Monday, 24 February 2014

In the District Court of Western Australia in late December 2013, the Faculty of Law launched Nicholas Hasluck’s latest book - Legal Limits - in a star-studded event featuring: the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia Robert French; Chief Judge of the District Court of Western Australia, Peter Martino; Dean of UWA Law School Professor Erika Techera; and leading academic Dr Peter Johnston as well as many other high profile members of the legal community including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, Wayne Martin.

Hasluck’s book (published by The Federation Press ), examines the nexus between law and literature in the hope that practising lawyers, especially advocates, better appreciate the societal value of literature within the legal profession.  Hasluck elaborates: “The conscientious lawyer, imitating to some extent the aspirations of a poet, seeks to enter someone else’s life.  The lawyer strives to understand the client’s problems, to absorb the details of his story.” (2013 p.9)

The Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia Robert French launched the book with a discerning overview that explained how engaging narratives in literature, such as Kafka’s The Trial and The Great Wall of China, can raise social consciousness, and if observed within the legal profession, may serve to benefit justice.

Professor Erika Techera, was honoured to host the event on behalf of the Faculty of Law for UWA Honorary Fellow Nicholas Hasluck: “We are very proud of our Alumni and pleased to include Nicholas Hasluck amongst them. We are delighted that he has agreed to continue his affiliation with the Law School as an Honorary Fellow, and look forward to hearing him present to students and staff on campus. Law and literature is particularly relevant to the broader field of ‘law and society’, a growing area of strength and interest within the Law School.”

Nicholas Hasluck AM, QC is a former WA Supreme Court judge, former President of the WA Equal Opportunity Tribunal, the author of 11 works of fiction, a UWA law graduate and Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Law.  He credits UWA for giving him the opportunity to study arts units throughout his undergraduate law degree, which broadened his perspective of the law across topics like philosophy, morality and the nature of justice, giving him a well rounded perspective of justice in society.

Hasluck believes lawyers need to have a broader understanding of what goes on in society and observes that the Faculty of Law’s new course structure, where students have the opportunity to study a different discipline as a preliminary base before taking on law as a postgraduate degree (the Juris Doctor ), is progressive as it ensures students have a well rounded perspective that serves to complement their postgraduate law degree.

Media references

Photograph by Rob O'Connor QC; Pictured left to right: Hon Nicholas Hasluck AM, QC; Professor and Dean of Law Erika Techera; Hon Chief Justice Robert French AC and Adjunct Professor Peter Johnston (17 December 2013).

Michelle Kelly (Faculty of Law) +61(0)8 6488 1375