How to Teach Complex Case Law – Keynote Address

Professor Duncan French, Head of School, was recently invited as a keynote speaker to the Australasian Law Teachers Association annual conference held in the University of South Australia, Adelaide.

On a panel discussing the recent South China Sea Award between the Philippines and China, Professor French considered the pedagogical issues surrounding the teaching of complex cases. Using the trope of Pride and Prejudice’s “Universal Truth”, Professor French unpacked the idea that it is a “truth universally acknowledged that academics with limited time in a lecture do summarise unduly complex case law”.

Whilst recognising the constraints of time, Professor French argued that it behoves us as academics to ensure our students don’t treat our case summaries as the totality of what is important about a case. Speaking to an audience of lecturers across specialisms, and not just international law, he asked them to reflect on their own “favourite” cases and how they teach them.

Professor French also took the University’s public international law class during his visit.

Professor French found time to attend his first Ozzie Rules footie game – the local team Adelaide Crows won 104-45 against the Western Bulldogs!