaching reforms, Monash also became the first law school in Australia to establish its own community legal centres, which were and continue to be run by students under the supervision of staff and other lawyers. In 1971 Monash set another precedent for Australian law schools when Enid Campbell became the first female Dean of any Law School in Australia's history.

Recent history

When Monash University expanded in the 1990s, the Law School chose not to extend itself to other campuses. Instead, it chose to selectively use the University's internationalisation to create new opportunities for international study and research. The result was the establishment and expansion of international collaboration and exchange programs with law schools around the world. Additionally, the Law School established the Prato Program and the Malaysia Program, allowing its students to complete part of their degrees at the University's campuses in Malaysia and Tuscany. In 2008, Monash Law School announced that it would begin offering a dual Master of Laws with the Washington College of Law - the first such program by an Australian law school.

Monash Law has made a name for itself as a dynamic and progressive law school, in a field which has been criticised for being overly traditional and out of touch. The Law School hosts Faculty-run Community Legal Centres, staffed by undergraduate law students as part of their degrees. As a result, by the early 1990s its undergraduate law program was regarded by some in the legal profession as superior to that of its traditional rival, Melbourne University Law School.

Today the Law Faculty has over 3,770 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and over one hundred academic staff.


  • Sir David Plumley Derham (1964–1968)
  • Louis Waller (1969–1970)
  • Enid Mona Campbell (1971)
  • David Ernest Allan (1971–1976)
  • Patrick Gerard Nash (1977–1980)
  • Robert Baxt (1980–1988)
  • Charles Robert Williams (1988–1998)
  • Stephen John Parker (1999–2003)
  • Arie Freiberg (2004-2012)
  • Bryan Horrigan (2013-)
  • Admissions

    Entry to the Bachelor of Laws is highly competitive, with an ATAR mark of approximately 98 required in 2015. The postgraduate Juris Doctor program also involves a competitive selection process.


    Academic staff at Monash Law School publish books and journal articles across almost all areas of law. Part of this research is organised around specialist centres, including:

  • The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
  • The Centre for Regulatory Studies
  • The Australian Society of Legal Philosophy
  • The Australian Centre for Court and Justice System Innovation
  • The Centre for the Advancement of Law and Mental Health
  • The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration
  • The Commercial Law Group
  • The Faculty's research is further supported by eight research 'clusters': commercial and private law; criminal law and justice; family law; innovation and information law; international, European and comparative law; legal philosophy and legal theory; public law, government and regulation; and the legal profession.

    Monash Centre for Regulatory Studies

    The Monash Centre for Regulatory Studies is a teaching and research centre with a multidisciplinary focus, leading studies on the regulation of areas such as business, health sciences and technology. The current Director of the Centre is Graeme Hodge.


    The following legal journals are based at Monash Law School:

  • Monash University Law Review
  • Alternative Law Journal
  • Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy
  • Law Library

    The Law School Library is split over four levels in the David Derham Law School Building. Architecturally, the building reflects the post-World War II popularity of modernism. Academic staff offices surround the library. The main areas of student activity are located on the ground floor basement. The Monash Law Students' Society office (colloquially 'LSS') and the adjoining room provide LSS members and LSS officials' office space and recreation area. The Monash Law building facade is currently under development, and is predicted to be completed by April 2013. This will provide an entirely renovated building face and basement foyer, to go along with the recently renovated outdoor area at the entrance of the Law School.

    The Library houses a major collection of printed and electronic material. In addition to the many online databases and e-books, its physical collection contains over 150, 000 items. Most Commonwealth jurisdiction law reports can be found, including non-official and official reports. These include law reports from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Pacific Island regions, the United States and Europe. A relatively large staff run the library, helping students, organising books, carrying out repair work and supervision of the law library.

    Community Legal Services

    Monash was among the first law schools in Australia to incorporate Community Legal Services into its teaching programs. Currently, the Monash Law Faculty runs two Community Legal Services. The Monash-Oakleigh Legal Service, which includes the Family Law Assistance Program, is located just outside the western border of the University's Clayton Campus. The Springvale Monash Legal Service, including the South East Centre Against Sexual Assault, is located in the South-Eastern Melbourne suburb of Springvale. The Springvale service is now the oldest continually running community legal service in Australia. Among the students who were first to participate in the program in 1973 include the current Chief Justice of Victoria Marilyn Warren and current Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Tony D'Aloisio.

    These centres operate to provide free legal services and education to meet the needs of the community. They are supervised by full-time and part-time qualified legal practitioners, but are essentially run by law students at Monash. Working at one of these centres for a semester or a summer is part of the Law School's Professional Practice units, which count towards the Monash Bachelor of Laws. Student volunteers undertake a range of responsibilities, including interviewing clients, negotiating with other parties, letter drafting, preparing wills and court documents, and appearing in court on their client's behalf. Although most tasks are carried out by the students, they are under the supervision of practising solicitors. The Centres provide legal advice in areas such as criminal law, employment law, debt and family law. They also produce publications on law reform.

    Since Monash's establishment of Community Legal Services in the early 1970s, similar programs have been introduced at other Australian law schools.

    Notable alumni

    Presently, almost all of the senior judicial positions in Victoria are occupied by Monash Law School graduates, including Chief Justice of Victoria, Chief Judge of the County Court, Chief Magistrate, President of VCAT, Chief Magistrate of the Children's Court, Solicitor-General, Director of Public Prosecutions and State Coroner. Notable alumni include:

    Notable academic staff

    Notable Monash Law academic staff include:

  • Robert Baxt — scholar and solicitor in commercial law, former Chairman of the Trade Practices Commission (now the ACCC), former Dean of Monash Law School
  • Enid Campbell, — scholar in constitutional law and administrative law.
  • Stephen Charles — former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria
  • Sir Daryl Dawson — former Justice of the High Court of Australia
  • Mark Davison — intellectual property law expert
  • Nadirsyah Hosen — internationally known as an expert on Indonesian law and Shari'a law.
  • Raymond Finkelstein — former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia
  • Arie Freiberg — former Dean of the Law School and Chairman of the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council
  • Jeffrey Goldsworthy — constitutional law scholar
  • George Hampel, QC — former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria; advocacy instructor
  • Felicity Hampel SC — human rights lawyer, now judge of the County Court of Victoria
  • Peter Heerey — Justice of the Federal Court of Australia
  • Sarah Joseph — scholar in human rights and constitutional law; Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
  • Marcia Neave — Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria
  • Jeremy Rapke QC — Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Louis Waller — scholar of criminal law and medical law
  • Christopher Weeramantry — Former Judge and Vice-President of the International Court of Justice
  • References

    Monash University Faculty of Law Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Melbourne Law School
    Monash University
    Sean Bucknor