Margaret Castles

 Position Snr Lecturer - Director Clinical Legal Ed
 Org Unit Adelaide Law School
 Telephone +61 4 2900 1024
 Mobile +61 4 2900 1024
 Location Floor/Room 3 30 ,  Ligertwood Building ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    After studying law and completing articles in Adelaide, I worked at the Attorney General’s Department in Canberra for several years, on various policy projects. I came back to Adelaide, to work in litigation at the Australian Government Solicitors Office, to build some practical experience into my predominantly policy based repertoire. I found that I loved litigation, and stayed.

    In 1996 I was becoming a bit disillusioned with legal practice, but increasingly interested in training clients to manage their own disputes, and in using mediation as a primary dispute resolution tool. In a giant leap of faith I resigned from my job with the AGS and took a part time contract position at Adelaide Law School, developing the first Clinical Legal Education program (CLE) to be offered in South Australia.  It was a good move. I’ve been at the Law School ever since, managing the CLE program including the two legal advice clinics, teaching Civil Dispute Resolution and Ethics, Alternative Disute Resolution (ADR), and other subjects from time to time. I am still passionate about teaching, and finding innovative approaches to enhancing student experience in an increasingly challenging environment. I’m equally passionate about justice access – my role as the Director of Clinical Legal Education enables me to contribute to law reform initiatives in the community, often in collaboration with the courts, other organisations, but always with primary input from students on the CLE program.

    My research interests are somewhat broader than my actual capacity! They include education, procedural law reform, applied legal ethics, alternative dispute resolution, student wellbeing, and innovative solutions for justice access.  I’m also fascinated by perceptoins of law and humanity in future society.

    Through the clinics, and my associated research, I am able to contribute directly and meaningfully into justice access reform, and provide valuable academic research based input into initiatives within the legal community.  

    Find my blog here:


  • Qualifications

    LLB (Hons) Adelaide (1983)

    Grad Dip Int Law (ANU) (1992)

    Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of SA and the High Court of Australia (1984)

    Accredited Mediator (NMAS) 2017

  • Teaching Interests

    Clinical Legal Education

    Civil Procedure and Evidence

    Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Legal Ethics

    Law Practice


    I love being a legal practitioner, and I love teaching.

    Final year subjects like Civil Procedure, ADR, and CLE enable me to introduce students to the diverse ways they can contribute to the community, and develop their own sense of professional identity.  There is so much to be done to keep our legal system relevant, accessible, and fair. Today’s students will be working on those challenges. Working as I do in the 'bridge' between law school and professional life is a fantastic opportunity to support students to realise their potential, and to develop positive views of their future. 

    The CLE program makes a significant contribution to justice access in SA, and provides a unique and rewarding learning experience for students in their final year of study. Teaching CLE and supervising students on clinic placement also provides a diverse basis for pedagogical initiatives that can enrich classroom teaching. As the co-coordinator of the final year capstone subject Dispute Resolution and Ethics I am able to integrate clinical method to develop an authentic and student focussed learning environment for our final year students. 

    I am also deeply committed to enhancing law student wellbeing, and helping to develop resourceful and resilient professionals, by the deliberate inclusion of these concepts into all teaching engagements. 

  • Publications

  • Professional Associations

    Law Society of SA

    Member Justice Access Committee

    Member Civil Litigation Committee



    Member of South Australia Legal Aid Forum

    Member Resolution Institution 

  • Community Engagement

    Member of Law Society Justice Access and Civil Litigation Committees

    Member of South Australian Legal Aid Forum

    Manager of Adelaide Legal Outreach Service (free legal advice service for homeless and disadvantaged people)

    Manager of Magistrates Court Legal Advice Service (free legal advice service for litigants in the Magistrates Court Civil Jurisdiction in SA)

    Research and development supporting justice access in the Courts in SA, in the broader community, and in the legal community. 

    Through the Clinical Legal Education Program, I am privileged to be able to engage with students in a range of research and development initiatives that make a significant contribution into the legal services community. Along with clinic supervisors Skye Schunke, Ross Savvas, and Patrick Wille, we guide students in providing hands on assistance to people who cannot otherwise afford legal advice. We also publish online and in print a range of self help guides to support people in understanding and pursuing their legal rights. Our work extends into services such as the Mediation Information Service that operates in the Magistrates Court two days a week, and into the development of the A2J author software program.  We are actively engaged in evaluating and proposing reform in the justice system. 

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Entry last updated: Friday, 12 Apr 2019

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