New guidebook prepares students for law career

Leigh Dawson, University of Notre Dame Australia


Writing a guidebook that assists university students apply their theoretical knowledge of administrative law to real life scenarios has been the focus for Mr Francisco Esparraga, Senior Law lecturer at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Sydney Campus.

In the recently published Administrative Law Guidebook, Mr Esparraga and co-author Dr Ian Ellis-Jones address the difficulties between theory and application of administrative law in order to train students for a future career in the court room.

Dr Ellis-Jones practised law for three decades and lectured Administrative Law at the University of Technology, Sydney, for 16 years.

The guidebook provides an active learning experience for law students, including case-related review questions throughout each chapter and a practical overview of the administrative decision making process in Australia.

Mr Esparraga, a foundation member of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law, has also taught Contracts Law, the Law of Evidence and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

“ As a Government lawyer over the years, I specialised in administrative law and worked in organisations such as the Privacy Committee of NSW; Department of Territories & Local Government in Canberra; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; the Independent Commission Against Corruption and as a part-time Member of the Consumer and Trader Tenancy Tribunal,” explains Mr Esparraga.

“ All of these dealt with administrative law issues from the various perspectives of claimants, decision-makers and review bodies. If you think of review of decision-making; protection of information rights; and accountability of government processes, rarely does a day go by where there are not elements of administrative law in the public spotlight. It is all about citizens being able to protect their rights and being able to challenge government decision-making.”

He says students have to grapple with the use of concepts such as policy and government decision-making, which are often difficult to grasp in a legal context.

“Once students realise how administrative law impacts on us in everyday life, law without us noticing, the theory falls into place and is seen as a very practical application of the law,” Mr Esparraga said.

“One would hope that by their final years, students are better prepared for these challenges. Administrative Law is not recommended for the early years of a Law degree.”

Dean of the School of Law, Sydney Campus, Professor Gerard Ryan, congratulated Mr Esparraga on his “enthusiasm and dedication” when assisting students with their studies and developing industry-ready graduates.

“Today’s students benefit greatly from books which give them a clear structure to organise the material needed to effectively apply their knowledge in problem solving scenarios,” Professor Ryan said.

The Administrative Law Guidebook is Mr Esparraga’s first book to be published by the renowned Oxford University Press.

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0405 441 093