Sir Zelman Cowen Centre

Queen Street campus interior

City Queen Campus interior

The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre provides legal education, training and research, in addition to support services on law-related topics for industry, government and the community.

Our services are aimed at:

  • the government
  • community organisations
  • legal practitioners
  • court and tribunal staff
  • other professions associated with the legal sector.

The Centre is named in honour of Australia’s former Governor-General and distinguished legal academic, the late Sir Zelman Cowen, and is conveniently situated in the heart of Melbourne’s legal precinct at the City Queen Campus.

In 'Sir Zelman Cowen Centre':


VU's Queen Street Campus, home of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre

City Queen Campus

We deliver a range of postgraduate and professional development courses aimed at providing high-quality further training and support to the judiciary and legal profession.

Notarial Practice

Our courses in notarial practice provide the skills needed for legal practitioners who wish to be appointed as notaries public.

Courts & Tribunals Academy

The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre has a long tradition of providing training and research related directly to the work of courts and tribunals. The Courts & Tribunals Academy builds the capacity of court personnel and develops training and educational programs.

The Executive Program in Court and Tribunal Management offers single units of study.

Full listing of postgraduate courses in the College of Law & Justice.

Find professional development courses in the College of Law & Justice.

Learn more about our exceptional college staff that present these courses.

International conference: Law & Courts in an Online World

In November 2016, the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre’s Courts & Tribunals Academy is hosting a thought leadership event on Law & Courts in an Online World. It includes a tailored problem solving hackathon (7 November), thought leadership conference (8 & 9 November) and shared international experience through tailored specialist masterclasses (10 & 11 November).

Community engagement projects

We deliver projects to help educate community leaders on Australian Law within society. The projects help bridge the ideological divide in Melbourne’s diverse communities, particularly in its Northern and Western regions.

Current projects include:

  • community governance initiatives, to promote awareness of governance requirements for groups and individuals who ‘have greatness thrust upon them’ when they take on leadership roles and responsibilities in their communities. This includes training for community organisations, faith-based mediation, training and community engagement. Examples include training for Imams and women community leaders in Family Law and Family Violence.
  • Learn, Experience, Access Professions (LEAP) into Law, a law-based initiative designed to encourage high school students of all levels to pursue legal related studies and careers
  • enhancing our migration law educational offerings and the experience of our students before, during and after their studies.


We have 3 rooms available for hire within our beautiful heritage-listed building in Queen Street. They are perfect for seminars, meetings, training courses or other functions.

Read more about facility hire and catering at the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre.

About Sir Zelman Cowen

Bronze bust of Sir Zelman Cowen

Bronze bust of Sir Zelman Cowen

Sir Zelman Cowen, AK GCMG GCVO QC, was one of Australia's most distinguished jurists. He was born in St Kilda in 1919, and studied law at Oxford University.

From 1951, he was Professor of Public Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at Melbourne University. He was knighted in 1976 and appointed Governor-General of Australia in 1977.

In 1982, he became Provost of Oriel College Oxford in 1982 and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Oxford in 1988. He also served as Chairman of the UK Press Council between 1983 and 1988.

In 1994, he accepted the positions of Distinguished Visiting Professor and Chair of the Victoria University Foundation. As Chair of the Foundation, he led the University's efforts in gaining philanthropic support for students in their studies, including contributions for prizes and scholarships. On retiring as Chair of the Foundation he agreed to continue his involvement by accepting an honorary appointment position as Inaugural Patron and remained a staunch friend of the University.

Sir Zelman passed away on 8 December 2011.

Staff in the Centre

  • Professor Kathy Laster, Director, Sir Zelman Cowen Centre
  • Megan Tucker, Legal Projects Officer, Sir Zelman Cowen Centre.

Adjunct and honorary appointments

Contact us

Sir Zelman Cowen Centre
Level 2, City Queen Campus
295 Queen Street, Melbourne.