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Byron Bay winning destination for budding lawyers


11 December 2008
Leading academics and practising lawyers from all over the world are currently in Byron Bay for Southern Cross University’s 11th annual Byron Bay Summer Law School.

More than 100 law students from universities as far away as Victoria and Western Australia are attending the School, which provides intensive tuition in a variety of niche subject areas such as Entertainment Law, the Holocaust Genocide and the Law and Comparative Law (Law of the European Union).

Retired Supreme Court judge, current President of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal and Adjunct Professor and Chair of the Law Advisory Committee of Southern Cross University, the Hon. Greg James is a guest presenter on a range of units.

Mr James, who was nicknamed the ‘hang ten’ judge by colleagues during his Supreme Court days because of his love of surfing, said the Byron Bay Summer Law School was attractive to students and academics alike.

“The Southern Cross University Summer Law School at Byron Bay presents law students with a unique opportunity to get credits toward their law degree at their own university, to meet and interact with students from all over Australia, setting up professional associations that will last for the rest of their lives - while also giving them the chance to surf and play at Byron Bay,” said Mr James.

“The courses are of international significance, and are literally at the cutting edge. The Summer School has been going for over 10 years now and it increases in prestige every year.

“It is no surprise that the School gets the very best academics seeking refuge from the harsh northern hemisphere winter or coming from the Australian cities eager to enjoy Byron Bay.”

Local criminal lawyer and lecturer for the longest running course at the School, Mr Ralph James, has been a practising solicitor for 27 years and is a member of the Law Society of NSW criminal law committee which helps to direct the development of criminal law.

Ralph James said his unit trained budding lawyers in the skills of persuasion by written and oral argument in court

“The aim of the unit is to equip students with the skills to appear in court as an advocate,” said Ralph James.

“A lot of law studies are theoretical, but the students here have the opportunity to develop practical skills and take part in mock trials.

“Lots of students want to be able to represent people in court as part of their career, and this gives them early exposure to the skills they need.”

The Byron Bay Summer School runs until Friday December 19. The Hon Greg James and Ralph James will be available tomorrow, Friday December 12 for interview and filming on request. Other students and lecturers from the Byron Bay Summer Law School are available next week. Please contact Zuleika Henderson, media officer, Southern Cross University Tweed Gold Coast campus: 07 5506 9385 or 0408 644533.

Photo: The Hon Greg James is at the Byron Bay Summer Law School (high resolution image available on request)