Sydney Law School hosts leading Chinese law deans

25 June 2012

Professor Gillian Triggs: "Australian lawyers have long thought regionally and globally."
Professor Gillian Triggs: "Australian lawyers have long thought regionally and globally."

An upcoming visit of deans from leading Chinese law schools will strengthen Australia' position at the vanguard of international legal alliances with China, says Sydney Law School Dean Professor Gillian Triggs.

Professor Triggs says Australian firms' efforts to reach out to China before it was 'fashionable' are now paying off. Their longstanding relationships with China, often spanning more than 20 years, position Australian firms as strong Asian operators in a legal environment increasingly dominated by large global alliances.

"Australian lawyers have long thought regionally and globally in a way those in the US and Europe haven't," she says. "This is often just a practical decision; we can't survive on just Australian law alone because of our size so we are more willing to travel and live in other jurisdictions."

At the invitation of the Council of Australian Law Deans, the visit by 21 law deans to Sydney from 30 June to 1 July, hosted by the Sydney Law School, offers further opportunity for Australian and China to compare their respective laws.

"Comparative study is becoming vitally important because so many of our graduates will be working with China," says Professor Triggs. "For example, if someone you represent is arrested for corruption, you want to know how the processes in that jurisdiction work. Equally, our graduates need to better grasp China's insider trading laws."

The visiting delegation will be the first of its type in Australia and Professor Triggs sees Sydney Law School taking a leading role in this area. "We are seen as the global law school in Australia. We are based in Sydney, have the country's largest postgraduate program with a substantial international cohort and can reach out internationally in ways others can't."

Discussions with the Chinese law deans will include a discussion on joint legal research between China and Australia in areas of mutual interest such as energy and resources law, corporate law and financial regulation.

The visit also overlaps with Sydney Law School's hosting of the annual Australasian Law Teachers' Association conference. Delegates will be invited to attend the opening day of the conference on 1 July.

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