The Institute’s Education manager Jackie Charles and Education Officer Fiona Leahy were recently published in the June 2018 edition of Lexis Nexis’ Bi-Annual Rule of Law publication – Advancing Together. The article – Open justice: education, courts visits and the Rule of Law can be found on Page 8 of the publication.
The article discusses the academic and pedagogical foundations of our successful Law Day Out programme where school students visit a court, meet with a legal officer and observe court proceedings with the guidance of one of our experienced legal educators.
As McCallum J points out, open justice is at the core of our legal system and is fundamental to the operation of the rule of law.
…the students whose attendance yesterday has prompted this assertion of a right were participating in an excursion offered by the Rule of Law Institute, an independent not-for-profit body formed for the object of upholding the rule of law in Australia. Their perseverance and that of the Court watchers in remaining to observe the proceedings, although they were required to stand, paid service to that object. To have excluded them for the benefit of journalists would have provided a sorry lesson on the failure of the rule of law. McCallum J – Supreme Court of NSW, Transcript, Gayle v Ors – 26/10/17.
The Institute’s education programmes ensure the continued vibrancy of the rule of law in Australia. This important work is best summarised by the below quote from the article.
Australian democracy, with its roots in the Magna Carta and founded in the Australia Constitution, has provided us with stability, security and peace since Federation. However, it is possible that we can become complacent and not focus our energies on reminding ourselves and our young people of the benefits of the legal system and the crucial role of both upholding the rule of law and maintaining a public dialogue about it. It is important to remember that ‘the law can only truly rule when people (both government actors and “ordinary” people) believe that it ought to’.