World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sydney Law School

Article Id: WHEBN0007252327
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sydney Law School  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: University of Sydney, Sydney Law Review, Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea, Paul Stein (judge), Southerly (journal)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sydney Law School

Sydney Law School
Shield of Sydney Law School
Established 1855
School type Public
Dean Joellen Riley
Location Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Enrollment 3,300
Faculty 172

Sydney Law School (Sydney Law or SLS) is the faculty of law at the University of Sydney. Located in the main Camperdown campus of the University, with some operations at the St. James Campus, it is the first Australian law school, inaugurated in 1855.[1]

In 2013, the QS World University Rankings ranked Sydney Law School second in Australia, and 10th in the world.[2] The School has approximately 1,700 undergraduate students; 1,500 postgraduate coursework students; and 100 postgraduate research students. There are now 24 chairs, including the Challis Chairs of Law, Jurisprudence and International Law. In 2010, the School replaced its graduate-entry LL.B. degree with the Juris Doctor degree; the LL.B. degree is still available but only as part of an undergraduate double degree program.

Sydney Law School has produced a large number of luminaries in law and politics, including current Prime Minister Tony Abbott and four other Prime Ministers, four Federal Opposition Leaders, two Governors-General, nine Federal Attorneys-General and 23 Justices of the High Court, more than any other law school in Australia. The school has also produced 24 Rhodes Scholars.


As the Faculty of Law, the law school was inaugurated in 1855 and established by the Act to Incorporate and Endow the University of Sydney 1850 (NSW) and an 1855 University Senate by-law, becoming the third faculty (after the Faculties of Arts and of Medicine) of the University of Sydney.

The Faculty of Law commenced its work in 1859, primarily as a body of assessment and examination rather than teaching. In 1890, the first chair was appointed to the faculty and a full legal academic programme commenced at the Faculty.

Prior to 2011, Sydney Law School was the sole School under the Faculty of Law, under the College of Arts and Humanities, one of the three constituent Colleges of the University. As part of a re-organisation of faculty organisation, in 2011 the Faculty of Law was renamed Sydney Law School, adopting the better-known name of its sole School.[3]

The Sydney Law School has won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in 1996 and 2007.[4] In 2011, Sydney Law School won the prestigious Philip C. Jessup Cup for a third time, defeating Columbia Law School in the finals.[5]


St. James Campus

Sydney Law School

The Law School building on Phillip Street in the centre of Sydney's legal and business district was the home of the Sydney Law School until early 2009. While the faculty is now located in the New Law School building on the main Camperdown campus of the university, some (mostly night) classes and some other functions continue to be hosted on the St. James campus.

The campus is bounded by Elizabeth, King, and Phillip Streets and is opposite the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The building consists of 13 dedicated levels, three of which are underground. Level four is the ground entrance level and houses the assembly hall, a foyer, and some offices; levels one and two house "Harvard-style" lecture theatres; level three houses a staff car park and other amenities; level five housed University of Sydney Union premises, including the office of the Sydney University Law Society (SULS), until their relocation to the New Law School Building on the Main Campus at Camperdown and Darlington. The Sydney University Law Library and the Faculty of Law's information desk were located on levels seven to ten and twelve, respectively. These facilities have since relocated to level zero to one and level three of the New Law Building, respectively.

The building was constructed in 1969 in the brutalist architectural style. Busts of classical orators and jurists adorn the Phillip Street entrance, while the University of Sydney crest is found on the Elizabeth Street and Phillip Street entrance. The St. James campus is located near St. James railway station and Martin Place railway station and is serviced by a bus stop outside its entrance on Elizabeth Street.

New Law School

New Law Building

The Sydney Law School has changed locations several times in the past but has always remained in the centre of the city because of the tradition of teaching by practitioners, and for easy access to the courts and members of the profession. However, the University of Sydney asserts that with changes in the mode of teaching, the advantages of being integrated into the University's main campus have been deemed by them to outweigh the convenience of a central location. Consequently, a new law school was constructed at the main Camperdown campus, adjacent to Fisher Library and on the site of the former Edgeworth David Building. Completed in February 2009, the faculty administration began occupation in mid-February, prior to classes beginning in early March.

On 30 April 2009, the New Law School Building was officially opened by Governor-General of Australia Quentin Bryce. Also in attendance were Robert French, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia; Murray Gleeson, immediate past Chief Justice of the High Court; Jim Spigelman, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales; and Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the Federal opposition.[6] Numerous seminars and other sessions were held as part of the building's opening day program.[7]

The design and construction of the New Law School Building were each performed by local Australian firms, namely FJMT (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp) Architects and Baulderstone Pty Ltd, respectively.[8] The building is in the style of late-20th-century International Style architecture and is characterised by its blue tint glass exterior walls.[9] There has been recurring problems with minor water leakage onto the ground floor of the library outside the Malcolm Turnbull reading room with buckets collecting drips seen often with some in-floor lighting having to be replaced.


The new law school library is part of the New Law School building on the Camperdown campus and is very popular with Sydney university students, so much so that students from other faculties like to study there. It's popularity is such that during peak session, the library can be so busy that it is impossible to even find a spare seat at a desk or table.

There has also been criticism of the design of the library by some students who complain that the open atrium design of the library mean that the NO-TALKING ZONES on the mezzanine level are situated directly above and overloking the TALKING ZONES separated only by 20 or so feet of air. The library includes a striking reading room flooded with natural light which was privately funded by the Australian Federal Minister for Communications, Malcom Turnbull.



The Sydney Law School offers the LL.B. (combined degree undergraduate-entry) and the J.D. (graduate-entry) as professional degrees in addition to higher-research degrees (HRDs), namely the M.Crim. by Research, LL.M. by Research, Ph.D., and S.J.D.[10] In addition to this, the law school offers postgraduate coursework degrees/diplomas and non-degree/-diploma study in specialist areas of law and government, for both law and non-law graduates.[11]


The following publications are produced by the Sydney Law School Law Publishing Unit:

Student organisations

Two student organisations operate in association with the Sydney Law School. The Sydney University Law Society (SULS), formed in 1902, represents all law students at the University. The Chinese Law Students Society (CLSS), formed in 2004, provides services with a more international outlook.[12]

A number of other student societies at the University of Sydney also cater to law students. These include the Korean Law Students Society at the University of Sydney (KLUS), which caters to Korean ethnic students, formed in 1997, and the St. Thomas More Society, which caters to Catholic students.

Notable alumni

Over its 150 year history, the Sydney Law School has produced a prominent group of alumni. As of 2014, it has produced five Prime Ministers as well as 24 out of 50 Justices of the High Court.[13] There is also a justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa among the ranks of Sydney Law School alumni. The following is a list of prominent alumni:

International Court of Justice

High Court of Australia

In total the University of Sydney has produced 24 out of 50 Justices of the High Court of Australia.

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Alumni of Sydney Law School are represented among the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the highest judge in the state of New South Wales, and other heads of sections of the Supreme Court and include, but are not limited to:

Federal Court of Australia

Supreme Court of Western Australia

Solicitor General of Australia

Other legal professions

Vinerian Scholars


During the Australian constitutional crisis of 1975, the leaders of all branches of the Australian government were Sydney Law School alumni:

From 1998 to 2001, the leaders of all branches of the Australian government were again Sydney Law School alumni:

Rhodes scholars



Arts, media, and entertainment


Notable faculty


  1. 1890–1910: Pitt Cobbett
  2. 1910–1942: John Peden
  3. 1942–1946: James Williams
  4. 1946–1947: Clive Teece (acting)
  5. 1947–1973: Keith Shatwell
  6. 1974–1977: David Benjafield
  7. 1978–1979: Dyson Heydon
  8. 1980–1985: John Mackinolty
  9. 1986–1989: Colin Phegan
  10. 1990–1992: James Crawford
  11. 1992–1993: Alex Ziegert (acting)
  12. 1993–1994: Colin Phegan (acting)
  13. 1994–1997: David Weisbrot
  14. 1998–1999: Ros Atherton (acting)
  15. 1999–2002: Jeremy Webber
  16. 2002–2007: Ron McCallum
  17. 2007–2012: Gillian Triggs
  18. 2012–2013: Greg Tolhurst (acting)
  19. 2013–Present: Joellen Riley

Notable professors


  • In 1999 legal history was made when Justices Virginia Bell, Margaret Beazley and Carolyn Simpson formed the first all-female bench in an Australian court. According to the Women Lawyers Association of NSW, there has never been an all-female bench in England or New Zealand. All three justices are graduates of Sydney Law School.[22]


See also



  1. ^ Sydney Law School was inaugurated in 1855, but its earlier activities focussed on examining, rather than teaching. The first Dean was not appointed until 1890, at which time a full program of legal instruction began: The University of Sydney. History - Sydney Law School. Retrieved 14 May 2013
  2. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2013: Law". Top Universities. QS. 
  3. ^ - University of SydneyImplementation Report
  4. ^ "International Law Students Association: The Future of International Law: Jessup Archives". International Law Students Association. 
  5. ^ Sherington, Greg (28 March 2011). "Sydney Law School 2011 Jessup World Champions". Sydney Law School. 
  6. ^ "Sydney Law School Open Day - 30 April 2009 - Sydney Law School - The University of Sydney". Sydney Law School. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Sydney Law School Building Opening - 10am-3pm, Thursday 30 April - Sydney Law School - The University of Sydney". Sydney Law School. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Faculty of Law, The University of Sydney". Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sydney Architecture Images- New Law School, Sydney University". Sydney Architecture. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Research Programs @ Sydney Law School - Future students - The University of Sydney". Sydney Law School. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Postgraduate Law @ Sydney - Future students - The University of Sydney". Sydney Law School. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Sydney Law School - Student Societies
  13. ^ 17 of the 24 justices studied for law degrees at the University of Sydney; the remainder studied at the University at a time before the Sydney Law School offered a full programme of legal study.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ . Sydney Law School Distinguished alumni in history Distinguished alumni in history. 
  21. ^
  22. ^

Further reading

  • Mackinolty, John; Judy (1991). A Century Down Town: Sydney University Law School's First Hundred Years. Sydney: Sydney University Law School. 

External links

  • Official website

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.