Monash University Faculty of Law

Coordinates: 37°54′47″S 145°7′55″E / 37.91306°S 145.13194°E / -37.91306; 145.13194
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monash University
Faculty of Law
DeanBryan Horrigan
AffiliationsMonash University

Monash University Faculty of Law, or Monash Law School, is the law school of Monash University. Founded in 1963, it is based in Melbourne, Victoria and has campuses in Malaysia and Italy. It is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in Australia and globally, and entry to its Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme is highly competitive.

The Faculty of Law offers the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), with which students may combine other degrees as part of a double degree, the Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). It currently has approximately 3,914 undergraduate and postgraduate students and over 100 professors, lecturers and teaching associates.[1]

The Faculty of Law's alumni include the former Treasurer of Australia Josh Frydenberg, the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria Anne Ferguson, judges of the Federal Court of Australia, Supreme Court of Victoria and Supreme Court of New South Wales, the leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt, the current Attorney-General of Victoria Jill Hennessy, members of the Australian Parliament, legal scholars, state politicians, prominent businesspersons, artists and media personalities.

The Monash University Law Review is the Faculty of Law's flagship academic journal. It is managed by students and supervised by faculty advisors.[2]



In the 1950s, it had become clear that Melbourne's only law school at the time, Melbourne Law School, would soon be unable to meet the rising demand for legal education. Although Monash University was founded to focus primarily on science and technology, it would inevitably establish a law school.[3] The need was not considered pressing enough to make a law school a foundation faculty of the new university; however, when Melbourne Law School 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 law school at Monash University, 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. A law library was established with impressive speed, after substantial book donations from two former justices of the Supreme Court of Victoria. 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. Following debate between Monash University, the Crown Solicitor and the Parliamentary Draftsmen, the Act was eventually amended.

Early years[edit]

David Derham was the Faculty of Law's first dean, beginning his term on 29 February 1964 after resigning his post as Professor of Jurisprudence at Melbourne Law School the day before. Derham immediately sought to depart radically from the way that law had been taught previously in Australia. His appointment was announced on a Monday, and he was reportedly outlining detailed proposals for first-year subjects by the following Friday.[4] He drastically reworked the curriculum and teaching style which his faculty had taught at Melbourne Law School. Monash University introduced small-group teaching, interactive lectures and a curriculum which emphasised legal skills in addition to a knowledge of the law itself.[5] Classes were taught not only by academics but also by practising members of the legal profession. According to Derham, the reason behind this approach was that the law is "not fixed and static. It moves and grows."[6] This stood in contrast to the conventional style of teaching in other Australian law schools, in which part-time staff members would deliver lectures to a hall of students with little or no student-teacher interaction.[5] 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 enrolment of 149 students, after a lengthy selection and interview process. Seventeen of the 149 students (11.4%) were women. The four subjects in the first-year curriculum were an introductory legal subject named "The Legal System", criminal law (which was designed to introduce students to the casebook method pioneered in the United States), a British history subject focused on constitutional developments, and a subject taught either in the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Economics and Politics. The first lecture, on "The Legal System", was held by Derham on 9 March 1964, with all staff sitting anxiously in the front row.[7] The first professor appointed by the Faculty of Law was Louis Waller AO, who later served as Dean.

According to the Faculty of Law's 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[edit]

When Monash University expanded in the 1990s, the Faculty of Law chose not to extend itself to other campuses. Instead, it chose selectively to use Monash University's global presence 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 Faculty of Law established the Malaysia Program and the Prato Program, allowing its students to complete part of their degrees at the University's campuses in Malaysia and Italy. In 2008, the Faculty of Law 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.[8]

The Faculty of Law has made a name for itself as a dynamic and progressive law school,[5] in a field which has been criticised for being overly traditional and out-of-touch. It hosts faculty-run Community Legal Centres, staffed by undergraduate law students who may undertake clinical work as part of their degrees.[9] As a result, by the early 1990s, the Faculty of Law's undergraduate law program was regarded by some in the legal profession as superior to that of its traditional rival, Melbourne Law School.[10]

Today the Faculty of Law has over 3,914 undergraduate and postgraduate students,[11] and over one hundred academic staff.[12]



Entry to the Bachelor of Laws is highly competitive, with an ATAR score of approximately 98 required for guaranteed entry in 2020.[13] Entry to the Juris Doctor is also competitive, with a minimum undergraduate degree grade point average of 5.0 on a 7-point scale (or equivalent experience or qualifications) or 4.0 on a 7-point scale with a minimum LSAT score of 150 required for guaranteed entry in 2021.[14]


The Faculty of Law is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in Australia and the world. In 2018, it was ranked first in Australia in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.[15] It is also consistently ranked as one of the top 40 law schools in the world,[16][17][18][19][20] and is currently QS World University Rankings at number 40 in 2021.[20]


Academic staff at Monash Law School publish books and journal articles across almost all areas of law.[21] Part of this research is organised around specialist centres, including:

  • The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
  • The Australian Centre for Justice Innovation
  • The Centre for Commercial Law and Regulatory Studies
  • Law, Health and Wellbeing
  • Eleos Justice
  • The Transnational Criminal Law Group
  • The Feminist Legal Studies 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.[21]

Monash Centre for Regulatory Studies[edit]

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.[22] The current Director of the Centre is Graeme Hodge.[23]


The following legal journals are based at Monash Law School:

Law Library[edit]

The Monash University Law School (David Derham Law School Building) Clayton Campus.

The Faculty of Law's 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 was redeveloped, finishing in 2013. This provided an entirely renovated building face and basement foyer, to go along with the recently renovated outdoor area at the entrance of the Faculty of Law.

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.[24] 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[edit]

Monash was among the first law schools in Australia to incorporate Community Legal Services into its teaching programs.[25] Currently, the Faculty of Law 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.[26] The Springvale Monash Legal Service, including the South East Centre Against Sexual Assault, is located in the South-Eastern Melbourne suburb of Springvale.[27] The Springvale service is now the oldest continually running community legal service in Australia.[citation needed] 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 & Investments Commission (ASIC) Tony D'Aloisio.[citation needed]

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 the Faculty of Law. Working at one of these centres for a semester or a summer is part of the Faculty of Law's Professional Practice units, which are credited towards the 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.[28][29] The Centres provide legal advice in areas such as criminal law, employment law, debt and family law.[30] They also produce publications on law reform.[31]

Since the establishment of Community Legal Services in the early 1970s,[25] similar programs have been introduced at other Australian law schools.

Notable alumni[edit]

The Faculty of Law has produced a large number of prominent alumni across different areas of law, politics, business, academia, sport and the arts. The following is a selection of notable alumni:

Federal Court of Australia judges

Victorian Court of Appeal judges

Victorian Supreme Court judges

Judiciary of New South Wales

High Court of Hong Kong

Other judges

Other legal practitioners

Australian politics and government

Non-Australian political figures



Literature, media and the arts


Notable academic staff[edit]

Notable academic staff at the Faculty of Law, past and present, include:


  1. ^ "Academic staff". Faculty of Law.
  2. ^ "Monash University Law Review". Faculty of Law.
  3. ^ Peter Balmford, "Foundation of the Monash Law School", Monash University Law Review, vol. 15, 1989, p. 139
  4. ^ Peter Balmford, "Foundation of the Monash Law School", Monash University Law Review, vol. 15, 1989, p. 165
  5. ^ a b c ALRC - On-line
  6. ^ David P. Derham, An Introduction to Law, Sydney, Law Book Company, 1966
  7. ^ Peter Balmford, "Foundation of the Monash Law School", Monash University Law Review, vol. 15, 1989, p. 174
  8. ^ "Monash law school offers international dual degree (Monash Memo, 19 November 2008)". Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  9. ^ Community Legal Services Archived 2007-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Simon Marginson, Monash: Remaking the University, Allen & Unwin, 2000, p. 237
  11. ^ "Monash at a glance - Monash University". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Academic staff - Faculty of Law". Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  13. ^ name=
  14. ^ "Monash Juris Doctor domestic applications guide". Faculty of Law.
  15. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017 - Law - Shanghai Ranking - 2017".
  16. ^ "Law". 22 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Law". 2 March 2017.
  18. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Law". 17 March 2016.
  19. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 - Law". 22 April 2015.
  20. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014 - Law". 20 February 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Centre for Regulatory Studies Archived 2009-03-28 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Professor Graeme Hodge, Monash Law Archived 2009-03-09 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Annual reports" (PDF). Library.
  25. ^ a b "Community Legal Services". Faculty of Law.
  26. ^ Monash Oakleigh Legal Service
  27. ^ "Springvale Monash Legal Service Inc - Working For Justice".
  28. ^ Monash Oakleigh Legal Service Archived 2007-08-31 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Springvale Monash Legal Service Inc - Working For Justice".
  30. ^ Monash Oakleigh Legal Service Archived 2007-08-31 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Springvale Monash Legal Service Inc - Working For Justice".

External links[edit]

37°54′47″S 145°7′55″E / 37.91306°S 145.13194°E / -37.91306; 145.13194