The University of Newcastle, Australia

I Look Ahead

Friday, 16 October 2015

The Newcastle Law School was proud to welcome Professor Neil Rees for the 2015 Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture

I Look Ahead

Professor Rees was appointed foundation Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Newcastle in 1991. Neil Rees has also been a legal academic, a tribunal member, a legal practitioner and a legal adviser to government in a career which spans over 30 years.

Professor Neil Rees conceived of the idea of the annual Sir Ninian Stephen lecture series and was proud to accept the honour of delivering it in 2015. His speech titled "I look ahead", refers to the UON emblem.

His speech covered expected reforms in sources of the law, changes in the delivery of legal services and the future of legal education. He predicted a reform in the content and complexity of legislation and the simplification of future legislative drafting. Professor Rees hypothesized that the legal profession will undergo fragmentation in the future, with paralegals taking on more specialised work and their education being highly specialised as well.

As part of the bigger picture of legal education Professor Rees highlighted the emergence of privatised law schools and online learning capabilities. In his highly directed speech, law students were catapulted into the 21st century where lawyering is fast paced, client focused and technology driven. A glimpse of what lies ahead for them, and a motivation to study hard for their upcoming exams and pursue their dreams in an ever-changing, transnational world.

The Newcastle Law School celebrated the success of the lecture by taking Professor Rees and other distinguished members of the local legal community to dinner after the lecture. Acting Dean of the Newcastle Law School, Associate Professor John Anderson took this opportunity to formally thank professor Rees for his contribution to the Law School and presented him with a copy of the portrait of Professor Rees, which still hangs in the Newcastle Law School today.

Download a copy of Professor Rees' speech.

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