Building on a tradition of innovation

Inaugural graduates of Flinders Law in 1996 stand on staircase

Flinders University celebrates 30 years of teaching Law.

In 1992 a group of 20 students made history as the very first to study Law at Flinders University. While much has changed in the years since, a strong trailblazing spirit lives on, says Dean of Law Professor Tania Leiman (GradCertEd ’10).

From its inception, Flinders Law was unique: it was focused on the practicalities of legal practice and encouraged students to pursue critical and theoretical perspectives.

Social justice and innovation were high on the agenda and a passionate foundation team, led by foundation Professor and Dean of Law Rebecca Bailey-Harris, brought this vision into focus.

The foundation law team even counted a former Supreme Court Judge – the late Elliott Johnston AO QC – who returned from retirement for the role.


Current Dean of Law Professor Tania Leiman was appointed in 2017, and follows in the footsteps of Andrew Stewart, Tony Moore, Gary Davis, David Bamford and Kim Economides.

So far, Professor Leiman has delivered a new curriculum during a pandemic, spearheaded a program where students build legal applications for industry clients, and encouraged those around her to understand more deeply the law’s role in colonialism and oppression of Australia’s First Nations people.

Professor Leiman is proud of the many Law alumni success stories.

She says, ‘We’re now seeing our first “Silks” – Kerry Clark SC and Judge Anthony Allen QC, who was also one of our first members of the judiciary, along with Magistrate Michelle Sutcliffe. In 2021
Rebecca Sandford was the first Flinders graduate (and youngest woman) to be appointed as President of the Law Society.’


Collaboration among staff members is strong, leading to greater partnerships with industry and increased community engagement.

‘We work closely with industry and the profession – and have many law practitioners as guest speakers or mentors,’ says Professor Leiman. ‘Since 2019, students in our Law in a Digital Age core topic have worked with almost 30 industry clients to create over 50 legal applications.’

‘Our Legal Centre collaborates extensively with community justice centres and this year celebrates 10 years of operation as a legal clinic for the public.’


Preparing students for an uncertain future means continuing to adapt. It’s a challenge that Professor Leiman and the Flinders Law team are well equipped for and ready to meet.

She notes that celebrating this year’s 30-year milestone is a great incentive for acknowledging the grounding values and achievements of Law at Flinders, while developing the next generation of Law graduates.

‘We‘ve taken on what’s been there since Flinders Law began – a deep commitment to social justice, and an innovative approach,’ says Professor Leiman. ‘The way we teach gives students real insight into a future that’s already here.’

2022 Encounter magazine – Read more

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