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American Legal Education AbroadCritical Histories$
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Susan Bartie and David Sandomierski

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479803583

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479803583.001.0001

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Functionalism, Legal Process, and the Transformation (and Subordination) of Australian Law Schools

Functionalism, Legal Process, and the Transformation (and Subordination) of Australian Law Schools

(p.92) 4 Functionalism, Legal Process, and the Transformation (and Subordination) of Australian Law Schools
American Legal Education Abroad

Susan Bartie

NYU Press

During a crucial formative period in Australian legal education—the 1950s and 1960s—Australian legal academics looked wistfully at the United States and became increasingly critical of English legal educational models. As explained in the first section of this chapter, this admiration was not accompanied by the wholesale adoption of the leading US approaches but rather signalled the fledging academy’s high ambitions for Australian legal education and Australian law. Their ambitions and the way that they conceptualized law along the lines of the US model, rather than English tendencies, refutes common characterizations of this generation and their contributions. The second section explains that the Legal Process school played a critical role in the development of Australia’s first law textbooks. The only Australian textbook to fully embody an American conceptualization of law was inspired by the Hart and Sacks model. Despite enthusiasm for American legal realism, Australia’s early law textbooks and teaching did not adopt a functionalist conceptualization of law. Finally, this chapter considers some ways that American ideas and models served as vehicles for the liberation and restraint of Australian ideas and practices and contributed to the subordination of Australian legal thought.

Keywords:   Australia, Australian legal education, Legal Process school, legal realism, Hart and Sacks model, functionalist

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