Thinking in legal educ

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w.>. This document states that graduates will have ‘critical thinking and problem solving skills’ as well as ‘an understanding of social justice through the operation of law.’
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF),16 the function of which is described in more detail in Part II. However, despite this level of acceptance, critical thinking has also received both historical and current resistance. Further, as noted in the introduction, important elements of critical thinking, such as critique, have also received relatively low priority or been jettisoned from curricula.17 To understand this tension, it is necessary for us to say something about the changing role of legal education in Australia and those pressures that have limited the practical adoption of critical thinking.

The University of Adelaides law school was the second in Australia,18 opening its doors in April 1883 to law students seeking entry into the profession through a university degree.19 Up to this time in Adelaide, and throughout the country, entry into the profession was obtained through a long period of what was essentially an apprenticeship.20 The creation of a professional university-level degree for law was an innovative move for Australia. It was strongly supported by the profession, from which the vast majority of the fledging law schools tutors were drawn. But an Australian law degree in the 19th and early 20th centuries remained a ‘non-academic discipline’,21 controlled and taught by the legal profession.22

Apprenticeship remained a parallel avenue into the profession.23 By the 1950s, full-time academic staff started to assert responsibility for legal education in Australian universities. In 1964 the Australian Universities Commissions Committee on the Future of Tertiary
16 See for examples the skills required at Levels 7 & 9
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