Home' InDaily : April 22nd 2010 Contents 6|Vol21No3April2010
Real legal case in Moot Court at Flinders
The law came to Flinders University's
Law School when Justice Tom Gray heard
an appeal to the Supreme Court in
Flinders' Moot Court last month.
The hearing was an appeal against a
sentence imposed on a defendant by the
Magistrates Court. The defendant had
attended a nightclub contrary to the
conditions of a bond he had entered into
following an earlier court case. The
defendant appealed, arguing the
sentence was manifestly excessive and
that there had been procedural error in
the sentencing hearing at the
Dean of Flinders Law School, Professor
David Bamford, said the hearing of an
actual appeal at the University had
provided an invaluable learning
opportunity for up to 200 students
who were able to attend the court or
watch it online.
"The appeal heard by Justice Gray was a
great opportunity to see the law at work,"
Professor Bamford said.
"Before the case started we provided
background information which allowed
the students to place all the proceedings
into context and keep abreast of the legal
arguments as they were put forward,"
Professor David Bamford in Moot Court
Focus on young offenders
"This 'hands-on' opportunity
complements the approach to legal
education that distinguishes Flinders.
Flinders is almost unique in
the Australian context in
offering a law degree that
incorporates both the
academic and professional
needed to gain admission to
Our students are admitted once they
graduate with their law degree.
"As a result, throughout the degree,
students are required to undertake skills
exercises and professional activities that
place their academic knowledge in a
practical context. We are interested in how
law works as well as what the content of
the law is."
Justice Gray will hand down his
judgement on the appeal at a later date.
Meanwhile, Ms Catherine Branson,
President of the Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission and Human
Rights Commissioner, has urged 121
prizewinners from the Flinders Law
School to use their legal knowledge and
skills for the common good.
Addressing the annual prize-giving
ceremony this month, Ms Branson
outlined the important role Australian
lawyers had played in the development of
human rights since the Second World War,
highlighting the contributions made by Dr
Herbert Evatt and Dame Roma Mitchell.
A lot of time and effort has gone into
attempts to identify and prevent
potential criminal behaviour among
adolescents -- the only trouble is that the
intervention programs currently used in
schools have very limited success.
According to Ms Grace Skrzypiec, a PhD
researcher in the School of Education at
Flinders, much of the problem lies with a
failure to study the motivation of
offending adolescents and how they think.
Ms Skrzypiec is focusing her research on
so-called "adolescent limited offenders"--
a group that drift into offending at
around 15 to 17 years of age but who tend
to "go straight" by their mid-20s -- in the
context of three types of offences: theft,
fighting and drug-taking.
"My research is aimed at steering them
away from the pathway that is going to
lead to them getting into trouble and
going to prison, and to help them
develop ways of thinking that are
responsible, so that they don't make bad
decisions which can hurt themselves and
others," Ms Skrzypiec said.
She said current approaches, such as
humanising the police or underlining the
consequences of breaking the law, might
produce a positive response in adults or
more mainstream kids, but that young
people at risk have a different set of
attitudes and moral norms.
"So I'm looking at the very
specific antecedents, or
motivators for crime, to
see how young people
think about the most
common offences in the
repertoire -- stealing,
assault and taking drugs,
Ms Skrzypiec said.
She believes that reducing impulsivity by
getting young people to make decisions
about their behaviour ahead of the time
when they are confronted by a critical
situation may be part of the key.
As well as surveying school students, Ms
Skrzypiec will interview young offenders
in Cavan and Magill training centres.
Ms Skrzypiec says the current crop of
crime prevention programs in schools
lack a proper evidence base. If the
statistics back her findings, Ms Skrzypiec
aims to develop a model of offending
behaviour as a new starting point.
Study goes looking for troubled adolescents
Focus on young offenders
Links Archive April 21st 2010 April 23rd 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page