Legal issues

The cloisters of the Old Quad.

The cloisters of the Old Quad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did my Law degree at Melbourne University as a mature-age student, from 1987 to 1992.

The Law School was then located in the beautiful old cloisters. I found Torts really interesting, thanks to legendary teacher Ian Malkin. I advocated an injury and disability insurance scheme, to overcome the anomalies that occurred because a person who was injured “on the road” would be covered as it was a transport accident, and a person would also be covered if the injury happened at work, but not in other cicumstances. This seems to me to be bizarre, arbitrary and unjust. I also found Constitutional law surprisingly interesting – not at all dry, thanks to the enthusiasm of Cheryl Saunders. I studied it in 1988, Australia’s Bicentennial Year. The majority of Australians didn’t know we had a constitution let alone what was in it. I think this was a lost opportunity to toss it out and start again. I did well in Intellectual Property, taught by Sam Rickettson, on the basis of a 5,000 word essay arguing that computer software copyright was a crock of ****. My great interest was International Law and International Human Rights Law, and I have to thank Hilary Charlesworth, who was an engaging and inspirational teacher. I did an innovative subject called Artificial Intelligence, Legal Reasoning and Expert Systems, taught by Dr Kowalski, in which we developed a rule-based expert system for medical negligence. Unfortunately, Kowalski left the following year. My final year research paper was done on Computerised Legal Information Retrieval, which was ahead of its time, but has been overtaken to some extent by developments such as internet access and information technology. However, some of the issues still apply, for instance, the problem of getting relevant and complete results from an internet search.

You can see that the following pages show my continuing interest in these subjects. However, I warn you – this is a blog, and these are personal opinion pieces, which may be provocative. This is not the Melbourne University Law Review. I make no apology for that.

Although I never practiced as a lawyer, I am still very interested in legal issues. Law can be a tool for change as well as a source of oppression. I believe the law gets left behind by new technology and social change, and it should be constantly updated. In the following pages, I give you some of my thoughts on these issues.

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