The legal implications of emerging technologies and how those technologies can be used in legal practice to increase access to justice will be embedded in a new suite of legal courses at Flinders University.
Dean of Law Associate Professor Tania Leiman says the new curriculum will be available for study from March 2020.
The new courses were officially launched by distinguished lawyer and former US Ambassador to Australia and Professor Jeff Bleich, the namesake of the Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance at Flinders University.
“One of the core topics is ‘Law in a Digital Age’, which seeks to equip students with the digital skills to assist clients to access justice,” Associate Professor Teiman says.
“It’s a topic of vital importance given the fast changing pace of technology – the transition from telex to fax to emails has happened in some 30 years and the pace of change continues to accelerate, so graduates need to be able to adapt to the next generation of technology, whatever that may be.
“Knowing the law in and of itself is no longer enough; graduates also need to understand and be capable of harnessing the channels through which justice is delivered, and that’s not just the court room – it’s increasingly the cybersphere.
“By offering a new suite of innovative core topics we’re ensuring our graduates stay ahead of technological and societal changes, and the opportunities and challenges of increasing globalisation.”
Another course in ‘Technology Law’ will expose students to the challenges of regulating technologies, from social media to artificial intelligence and everything in between.
“Students will additionally have the opportunity to embrace legal innovation for social good as part of their course options,” Associate Professor Leiman says.
“Legal studies are founded on principles casting back hundreds of years and Australia is very practiced at producing exceptional lawyers, but increasingly we need to augment that fundamental grasp of jurisprudence with skills that enable justice to be effectively delivered in contemporary society,” she says.
“Technological innovation is transforming almost every aspect of the law and legal practice, creating new ways of working in new markets.
These bold new offerings mean that a Flinders Law degree will give students the skills and knowledge required to adapt and thrive in a changing legal landscape.”
The suite of new legal offerings are:
Law in a Digital Age exposes students to legal technology platforms, learning how to best utilise technology in legal practice. Students will develop legal software applications for non-for-profit clients with a view to increasing access to justice.
Law in a Global Age equips students with the skills to respond to jurisdiction beyond the Australian legal system. By undertaking an international study tour, students will learn in international contexts including universities, legal institutions, government departments, and NGOs.
Technology Law focuses on the interface between technology and the law. The awareness of the regulation of new technologies and the practicalities of regulating technology will be considered, potential issues can cover social media and internet censorship, augmented and virtual reality, fintech, robotics, nanotechnology, machine learning and biotechnology.
Legal Innovation and Creative Thinking is designed to help Law students better harness their full creative potential. The course focuses on creativity as a driver of legal innovation, helping students recognise new and existing opportunities in the legal sector.
Innovation for Social Justice Impact explores the value and impact innovation has on social justice. Applying an entrepreneurial mindset, students will develop a social justice innovation that can impact the community.
Indigenous Peoples, Colonialism, and Law
Students will begin by engaging with Indigenous legal and governance structures, the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures articulate law, the legal frameworks within which British colonialism operated, and the legal impacts of colonialism on Indigenous peoples following invasion. Building upon these foundations, students will examine issues in public law and their relationship with the history, cultures, and contemporary lives of Indigenous peoples in Australia.
Law in Action prepares students with hands on practical experience with authentic legal tasks.