Just over one year ago, a group of determined UniSA law students took it upon themselves to set in motion the development of a new scholarly journal.
As one of the youngest in Australia, the UniSA Law School – established in 2008 – has last month unveiled the University of South Australia Student Law Review, an annual journal showcasing a number of student articles and further insights from academics, PhD students, judges and lawyers.
Travis Shueard (pictured below), a second year law student who helped spearhead the Law Review, says the lead up to the inaugural edition has been a huge but necessary task to ensure the professional and personal expansion of the UniSA Law School and its students.
“The Law School initially didn't have a law review, and one of my goals when I started my degree was to be part of a law review. As we didn't have one, I decided I needed to create one for myself and other students to utilise in our academic and professional development,” he says.
“We don't want this to just be a student project – we want this to become a legitimate source of research and academic excellence.”
Associate Professor Julia Davis, the supervising academic and student mentor who has had an enormous hand in the journal’s development, echoes Travis’s sentiment.
She reiterates the importance of a professional outlet for students as well as its role in establishing UniSA as a law school where students and academics work together to promote reform in the law.
“It is important for the students to feel that they are part of the academic debates on important contemporary legal issues and to know that their contributions are valued by academics and members of the profession,” Assoc Prof Davis says.
“It also helps them to network in the profession and to develop their skills in legal research and writing. We hope that it will inspire some of our contributors to go on to further study and take on the challenge of a Masters or higher research degree.
“Our goal is for the Law Review to become a distinctive part of student and academic life at UniSA and we hope that it will serve as a model for other law schools to celebrate the research achievements of our talented and hardworking law students.”
Travis says the Law Review, which serves as a platform for undergraduate research and stimulating debate, is a truly comprehensive and inclusive effort incorporating work from many different facets of the law profession.
“It is designed to showcase the research excellence of our students to the world and the profession,” Travis says.
“Articles are authored by students. Each student article is paired with shorter academic and practitioner response articles, creating a unique dialogue and connecting them with the profession.
“The Law Review’s objective is egalitarian – students, academics, lawyers and judges all participate together in a project that unites us all – the search for insight and the development of the law.”
Articles in the first edition include:
Reforming Australian Live Animal Export Law: A Comparative Examination by Seamus Brand;
Civil Liability for Negligence: An Analysis of Cyberbullying Policies in South Australian Schools by Peta Spyrou;
Is Society still Shackled with the Chains of 1993 England?: Consent, Sado-masochism and R v Brown by Jordan Moulds;
Professional Sport and Market Restrictions: Is The Player Points System in the Australian National Basketball League an Unfair Restraint? by Jacob Holmes;
Should Adoption be Imposed on Broken Families in the So-called Best Interest of the Child? by Stephen Gay;
Exploring the Legal Tests for Gender Identification in Australian Law and the Repercussions for Same-Sex Marriage by Ashleigh Bagshaw.
The first edition is out now and can be found online.
Ambitious UniSA law student, Travis Shueard (pictured right), was recently one of six finalists in Australia’s most prestigious essay competition, the Governor-General’s Prize.
The Prize is open to undergraduate students, and Travis says he is proud of his essay, and his achievement as one of the only three South Australians to ever place as a finalist.
“The commendation gives me a sense of pride and confidence in my writing and research abilities – things that are critical for lawyers-to-be,” Travis says.
“I also feel very accomplished – I honestly did not expect to place – considering the huge competition from interstate universities.”
Travis’s essay explored the question: Was Athenian democracy more democratic than Australian democracy?
He says it was the sheer challenge of the task, which required a lot of research into Ancient Athens and a full grasp of the reasoning behind its society and beliefs, that sparked his interest.
“The competition is a very significant national one, and I knew that if I threw myself into it, I'd learn a thing or two from it,” he says.
“Fortunately, I managed to place as one of the six finalists. The entire experience has been amazing and very rewarding.”
Next year, Travis will travel to the High Court of Australia in Canberra for a presentation of prizes to the competition finalists.
He also strongly encourages other students to take on the challenge as he says these extracurricular activities are vital, not only for CVs and future prospects, but for the developing reputation of the Law School.