ALL RISE: Professor William MacNeil plays 'Billy the judge' in a moot court case at Southern Cross University on Sunday.
ALL RISE: Professor William MacNeil plays 'Billy the judge' in a moot court case at Southern Cross University on Sunday. Alina Rylko

VIDEO: Progressive Professor shakes up law at SCU

A FRESH approach to the oldest of university institutions is afoot at Southern Cross.

The man driving a progressive overhaul to the university's law and justice school is professor William MacNeil.

Prof MacNeil carries qualifications from Columbia University, the University College of London, was the dean of law at Griffith University, Gold Coast, before starting at SCU a year ago.

"I went to one of the world's most prestigious law schools in the world - I'm a Columbia graduate - I'd give it away any day for SCU," he said.

"Columbia - it's hundreds of years of tradition, it's millions in the bank from endowments, it's the Roosevelt of alumni, it's New York Elite.

"They run the world, but not my world, they have no imagination - SCU has imagination."

After a make-over of the Lismore law faculty building, a tightly-knit team of lecturers will spearhead a campaign to build SCU's reputation.

"We have activists, progressive lawyers, theorists, practitioners, judges and great students," Prof MacNeil said.

"(SCU) has such enormous potential to be the bespoke southern hemisphere centre for critical legal thinking around how the law can be an instrument for progressive social change."

The Summer Law School will offer intensive courses for students and professional lawyers in the same classroom on topics such as communism.

"Any university in this country would be queuing up to have these international scholars who are absolute leaders in their field, and SCU has them," Prof MacNeil said.

Prof MacNeil said credited Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker for SCU's changing face. "He is absolutely a star".



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