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Students get a taste of law at UC

AMY STEVENSON

17 May 2019: Channeling their inner-Elle Woods from Legally Blonde with dreams of yelling “Objection!” in a court room, Year 12 Legal Studies students arrived at the University of Canberra (UC) to get a taste of what studying law at UC could be like.

Earlier this week, The Canberra Law School welcomed students from across the ACT to an enrichment day during Law Week at the University of Canberra, which brought together law and justice professionals, academic staff and current UC students to collaborate with Year 12 Legal Studies students on activities focused on the Law Week theme for 2019: ‘Lawyers: Protecting Your Rights’.

Participating in three workshops across Tuesday, the students engaged in a mock trial in UC’s own Moot Court, acting out a scenario in three groups – prosecution, defence and jury – under the guidance of Linda Crebbin AM, UC Adjunct Professor and former President of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

As well as presentations by justice and law professionals, students were able to partake in Q&As about pursuing a law and justice career through a Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Justice Studies with the Canberra Law School.

The students were also given opportunities to discuss study options with academic staff and current UC law students throughout the day.

Law Program Director Dr Sarah Ailwood said the experience will be valuable for students interested in pursuing a career in law and justice.

“The event offers Year 12 students opportunities to collaborate with law and justice professionals, and UC students and academics, to experience where a law and justice career could take them – in the courtroom and beyond,” said Dr Ailwood.

Year 12 Daramalan College student Thomas Wynn was on-hand to play the role of a constable in his group’s Mock Trial session, and said he found the experience interesting, as he decides what career path to take after school.

“It was really interesting. I think we had a bit of a tougher case to try and win. It’s hard to think on your feet, and we were asked a lot of questions around legislation which was a little difficult, but I still enjoyed it,” Thomas said.

“I find law fascinating, but I’m still deciding whether I’ll pursue it or not after school. It’s on the table though. I like the whole legal process and bringing justice. I like the whole value of you’re not guilty until proven innocent.

“The professors at UC are very knowledgeable, and it was a great learning experience to be able to work alongside them during the mock trial,” he added.

Meanwhile Rhett Eldrid, a Legal Studies teacher from Gungahlin College said the opportunity to come to the event at UC is invaluable for students, as they get ready to apply to university in the coming months.

“I really hope the students who plan on coming to UC get a taste test of what law is like here and pursuing that whole area and getting experience one-on-one with presenters and lectures,” Mr Elrid said of the day’s activities.  

“I think it’s valuable for them to get that experience, they don’t really get it in the college or school system, only when they come to university and by that point they’ve already committed.

“Getting a taste test before they come is invaluable for them to understand what they’re getting themselves into and reignite that spark that drove them there to begin with. They’re really getting a lot out of today.”