Multidisciplinary study supports rewarding justice services career

08 August 2023
Robbyn Gee.png
Robbyn Gee

CQUniversity Bachelor of Science (Criminology and Psychology) student Robbyn Gee is demonstrating the transformative power of education by advancing her career in Queensland’s justice system.

After working as a Registrar in the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) for more than two decades, Ms Gee said she was motivated to consolidate her years of experience in the sector with tertiary law studies.

“While employed as a Registrar, I had refused two judgments for civil matters and was told by the solicitors that I wasn’t a lawyer, what would I know?” Robbyn explained.

“My Magistrate gave me the advice ‘Why don’t you study law then when you get told this again you can say as a matter of fact, I am a lawyer’.

“This gave me the additional push I needed and I decided to explore what study options were available to me.”

Ms Gee explained her study journey first began when she discovered CQUniversity’s enabling course, Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS), which provided a pathway for her to enter university as a mature-aged student.

“I knew I wanted to study law, but I didn’t know where to start. It had been a long time since finishing high school and I didn’t have the university score to commence a degree,” Ms Gee said.

“Fortunately, I had a friend at work who advised me she had enrolled into STEPS to undertake her law degree. I had never heard of STEPS before so didn’t even know it was a pathway option to enter university.

“I found the program to be an excellent learning tool as it was self-paced.

“This was important as I was working full-time, juggling being a single parent for the majority of my studies, and was often travelling on the court circuit during the week.”

 After completing her STEPS studies, Ms Gee gained direct entry into a Bachelor of Laws where her dedication to her studies was only strengthened.

“As my role required me to travel to different courts across Central and North Queensland and undertake various roles in the Registry, managing my time was key,” she said.

“I was often waking up at 4am to do two hours of study before commencing my day.

“My mind was more alert during this time, and I could retain what I had learned. I also did assessments on weekends when necessary.”

Ms Gee also credited the support she received from CQUniversity in helping her succeed, providing the Bowen resident with the encouragement and guidance she needed to overcome challenges in her academic and personal life.

“As CQU is a regional university, they understand the issues faced by those living in a rural area, such as internet issues, lack of facilities, and travelling to sit exams.

“I also met some excellent lecturers who believed in my ability to complete my degree and helped me to form networks with other students. Making those connections whilst studying externally is important so you don’t feel like you are isolated whilst studying remotely,” she said.

“Unfortunately, I was involved in a car accident during my time of study, but the support that the university and student services gave me to continue with my studies was excellent. 

“They were very accommodating as I was able to put in place special arrangements at the time so I could sit my exams without having to drive long distances and have breaks so I was not sitting for long periods.

”Given her positive experience, Ms Gee said CQUniversity was the obvious choice when she decided to further advance her studies, enrolling in a Bachelor of Science (Criminology and Psychology). 

She explained that as her career developed, so too did her desire to gain practical knowledge and skills in the field of criminology.

“I love my work in the court environment and don’t see myself leaving. I always encourage people to consider a career in courts with DJAG,” Ms Gee said.

“In my current role, I am a policy officer in the Taskforce Response Unit (Women's Safety). Specifically, I am operationalising legislative amendments concerning domestic and family violence – analysing legislation for impacts on courts, including new processes and procedures, and drafting forms.

“My law degree has helped me to read and understand legislation and interpret changes, but the multidisciplinary perspective from my current studies will be a great asset.

“Whilst Registrar at the Supreme and District Courts in Cairns, the intermediary pilot program was introduced. I found this program interesting, and it piqued my interest in criminology and psychology.

“I believe that my ongoing studies are enhancing my capacity to make a positive and constructive contribution to justice administration and to help realise any opportunities for improvement in the future.”