Professor Sarah Derrington.
Professor Sarah Derrington.
2 July 2013

The University of Queensland’s new Dean of Law is set to strengthen industry links to help equip law students to address 21st century challenges.

Professor Sarah Derrington, who took up the position yesterday (1 July), said she would seek to consolidate the School’s position among the best law schools in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing the emphasis on industry-focused research and stronger partnerships with the legal profession.

Professor Derrington, a practicing barrister and an alumna of the School, said she looked forward to returning to the Law School and tackling challenges faced by the higher education sector and the changing face of the legal profession.

“My priorities will be to encourage professional involvement with the School; to lift our research profile; and to make our student experience the very best that we can make it,” she said.

“UQ has a focus on educating and supporting the leaders of the future so we aim to ensure that each generation of law graduates is prepared for international practice and to successfully transition into a profession that has already experienced significant change over the past decade and will continue to evolve in the future.”

Professor Derrington said The University of Queensland Law Graduates Association (UQLGA) would continue to play an important role.

“I look forward to working with them to develop practical experiences that will provide students with the particular skill set that employers seek and value,” Professor Derrington said.

She said the School’s diverse community of scholars enabled it to offer opportunities for multi-disciplinary and international collaboration on research that had a positive impact on society in the areas of private law, international and comparative law, marine and shipping law and energy law, among others.”

UQ Acting President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Debbie Terry said Professor Derrington brought extensive academic and professional experience to the Head of School role.

“She is one of Australia's leading maritime law experts, particularly in the areas of admiralty law and marine insurance,” Professor Terry said.

“In the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia Report the Law School’s research was assessed as ‘above world standard’. I hope Sarah will improve the School’s ERA rating in future years.”

Professor Derrington serves on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Admiralty Rules Committee (Commonwealth) and the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, of which she was President for three years.

As a teacher at the UQ Law School between 1994 and 2011, Professor Derrington was Director of the Centre for Maritime Law and the Marine and Shipping Law Unit; Academic Advisor; Deputy Director of Studies (Law); Associate Professor; Professor of Admiralty Law; and Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law.

She was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in 2009.

After returning to full-time practice as a barrister, arbitrator and mediator in 2011, Professor Derrington maintained an active role in the Law School as an Adjunct Professor and as a mooting coach.

She steered a UQ team to victory in the annual International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot in 2012, and is coaching the 2013 team that will defend the title in Southampton in England this month.

Media: Melissa Reynolds, TC Beirne School of Law, telephone 07 3365 2523,