A new diploma from the University of Tasmania hopes to encourage more Tasmanians living in the North and North-West to consider a career in law.
The new Diploma of Paralegal Practice is set to launch in semester one 2022, and will be able to be studied in Burnie, Launceston, Hobart or online.
University of Tasmania Dean of Law Professor Michael Stuckey said the diploma marked a significant step towards accessing legal studies more equitable across the state.
Currently, UTAS Bachelor of Laws students are only able to complete the first year of their degree in Burnie and Launceston - to complete a tertiary qualification, they have to move to Hobart to complete their studies.
Moving to Hobart has proven to be a barrier for students, with only 15 per cent of the current law school cohort hailing from the North, 10 per cent from the North-West and less than five per cent from remote areas.
Professor Stuckey said improving access to legal studies would support access to justice in regional areas by increasing the number of locally-trained professionals.
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"The North-West has faced shortages of lawyers in the past and this is a challenge the university has a key role in helping to address," Professor Stuckey said.
"Every region needs equitable access to the professions that support their communities."
While the diploma will give students a full year of credit if they choose to continue on to a Bachelor of Laws, a University of Tasmania spokesperson said the next step for the university was to offer the bachelor's degree in full in the North and North-West of the state.
There are passionate future lawyers out there who, for any number of reasons, can't move to Hobart to study. If we want to give more Tasmanians the opportunity to study law, we need to remove barriers to access," Professor Stuckey said.
For more information on the Diploma of Paralegal Practice, visit utas.edu.au.
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