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MELBOURNE BARRISTER WINS 2004 HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AWARD

Commission Commission – General

10
December 2004

MELBOURNE BARRISTER WINS 2004 HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AWARD

Melbourne
barrister Julian Burnside QC has won the 2004 Human
Rights Law award for his work in protecting individual and group human
rights.

Mr Burnside has been extensively and consistently involved
in pro-bono legal work for asylum seekers (including the well-known Tampa case)
- not least through Spare Lawyers for Refugees, which he established
in order to encourage other lawyers (now over 250 nationwide) to volunteer
their time and professional expertise to help refugees and asylum seekers.
He and his wife also established Spare Rooms for Refugees to provide
material support and accommodation for refugees in the general community.

He teaches and trains young lawyers internationally
and is outspoken about human rights and freedoms in the legal profession,
in the media and in the community. In 2004, with Malcolm Fraser, Robert
Manne and Young Australian of the Year Hugh Evans, he started The
Justice Project
- a group that supports basic human rights for all
in the community and provides humanitarian assistance in many ways.

Four other entries were highly commended:

Phillip Taylor: for his tireless
pro-bono work while working as National Practice Group Head of Freehills
Banking and Finance Groups and helping to make pro-bono legal work
the regular focus of many Australian law firms.

Stephen Kenny: for his work for the
Ngarrindjerri men in the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Royal Commission and
for his representation of Aboriginal people in native title applications
as well as pro-bono work for migrant families and community groups.

Eric Vadarlis: for his passionate
work in striving for the rights of adults and children in immigration
detention in Australia and on Manus Island and Nauru. Despite being
a sole practitioner, Mr Vadarlis devotes a significant amount of time
and energy to pro-bono work in human rights law, particularly representing
the interests of refugees.

PILCH Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic: a
joint project of the Public Interest Law Clearing House (Vic) Inc and
the Council to Homeless Persons) for providing free legal assistance
to and advocacy on behalf of people who are homeless or at risk of
homelessness.

Last
updated 14 December 2004.