I arrived in Victoria in 2001 following 20 years living in Hamilton, Ontario, where I had originally emigrated from England to study for an MA with the intention of returning to complete a doctorate in intellectual history at Oxford. However, the accident of marriage intervened at the end of my MA year; I completed the doctorate, gave Oxford the flick and kept the wife; or was/is it the other way
Completing a doctorate on EP Thompson (once upon a time a very important Marxist historian) six weeks before the Berlin Wall collapsed was completely unanticipated, as were the non-existent job prospects that suddenly materialized in my discipline. Having tried law school as a first degree and managing a term of complete mind-numbing boredom before pursuing interests in politics and history, I decided to give it a second chance. No change in the boredom register, but at least it led to gainful employment, and after been called to the Ontario Bar in 1995 practiced in the field of family and civil litigation while also completing an LL M in administrative law.
I have taught at Deakin Law School for nearly 15 years and have developed a passion for teaching legal skills, especially mediation, but from a very philosophically informed perspective, and one that draws heavily upon a critical pedagogical tradition and which incorporates ideas drawn from sociology and, to a lesser extent, anthropology. I find the law school curriculum – across the common law world - increasingly irrelevant and not fit for purpose in the context of technological, economic and ideological changes bound up with the concepts of globalization and neoliberalism; changes that have barely registered in legal education. I am critical of the so-called skills movement that has made some attempt to instantiate itself into an otherwise stale curriculum based on a 19th century concept of professionalism and professional practice: skills are fundamental, but framed in a technocratic idiom leave much to be desired.
Theory and practice of dispute resolution
Jurisprudence and socio-legal theory