Law students gain insight into legal profession

Griffith Law School students enjoyed an up close and personal insight into the working life of a Supreme Court judge when Justice Peter Applegarth visited Nathan and Gold Coast campuses recently.

As part of the Judge-in-Residence program, Justice Applegarth presented guest lectures on crime and torts and was the guest speaker at an industry networking event where he spoke on “The Profession — Teachers and Mentors for Law Students.”He alsogave a staff seminar, participated in a research round table with staff, and attended a film screening in connection with the launch of Integrity-20.

“The most important attribute a law student should possess is integrity,’’ he said.

“Other attributes are knowledge of the law, analytical ability, aptitude and hard work.”

He stressed of all the attributes a law student should possess, integrity was the most important.

“Without integrity you can’t be a lawyer, you can’t perform your ethical duties to your client and to the community and to the system of justice.”

Justice Applegarth, who teaches Media Law at universities, said the subject had changed immensely since he studied law.

“When I was a law student, media law was just about big publishers, Murdoch, Fairfax, the ABC. Now everyone has the potential to defame someone on the internet. The internet can do a lot of good but it can also do a lot of damage to reputation.”

He said this meant law students had to think about how law can adapt to new technology.

“Do we have to change any rules where individuals are global publishers and how should the law adapt to global media? Law students should be conscious like everyone else that when they’re tweeting or posting on the internet they can be liable for what they post.”

Justice Applegarth and Griffith Law School Dean Professor Pene Mathew.
Justice Applegarth and Griffith Law School Dean Professor Pene Mathew.

Griffith Law School Dean Professor Pene Mathew said the Judge-in-Residence program provided a unique opportunity for law students to learn about the law in practice.

“Students have had a great opportunity to learn from this senior and well-respected member of the profession and they have made the most of it, with all classes well attended,” she said.

Justice Applegarth manages the Supervised Case List of the Supreme Court and has been one of the Court’s Commercial list Judges. He is a member of the Griffith University Law School Advisory Board. He was involved in the Supreme Court’s 2016 report about broadcasting and livestreaming court proceedings.