FIRST PRINCIPLES: THE MELBOURNE LAW SCHOOL 1857-2007, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne University Publishing, 2007.
Australia's first university law course began at the University of Melbourne in 1857, as the teaching of contemporary law, long neglected in England, spread among universities in common-law countries. Diploma privilege made the course distinctive, compared with many of its counterparts in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom: from the beginning, its qualifications were recognised for the purpose of admission to legal practice, and the privilege was retained, with some variations, throughout the Melbourne Law School's history. Still more unusual, for a common-law jurisdiction, was the early date (1872) when university study became compulsory for all intending lawyers. The law school's role as gatekeeper to the profession made it the focus of an intense struggle over its curriculum in the 1930s and 1940s. The Melbourne Law School's history also shows the effects of trends in Australian higher education: the growth that followed World War 2; the rise and decline of federal government funding; the democratisation of university governance in the 1970s; and the emergence of the enterprise university, with its rising aspirations, corporate management and entrepreneurial spirit.
Table of Contents
1 A School of Law: 1857-88
2 Cinderella: 1889-1927
3 Liberal and Cultured: 1928-45
4 Building the New Jerusalem: 1946-66
5 Village Democracy: 1967-88
6 Performance Against Plan: 1989-2007
New Federation History (appeared in the Melbourne University Law Review, 2001)
The centenary of Australian federation in 2001 produced a new generation of federation histories, with the potential to reshape lawyers' and historians' interpretations of the origins of Australia's constitution. This review essay discusses some of the early products of the centennial boom in federation history, and the understandings of the Constitution that they reflect.