There are many opportunities to stand up and help to protect the lives of the vulnerable, from marginalised and powerless peoples to threatened ecosystems.

Benedict Coyne

Bachelor of Laws (Honours) graduate

About the School of Law and Justice

We instil in our students a passion for law, human rights and the realisation of social justice.

See our School of Law and Justice Strategic Plan in the SLJ Strategic Plan 2019-2026.

Our mission

We believe in providing an academically rigorous education to produce highly skilled and inclusive legal professionals, who graduate as practice-ready critical thinkers informed by the highest ethical standards of conduct.

Our faculty comprises global thought leaders in their respective fields, whose focus is the generation and transmission of innovative knowledge-based on interdisciplinary breadth, analytical depth and social relevance.

Group of students studying at Gold Coast campus

Academic rigour

Student studying with bookshelf in background

Critical thinking

Group of students in study session

Ethically engaged

Three students at the Gold Coast campus

Practice ready

Group of students sitting auditorium

Our vision

To create a vibrant and intellectually rich centre for internationally recognised research led by global thought leaders.
To instil a love of lifelong learning and critical thinking in our students by providing an exciting and thought-provoking environment.
To embed a deep and abiding respect for, and life-long commitment to, the Rule of Law, human rights and social and environmental justice.

Our values


We uphold robust academic values and, in particular, promote interdisciplinary, theoretically informed and socially relevant research.


We take student learning seriously by encouraging independent thought and ethical standards.


We believe the law is an instrument of social and environmental justice, and a driving force for positive change.


We pledge that our institutional processes will be open, transparent and consensus-driven.


We actively seek collaborations with local, regional, national and international academic and professional communities.

See our full mission in the Southern Cross University Strategic Plan 2019-2026.

The School of Law and Justice supports the Southern Cross University strategic plan and mission statement, The New Southern Cross 2020-2026, as well as the Australian Law School Standards developed by the Council of Australian Law Deans.

“Teaching critical thinking; making you practice-ready: let the School of Law and Justice make a difference for you.”

Professor William P MacNeil

Dean of Law, Head of School, Head of Lismore Campus

Welcome to Southern Cross University’s School of Law and Justice – the law school with a difference that makes a difference.

So, why are we different?

First of all, the School of Law and Justice offers a rich diversity of degrees. For example, enrol in our fully accredited and academically rigorous Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and you’ll study to become a practising lawyer. Other programs, such as our Associate Degree in Law (Paralegal Studies) (ADL), prepare work-ready paralegals. Or consider our non-vocational Bachelor of Legal & Justice Studies (BLJSt), which enables you to study law for its own sake – with the possibility of progressing into the LLB.

Second, we are firmly committed to the flexible delivery of education. For more than a decade, the School of Law and Justice’s many programs have been offered online as well as face-to-face, making it a pioneer in digital learning. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, 80% of the School’s students opted for some form of online study because its flexibility accommodated busy work schedules and family commitments.

Third, innovative instructional intensivity is one of the great strengths of the School of Law of Justice’s teaching, where streamlined, bespoke and niche units like our Summer and Winter Law Schools – often conducted over a 4-5 day period for full credit – dominate our educational showcase. Held in iconic Byron Bay and on our beachside Gold Coast campus, the Summer and Winter Law Schools offer a suite of units, such as International Business Negotiations, Law and Psychoanalysis, and Legal Rhetoric – from internationally acclaimed lecturers.

With such diversity, flexibility and instructional intensivity, it’s no wonder the School of Law and Justice is a law school with a difference. More than that, the School makes a difference by promoting social justice through law.

Whether via the path-breaking environmental legal challenges launched by activist Sue Higginson, the high-profile human rights advocacy of special counsel Benedict Coyne, the stunning parliamentary interventions of politician Tamara Smith or the busy commercial practice of former Indigenous Law Student of the Year Johanna Byrne, our graduates are making a difference every day in law, politics and society.

Teaching critical thinking; making you practice-ready: let the School of Law and Justice make a difference for you.

Again, welcome and jingi wala.



Professor William MacNeil
The Honourable John Dowd Chair in Law
Professor of Jurisprudence
Dean of Law, Head of School, School of Law and Justice
Head of Lismore Campus
Southern Cross University

The School of Law and Justice of Southern Cross University has been certified as meeting the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) Standards for Australian Law Schools as determined in the initial certification process conducted by the Australian Law Schools Standards Committee (ALSSC). Further information can be found at the CALD website.

Climate change

Following the leadership role taken by the University’s Council, the School of Law and Justice recognises and acknowledges the global ecological and climate crisis.

Through our teaching, research and practices, the School wholeheartedly accepts a responsibility to address that crisis by being mindful of, and engaging with, issues of climate mitigation, climate adaptation and climate justice.

The law and lawyers have a key role to play in helping society address the climate crisis. To that end, the School is committed to pursuing fair, equitable and sustainable outcomes that are consistent with the rule of law, the protection of human rights (including the right to protest) and the principles of climate justice.

Contact the School of Law and Justice

Professor William MacNeil BA (Tor), MA (Tor), LLB (Dal), LLM (Lond), JSD (Col)

T: +61 2 6620 3375


Future students

T: 1800 626 481

Current students

T: 1800 005 687