Flinders salutes a legal pioneer

ejFlinders University has been saddened by the news of the death on August 25 of Elliott Johnston QC, one of Adelaide’s most distinguished and distinctive legal figures, who played a key role in the development of the Flinders Law School.

Mr Johnston’s working life covered all aspects of the law – in addition to being a leading lawyer, he was also a Supreme Court judge, Royal Commissioner and a legal academic.

Following his retirement from the Supreme Court and the completion of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, he continued his service to the law as a member of the academic staff at Flinders Law School.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said Mr Johnston was part of Flinders Law School’s inaugural teaching team and played a significant role in setting the tone of legal education at Flinders.

“Thoughtful, considerate and concerned for students, Elliott brought his 50 years of legal experience to the classroom. He was particularly concerned to ensure students gained understanding of not just the content of the law, but how it worked it practice,” Professor Barber said.

“This included teaching the professional skills lawyers need but also the impact of laws on the community.”

Mr Johnston was passionate in opposing injustice and sought to develop in students a sense of professional values and ethics. Indigenous legal issues remained close to his heart and in honour of his contribution, the University hosts an annual public lecture on indigenous legal issues – the Elliott Johnston Tribute Lecture.

He remained a strong supporter of Flinders Law School, attending school events and activities.

“His work will continue to resonate in the ethos and the culture of the Law School and in the work of the many Flinders graduates who were taught by him,” Professor Barber said.

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