New leadership and a new course

A message from the Executive Dean (Faculty of Law and Business) Professor Therese Joiner:

The Thomas More Law School (TMLS) is a hive of activity. Under the leadership of the new Dean of Law, Professor Patrick Keyzer, a new Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice has been designed and approved to be launched in 2022. Professor Keyzer is a barrister who specialises in providing pro bono human rights advice to Indigenous Australians, people with disability, and prisoners. He brings a practical focus to his work as an academic leader and therefore is a perfect fit for contemporary law students who are focused on developing their work-ready skills.

Professor Keyzer sees the pursuit of justice for the accused in criminal cases as the most important work done by the legal profession: “Representing a person accused of a crime and ensuring that their liberty is preserved is an awesome responsibility. I want to make sure our graduates are ready to assume this responsibility upon graduation and can stride confidently into any court to do so.”

In this vein, the TMLS goes beyond teaching the fundamentals of the law. Students are encouraged and supported to create local moot clubs and to participate in the successful intramural competition (the Graham Thomas QC Moot), and they are coached as teams to enter national and international competitions.

As an example of the impact of a skills-based law degree, two Melbourne-based law students, Chris Gardner and Eve Van Rhine, have been invited to represent Australia at the 2021 International Negotiation Competition at the University of Montana. Chris and Eve have been invited to take up this representative opportunity due to winning the 2020 Australian Law Students’ Association Negotiation Competition. Their expert coach David Spencer, a senior academic at the TMLS in Melbourne, is proud of their progress. A key aspect to the School’s strength is in employing so many experienced legal academics who give up their own time and pour their energy into the students.

Professor Keyzer is very focused on the challenge this year to make sure the new student cohorts in the Saint Josephine Bakhita Campus in Blacktown and the McAuley at Banyo Campus in Brisbane are well supported as they commence their law degrees.

“We are the only law school teaching across three jurisdictions,” Professor Keyzer observes. He is also quick to acknowledge his colleagues, Dr Kunle Ola and Associate Professor Patrick Quirk, who recently coordinated a Brisbane Campus event during which the first Brisbane law cohort was addressed by the President of the Queensland Law Society, Elizabeth Shearer.

The new degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice is a natural extension for the TMLS. The School has a world-class reputation for research on the topics of international criminal law, policing, post-sentence detention and surveillance. Professor Keyzer has written several books on high-risk offenders and won research funding from the Australian Research Council and Criminology Research Council to conduct research on these topics.

Professor Keyzer firmly believes that ACU’s Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice will provide students with unique opportunities to learn about the criminal justice system from experienced experts. Specialties in cybercrime, forensics, corrections management and violence are also planned.


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