Message from the Dean

One of the things I enjoy most about my role at Melbourne Law School is hearing the stories of our alumni. It is inspiring to hear how MLS graduates contribute not only to the legal profession, but across a variety of sectors of our economy.

Professor Pip Nicholson
Professor Pip Nicholson is Dean of Melbourne Law School.

The history of MLS tells us that LLB students increasingly graduated with combined degrees. JD students are by definition graduates in areas other than law before they commence at MLS. I am a firm believer in the value of an interdisciplinarity generally and to navigate the impact of new technology and innovation. Such an approach will be key at our upcoming Digital Citizens Conference in July. It will bring together academia, industry and government, with representatives from areas such as law, computer science, design and engineering, to explore the rights of citizens and the responsibilities of the state in ensuring ethical conduct, equity, transparency and accountability in the changing technological environment. I invite you to join us at this inaugural conference hosted by the MLS Digital Citizens Network.

In this issue, we talk to Professor Jacqueline Peel and others about the role of the courts in tackling climate change. We also ask Victorian Treaty Commissioner Jill Gallagher AO about the first steps in establishing a treaty with Aboriginal Victorians and what treaty discussions are taking place in other parts of Australia. Several of our MLS experts reflect on the findings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Finally, we were fortunate to sit down with MLS alumna the Hon Jill Hennessy, Victoria’s Attorney-General, to discuss her aspirations for the role.

In this edition we also celebrate the achievements of some of our staff who have been recognised with international prizes for their research. Professor Jason Varuhas discusses the impact of his book Damages and Human Rights and Associate Professor Maureen Tehan reflects on the collaborative process used in writing The Impact of Climate Change Mitigation on Indigenous and Forest Communities.

Penultimately, thank you to those of you who completed our survey in the last edition of MLS News. We were delighted to hear that many of you find the content of the magazine relevant and interesting. Thanks also for your feedback and suggestions for future stories.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of the Hon Philip Cummins AM earlier this year. Phil, as he was widely known, was a much-loved member of the MLS community. He studied here and led the Law Students Society in 1961. As an independent lecturer he taught legal ethics to countless students and more recently was back in the building as a PhD candidate. Phil made an enormous contribution to the Victorian justice system, including as judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, inaugural Chair of the Victims of Crime Consultative Committee and most recently as Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission. The Hon Justice Murray Kellam AO pays tribute to Phil in this publication.

With best wishes,

Professor Pip Nicholson
Dean, Melbourne Law School

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 21, June 2019