Cleverly addressing law in the digital age

Innovations within Flinders University’s delivery of law subjects to best address the digital age are attracting global attention – and have opened the path to valuable interactions with local organisations.

As part of the Law in a Digital Age subject that was introduced in 2019, students have developed innovative law-related apps – and this includes the iRefer SA app that will be officially launched on Friday 14 May by South Australian Family Law Pathways Network (SAFLPN) at its 2021 Annual Forum.

The iRefer SA App – developed by students Daniel Cheung, Phoebe Yap, Timothy Ball and Zoe Vaughan – is a resource for members of the public and for professionals working within the area of family law. It provides easy access to information about the various services and courses available across South Australia.

It has led to a valuable partnership, with SAFLPN (and in particular its senior coordinator Michelle Ford) working with Flinders’ Law in Action course to provide placements in the Family Law Pathways Clinic.

Law lecturer Mark Ferraretto.

The sum of this work has been crucial in the Flinders Digital Law Lab and law lecturer Mark Ferraretto being featured in the 2021 Global Law Lab Showcase, being hosted by Suffolk University, Boston, as a virtual event on May 12. Flinders is the only Australian university that has been invited to be part of the showcase, with other renowned institutions involved in the showcase including: University of Hong Kong’s LITE (Law, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship) Lab, Singapore Management University’s Centre for Computational Law and, in the US, University of Arizona Law’s Innovation for Justice Centre, Vermont Law School’s Centre for Legal Innovation, Northeastern’s NuLaw Lab, Northwestern’s Law and Technology Initiative and Duke’s Centre on Law & Technology.

Flinders University’s Dean of Law, Associate Professor Tania Leiman, says one of the key features of the Law in a Digital Age subject is that it equips students with the digital skills to help clients access justice. “It’s a topic of vital importance given the fast changing pace of technology,” says Associate Professor Leiman, “and as the pace of change continues to accelerate, so graduates need to be able to adapt to the next generation of technology, whatever that may be. Knowing the law in and of itself is no longer enough; graduates also need to understand and be capable of harnessing the channels through which justice is delivered, and that’s not just the court room – it’s increasingly the cybersphere.”

Other progressive courses being offered at Flinders include Technology Law, focusing on challenges of regulating technologies including social media, artificial intelligence, fintech and internet censorship, and Legal Innovation and Creative Thinking, which has been designed to help law students drive innovation in the sector and recognise new and existing opportunities driving by creative thinking.



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