chapter  9
A virtuous journey through the regulation minefield
Reflections on two decades of Australian legal education scholarship
WithSally Kift
Pages 37

This chapter will consider Australian legal education’s pedagogical progress over the last two decades through the dual lenses of scholarship and regulation. It will explore the rich harvest that the academy’s dedicated commitment to assuring quality curricula continues to yield and suggest that Australia’s educational orientations are quite fit-for-contemporary-purpose. That this has been achieved notwithstanding a regulatory framework that is fragmented, complex and multi-layered is remarkable; even more so in the face of a hard accreditation disconnect between the content knowing and the practical doing that has existed since 1982. Despite the entrenched disincentive for change that a stultifying adherence to content-based regulation might have otherwise enabled, Australian legal educators have adopted a conscientious approach of ‘virtuous compliance’ with broader regulatory intent in their pursuit of educational excellence and innovation.

While regulatory reform and harmonisation have remained elusive, agendas have coalesced recently that augur well for a re-imagined legal education continuum in response to current disruptive influences, both technological and disciplinary. It will be argued that all branches of the profession must now work together for a collective future-proofing regulatory response; one that achieves a sustainable and relevant legal ecosystem that is capable of weathering this, and the inevitable next, disruptive wave.