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Closure of the Law Library to General Detriment of Students

University Of Canterbury Law Students' Society
5 September 2012

Dear Law Students (please pass this on to non-LAWSOC members)

Re: What Is Going On With Law School And The Law Library

There a number of changes taking place to the Law School and Law Library. It is the undertaking of this email to inform you what those changes are to avoid any rumours or uncertainty. This information is accurate as we have been told it. It may be subject to change but in our view that is unlikely.

What is going on

Law Building in 2013

The Law Building is to be the first of a number of university buildings to be vacated so that it can be strengthened and refurbished. The building is currently safe. The current plan is that the building, including the Law Library, will be vacated this year between the conclusion of exams and the end of the year. It will be reoccupied in about 18 months' time. Along with the now-History building (which is being refitted at the same time), the building will form part of a "Commerce-Law Precinct".

Law Library

During the remediation, the Law Library will be relocated to a floor of the Central Library Tower.

It is envisaged that this will become the permanent home of the Law Library after the remediation. The Law and Commerce staff will occupy the current Law Building, whose name will be changed. The new name is not yet known.

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Alignment of Law and Commerce

The School of Law has been "aligned" with the College of Business and Economics. This means that the Law Faculty now sits within that College. Effectively, this will not change your day-to-day relationship with the School of Law, but it does have a significant impact on how the School is governed. There will still be a Dean of Law. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Business and Economics will be ultimately responsible for representing the School on the University Senior Management Team.

An "Alignment Steering Committee" has been set up to determine the mechanics of precisely how the new College will operate in terms of name, budgets etc. This includes both Law and Commerce representatives.

What is LAWSOC doing

The Law School staff found out about these changes two weeks ago, and LAWSOC was notified on Monday.

Vice-President Rachel Walsh and I secured a meeting with Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr this evening (Wednesday). At that meeting we represented to the Vice-Chancellor what believed would be the students' general view that a specialist Law Library should be retained within the Law/Commerce precinct following the remediation of the building. We described the fact that the Law Library is of integral importance to the Law School experience, as it is nationally. We indicated that this was an issue we anticipated our students would feel strongly about and that they would like that to be known to him.

We were told that the decision to permanently keep the Law Library in the Central Tower was "probably" final, barring only any unforeseen exigencies.

LAWSOC also represented the views of Te Putairiki (the Maori Law Students' Society) at this meeting.

It was indicated to us that LAWSOC and Te Putairiki's views will be sought and taken into account when the fit-out for the new library space is being discussed. This will fall to President-Elect Simon Inder and the Incoming Executive, who will no doubt canvass your views on the matter when appropriate.

LAWSOC is also represented by Simon Inder on the Alignment Steering Committee, which again will lend your voices to that process.

LAWSOC was notified about the alignment earlier in the year when it was at a very preliminary stage. Before we had a chance to respond or consult students, we were advised it had been taken off the table. That was the last we had heard until Monday.

What happens next

The College of Business and Economics and the School of Law are going to hold a Student Forum very soon to inform you of more details and answer your questions. The Vice-Chancellor has told us that he will attend that meeting. No date has yet been set for that meeting but we are working on it and will pass details on to you the moment the information comes to hand.

LAWSOC would also very much like to gather your opinions on the matter. We undertake to pass these on to the Vice-Chancellor, School of Law and College of Business and Economics in the hope that this may make some difference. We have deposited Opinion Feedback Forms on the LAWSOC Noticeboard and around the Library. Please do take the time to provide us with your comments and put them in the LAWSOC mailbox at Law Room 119. We will do our best.

I would like to add that Canterbury does, and will continue to have, an incredibly strong Law School. Please know that the Law Staff are right behind continuing to provide a quality legal education that will furnish us all well for the future. There is no doubt that challenges lie ahead, but keep your focus and work hard and you will grow from meeting them.

I look forward to hearing your views.

Kind regards

Seamus Woods / Rachel Walsh
President / Vice-President


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