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UOW law students offered rare High Court Associateships

Only two other High Court Associateships in UOW Law School’s 25-year history. 

UOW Law students Lachlan Auld and Nathan Johnston have secured highly sought-after Associateships with Justice Virginia Bell in the High Court.

Nathan starts work with Justice Bell in January 2018, while Lachlan begins in July 2019.

Both students have been academically outstanding, Nathan having being awarded the University Medal for Law in 2015 and Lachlan ranking first in 18 University subjects to date.

Lachlan is currently on exchange in Denmark and due to graduate from his LLB degree at the end of 2017.

Nathan was President of the UOW Law Students’ Society and the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Jack Goldring Memorial Scholarship, conferred by her Honour Justice Bell at a ceremony at UOW (pictured above).

He was also involved in several initiatives to promote mental health and wellbeing among UOW law students. Nathan was also a mentor and tutor for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and worked with the Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF) group.

Nathan is currently the Associate to Justice Simpson on the NSW Court of Appeal.

It is an extraordinary opportunity for both Nathan and Lachlan, with only two former students (Dr Elisa Arcioni and Dr James Goudkamp) having secured an Associateship with a High Court Judge in the 25-year history of UOW Law School.

Lachlan said it was wonderful to see many years of hard work result in such an amazing opportunity.

“Working with Justice Bell is particularly exciting as she is one of Australia’s most experienced and well-regarded criminal law experts. Criminal law is my area of passion,” Lachlan said.

“It is equally pleasing that Nathan Johnston also received an offer to work with Justice Bell. He is an incredible person with an extremely promising future before him.

“What a feat that the two of us can represent UOW at the legal fraternity’s highest level.”

Lachlan attributed his success to inspiring UOW teachers, particularly Associate Professor Julia Quilter, Professor Luke McNamara, Sandy Noakes, Mark Saunders and Dr Brett Heino.

“I especially owe a great deal to Associate Professor Julia Quilter," he said.

“Aside from epitomising brilliance in teaching and academia, and crystallising my passion for criminal law, Julia has been incredibly giving, supportive and proactive in guiding me down the right paths.

“Meeting Julia has been an absolute blessing and I sincerely thank her for all she has done and continues to do."

Lachlan Auld main Pictured above: Lachlan Auld with retired High Court Justice Michael Kirby.

Nathan said he felt extremely fortunate and looked forward to learning an enormous amount.

“I’m grateful to have had the advice and support of School of Law staff when thinking of applying for the position.

“I got a lot out of my UOW studies and it reflects the culture of the Law School that the support has continued, even after graduating.

"I’m particularly grateful to Professor Terry Buddin, Associate Professor Julia Quilter, and Dr Luis Gomez-Romero,” he said.

School of Law Associate Professor Julia Quilter said both students were brilliant.

“Lachlan shows a real passion for the law and is very much a ‘self-made’ person,” she said.

“He had an atypical background, growing up in a small NSW country town with three siblings with disabilities. He was home schooled for much of his education and is the first in his family to attend university”.

“I greatly admire Lachlan who not only has a sharp legal mind and an incredible attention to detail, but he has put himself through Law School - in part with a scholarship from a local commercial law firm together with other jobs including Research Assistant work for me.

“When I taught Lachlan in his first year of Law, he immediately stood out from the pack by the complexity of the questions he asked in class and the depth of his engagement with the materials. He went on to top both semesters of criminal law,” she said.

“Likewise, Nathan has a long list of achievements. I remember listening to him speak at a student Open Day in 2015 with awe.

“I was deeply moved by what an impressive speaker he was – engaging, smart and warm all at once conveying a clear message of how much he enjoyed his studies at UOW and what the University had offered him.

“I’m sure he was a great inspiration to all students who attended,” she said.

UOW School of Law Acting Dean and Senior Lecturer and Discipline Leader Dr Trish Mundy said the faculty was incredibly proud of both students.

“Both are outstanding UOW law students and wonderful people with a real passion for law and justice,” Dr Mundy said.

“Lachlan and Nathan join them [Dr Arcioni and Dr Goudkamp] in being offered this most prestigious opportunity and serve as an inspiration to so many other UOW law students. We wish them every success in their careers ahead.”

Pictured: Nathan Johnston winning the Goldring Memorial Scholarship. He is being awarded this by High Court Justice Virginia Bell.

Lachlan Auld with retired High Court Justice Michael Kirby.

Posted in Education
Tagged: Law


  • Nathan Johnston being awarded the Goldring Memorial Scholarship by High Court Justice Virginia Bell.