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Press release Melbourne Law School

He is Professor James Hathaway, presently the James E. and Sarah A. Degan Professor at the University of Michigan Law School, who will take up the appointment at Melbourne in January 2008.  He will also be appointed to the Hearn Chair in Law.

Professor Hathaway succeeds Professor Michael Crommelin who is stepping down at the end of 2007 after serving nearly two decades as Dean. 

James Hathaway is best known for his work on international refugee law, which has been regularly cited by leading courts in Australia and throughout the common law world.  Widely-published in leading law journals, his publications include a seminal treatise on the refugee definition, The Law of Refugee Status (1991), an interdisciplinary study on refugee law reform, Reconceiving International Refugee Law (1997), and in 2005, The Rights of Refugees under International Law  - the first comprehensive analysis of the human rights of refugees set by the UN Refugee Convention.

Professor Hathaway is a seasoned administrator, having served as Director of Clinical Education and later Associate Dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School in his native Canada, in addition to directing research centres in both Canada and the United States. 

He also brings a vast international experience to Melbourne.  He is Senior Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University's Refugee Studies Programme and President of Spain's Cuenca Colloquium on International Refugee Law, and has been a visiting professor in law schools around the world, including the Universities of Cairo, California, Macerata, Tokyo - and, earlier this year, at Melbourne Law School itself. 

Over the course of his 25 years in legal education, Professor Hathaway has also delivered some 125 papers and more than 100 short courses in literally every part of the world, as well as regularly serving as a consultant to a host of governments and non-governmental agencies on refugee law and related human rights issues.

Hathaway's appointment as Dean comes at a critical time in the Melbourne Law School's history.  In 2008, it becomes a graduate school as part of the University's adoption of the Melbourne Model.

The graduate school model is firmly embraced by Professor Hathaway: "The move to teach law at the graduate level will position Melbourne students to compete with the best and brightest law graduates from around the world," he says.

"Equally important, it will dramatically enhance the teaching and learning experience at the Law School.  With more mature and experienced students in the classroom, we will not just teach law; we will challenge our students to innovate, to devise solutions to tough social and economic problems, and to be leaders in legal practice and public service."

Hathaway is enthusiastic about the future of the Melbourne Law School.  "Under Dean Crommelin's extraordinary leadership, Melbourne has become the pre-eminent Australian law school. 

"My goal is to build on that achievement to move Melbourne into the ranks of the very finest public law schools in the world.  With the support of the legal community and other partners, this is an absolutely attainable objective - the excellence of Melbourne's teaching and research staff is already globally acknowledged."

The University of Melbourne has been teaching law for 150 years and was the first Australian university to teach Law. In 2002, the School moved into a purpose-built building in University Square with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research in the 21st century.

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