Notre Dame welcomes Sir Laurence Street

14/09/2011

Notre Dame News Story
Sir Laurence Street with Notre Dame students from the Alternative Dispute Resolution class.

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus, recently welcomed former Lieutenant Governor of NSW and Chief Justice of NSW, Sir Laurence Street AC KCMG QC, who spoke with students about alternative dispute resolution.

The visit was Sir Laurence’s second to the University, where he gave a one-hour dissertation to students of the School of Law.

Jacob Madden, a fifth-year Law/Arts student at Notre Dame, said it was an honour to have the opportunity to listen to Sir Laurence speak.

“Sir Laurence is one of the most accomplished legal minds in the country so it was great to hear him talk about mediation using examples that came from decades of experience,” Mr Madden said.

“He used relevant examples to explain important concepts and his intense passion for the law and the betterment of the legal system was inspiring.”

Sir Laurence Street became a barrister in 1951 and practised primarily in the areas of equity, commercial law and maritime law before being appointed judge of the New South Wales Supreme Court in the Equity Division in 1965. In 1974, at the age of 47, Sir Laurence became the State’s second-youngest Chief Justice.

Since retiring in 1988, Sir Laurence has been actively engaged in commercial mediation, dispute and probity consultancy. He has conducted over 2500 successful mediations and negotiations and he shared some of these practical experiences with the Notre Dame students.

During his dissertation, Sir Laurence emphasised the importance of mediation as an informal process aimed at enabling disputing parties to discuss their differences in total privacy with the assistance of the neutral mediator. He used practical examples to demonstrate the mediator’s task, which is to help each party understand the other’s point of view and then help both parties make a dispassionate, objective appraisal of the situation before negotiating a settlement.

Francisco Esparraga, Senior Lecturer in Law, said the Law students were engaged by Sir Laurence’s knowledge, eloquence and humour.

“It was very satisfying to see an iconic figure of the Australian judicial system in conversation with the students,” Mr Esparraga said.

“For the students, it is an invaluable experience they will always remember.”



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