Law at James Cook University produces multi-skilled, versatile and ethical graduates. Our aim is that graduates will have developed the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary to take their place in their chosen career path. Our degrees prepare people for the practice of law and also for work within, and service to, a broad range of sectors, including Government, corporate, social change, law enforcement and community wellbeing. We seek to do that by imparting a strong appreciation both of the rule of law and role of law in its social, economic, environmental and political contexts.
JCU Law graduates benefit from a practical approach and are valued by the profession throughout northern Queensland. JCU also offers a Graduate Bachelor of Laws program for existing degree holders who wish to gain a legal qualification.
Our students are enabled to understand the significance of the law for ensuring stable government, economic prosperity and the protection and preservation of individual and cultural rights and the protection of the environment. Further, we aim to empower our students by instilling core skills for life. These include a capacity for lifelong learning, an ability to critically evaluate, a strong ethical commitment, strong analytical and problem-solving skills, good written and oral communication skills, strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team.
Professor Elizabeth Spencer - Head, Law
Professor Chris Cunneen - Tropical Leader (Justice & Social Inclusion) Cairns Institute
The Law Program
JCU offers a full undergraduate coursework degree and postgraduate research degrees in both Townsville and Cairns. Our program provides students with a solid foundation in traditional law subjects, along with an exciting and broad-ranging elective program. JCU is proud of its community links and is strongly supported by the local profession, with a variety of sponsorships from leading local firms. JCU law graduates benefit from a practical approach and an understanding of modern society - they are highly prized by the legal profession.
The Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree is a four-year program. The Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry), for existing degree holders, is a three-year program. A range of joint degree options is also available.
Combined degrees can provide students with a broader understanding of legal principles and the place of law in society. The combined degrees are strongly supported by the profession. They can also open up employment opportunities in specialist areas. The undergraduate law and joint-LLB degrees are all accredited for admission purposes in Queensland and Law at JCU has been approved by the Queensland Law Society as an assessing authority for the purpose of assessing the overseas qualifications of applicants seeking admission to practice in Queensland. JCU also offers a range of specialist commercial and environmental law subjects for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Environmental Engineering and Bachelor of Science degrees (subjects that are also taken as electives by students enrolled in a range of other degrees offered by the university).
Our Mission, Vision, Values and Priorities
Law at JCU’s commitment to serve regional, national, international and particularly Asia-Pacific communities in the Tropics is central to our purpose. We are focused on student-centred teaching in both university and work integrated learning environments, fostering culturally competent professionals with diverse skills, notably in managing and resolving conflict, and research contributing significantly to the intellectual, cultural and social challenges of our region.
Law at JCU will achieve a recognised position of leadership in legal education, research and scholarship. We will embrace innovative, flexible and diverse methods in both the content and delivery of our courses, be both proactive and responsive to the needs of our students and forge new ways in which our students can achieve their goals.
Whilst continuing to produce law graduates with an appreciation of the rule of law, the highest ethical standards and with a commitment to community service, we will broaden our student base through links to the business and community sectors by enhancing development of professionals from a range of vocations. We will internationalise our comparative perspective and establish a focus on tropical communities and cultures, with an emphasis on the tropical Asia-Pacific region.
We are student focused and seek to achieve excellence in teaching, research and scholarship.
- We commit to developing and operating with high levels of collegiality and a supportive culture
- We support and contribute to strong and effective leadership
- We value and operate with transparency and consultation in decision making
- We embrace high ethical standards and conduct ourselves with integrity and accountability
- We are dedicated to serving the community
- We are supportive of and responsive to diversity within our staff, students and the broader community
- We believe in and observe the principles of social justice and cultural competency
- We recognise and demonstrate the principles of sustainability
- We commit to embracing and advancing our place in the tropics
Background and History of Law at JCU
Until 1989 JCU only offered the first year of study towards a LLB. The program was hosted by the then Department of History and Politics and students completed full-year subjects in “Introduction to Law” and “Criminal Law” as well as two full-year non-law electives (or the semester equivalent). They then had to transfer (usually) to the University of Queensland or the Queensland Institute of Technology (subsequently the Queensland University of Technology) to complete their degrees.
In 1989 the University established the Department of Law as a separate section, introduced second-year subjects and started offering a full four-year LLB program. Third-year subjects were introduced in 1990 and fourth-year subjects in 1991. Degrees were formally conferred on JCU’s first Law graduates in May 1992.
Law at Cairns began in July 1998 with 34 students and two fly-in staff. The Cairns Law focus has grown to over 200 students and 5 permanent academic staff. Law in Cairns is supplemented by a host of additional sessional staff and access to the staff and facilities provided by the Townsville campus. Students have been able to complete their entire degree in Cairns since 2000. It was a proud moment for all those involved in the development of Law at JCU when our first Cairns graduates were awarded their degrees in April 2001.