Legal studies in the Northern Territory has reached a milestone with the appointment of a new Head of Law at Charles Darwin University and the development of its stand-alone School of Law.
After several years abroad, Professor Ned Aughterson has returned to the Territory to take the helm of CDU’s School of Law, which officially opens today.
Professor Aughterson has a PhD from the University of Queensland and brings 30 years of experience as a scholar, academic and practising lawyer to the position.
As the Foundation Dean of Law at the Northern Territory University from 1990 to 1996, he was responsible for setting up the NT’s first law faculty before it transitioned to CDU.
Taking back the reins as Head of Law at CDU this week, Professor Aughterson said the newly formed school would focus on broadening the learning experience of students.
“There is a shift towards the globalisation of legal education, so that lawyers are comfortable in operating on the international stage and across jurisdictions,” he said. “But in the Northern Territory we should also look to enhancing understanding of traditional Indigenous law.”
As a practising lawyer Professor Aughterson said he believed it was vital to build relationships locally as well as internationally, not only to enhance student learning, but also to further build the reputation of CDU’s School of Law.
“There is scope to not only more actively engage with the local legal profession, but also build strong international relationships in the interests of teaching and research,” he said.
“With 80 per cent of our students now studying law online, there is a great opportunity to utilise leading scholars from around the world in the delivery of the online teaching programs.”
Professor Aughterson joins CDU from the Darwin Bar. Before that he spent five years at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, where he was founding Head of the Department of Law and Business. His research interests include international criminal law and alternative dispute resolution. He has appeared as counsel in trial and appellate courts, and in both criminal and civil matters, in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, and the NT and before the High Court of Australia.