The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre provides training and research opportunities for the legal sector, including courts and tribunals staff.

In 2015, the Courts and Tribunals Academy was launched by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Honourable Marilyn Warren.

Training & research

The Courts and Tribunals Academy provides:

  • professional development for courts and tribunals staff
  • consultancy services for the courts, public service, legal and allied professions
  • research into court governance and court management
  • cross-jurisdictional networks, nationally and internationally.

Innovation in courts & tribunals

We focus on how innovation can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of courts and tribunals.

Past activities

The Hon Kenneth Hayne AC QC delivered the 2020 Sir Zelman Cowen Centre Oration online on the topic ‘Trust, confidence and public institutions’ on Wednesday 5 August 2020.

Conferences & research seminars

Our thought leadership events feature national and international experts.

Join us to debate, learn and discuss timely issues for courts and tribunals and the wider legal sector.

Past events

  • Our 'Researchers Colloquium on Trust' brought together over 30 participants, including academics from 12 Australian universities drawn from a range of disciplines. The group discussed the importance of trust as a central factor in creating and maintaining public confidence in Australian courts and tribunals, and in the Australian justice system more broadly.
  • The 'Online Dispute Resolution: The State of the Art' symposium which provided an intensive and experiential learning opportunity for strategic decision makers interested in online dispute resolution as a mechanism for improving access to justice.
  • Twilight Public Lecture: ‘Royal Commissions: How do they shape public policy?’. A panel of past Chairs of Royal Commissions and expert commentators discussed how royal commissions have become the model for ensuring public accountability. Listen to a podcast of the event.
  • 'Legal Education for the Virtual Age' colloquium featuring law deans and academics from 15 Australian and international law schools. A delegation of participants from the colloquium later shared their knowledge with American academics at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Meeting in San Diego.
  • 'Law and Courts in an Online World' conference which brought together over 300 delegates from 10 countries to explore the ways in which disruptive change and emerging business models are reshaping law and legal institutions. Watch conference sessions.

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Royal Commissions Public Lecture. Left to right: Prof David Weisbrot AM, the Hon. Marcia Neave AO, the Hon. Bernard Teague AO and Adjunct Prof Alan Kohler

Masterclasses in law

We offer executive & continuing education for legal professionals. Advance your professional knowledge at our expert masterclasses without the need to enrol in a formal degree.

Sentencing Theory and Practice Masterclass

Facilitated by Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg, Chair of the Victorian and Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Councils.

To find out more and express your interest in attending the masterclass, contact [email protected].

Previous masterclasses

We have previously delivered masterclasses on Online Dispute Resolution and Technology Teams in Modern Courts and Tribunals, run by international experts.

In 2019, we delivered our inaugural Masterclass for Government Investigators to over 70 investigators from 13 regulatory agencies.