The University of Cambridge plans to establish its first offshore campus in Melbourne next year, in collaboration with the Victoria University of Technology.
The plans would involve Cambridge's board of continuing education sending staff to Australia for up to 30 weeks each year. They would work with VUT academics in delivering specialist professional development courses for judges, magistrates and legal administrators. Courses in applied criminology and legal studies would also be offered.
VUT vice-chancellor Jarlath Ronayne is in Britain and has visited Cambridge to discuss the project. In Melbourne, the
university's acting vice-
chancellor, Michael Hammerston, said both universities saw creation of the new campus as an opportunity to provide high-quality continuing education for the legal profession generally.
Senior academics from Cambridge had visited Melbourne on a number of occasions to assess likely demand for continuing
education from the judiciary and other law officials and were
convinced the project was viable.
VUT was prepared to commit a "substantial" sum to the scheme on the basis that it would become a significant provider of continuing legal education and its own academics would benefit from the experience of working alongside Cambridge staff, Professor Hammerston said.
"We made it clear to the Victoria government that there were a number of advantages for the state and the city if Cambridge could be brought in to establish its first permanent campus outside the United Kingdom," he said.
Professor Hammerston said that Cambridge had been
running such programmes in
central Europe for some time and the plan to establish a base in Australia was an extension of its activities.