find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Lawyers weigh in on legal response to asylum seekers

Lawyers weigh in on legal response to asylum seekers

The professional body representing Australian lawyers says recommendations by the expert panel on asylum seekers have cleared the way for laws with negative consequences.

THE professional body representing Australian lawyers says recommendations by the expert panel on asylum seekers to the government have cleared the way for laws that could have unforeseen, negative consequences.

The Law Council of Australia expressed disappointment this week at several of the recommendations contained in the recent Expert Panel on Asylum Seeker’s report to the Government, particularly those allowing offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Law Council of Australia president, Catherine Gale, said some recommendations reflect a punitive approach to asylum seeker policy, including possibly turning boats back in the future.

“For many years the Law Council has opposed offshore processing, mandatory detention and other policies aimed at punishing those seeking protection in Australia and the Law Council is disappointed the Expert Panel has made a number of recommendations to establish a system of offshore processing, initially in Nauru and PNG.

“These recommendations may result in asylum seekers spending considerable periods of time in other countries awaiting the outcome of their protection claims.

“Through these recommendations the Expert Panel has cleared the way for legislation to be enacted which could have unforeseen, negative consequences for the rights of asylum seekers,” Gale said.

Gale said the Law Council is pleased with recommendations relating to a significant increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake and enhancing protections for refugees around the region,

The Law Council said that despite being proposed as a short-term solution by the Expert Panel, there is a risk that the laws giving effect to these recommendations result in a new form of Pacific Solution.

The previous ‘Pacific Solution’ resulted in many individuals suffering harsh conditions and significant mental harm in offshore detention centres, while later being found to be genuine refugees.

“To mitigate against this outcome, the Law Council urges the Parliament to ensure that any legislative instruments authorising a location for offshore processing are subject to regular Parliamentary review,” Gale said.

“There is also a need to give legislative effect to the types of safeguards outlined in the Expert Panel report, such as the provision of assistance during the preparation of protection applications and the establishment of an appeal mechanism against negative decisions on such applications,” she said.

The Law Council argues that legal assistance should provided to asylum seekers at all stages of the application process, including merits and judicial review.

Gale said safeguards need to be included in the legislative and policy responses to protect the rights of vulnerable people seeking protection in Australia.

“Failure to include such safeguards will result in the serious erosion of legal rights and will result in a critical opportunity being missed to develop a sustainable regional response to this complex issue,” Gale said.


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers weigh in on legal response to asylum seekers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Aug 16 2017
Urgent criminal law reforms can prevent ‘unwarranted acquittals’
Concerns about unfair prejudice arising from the use of tendency and coincidence evidence are mispla...
Aug 15 2017
Press Control-S on your firm
Promoted by BHL Software It’s now a truism that when your IT systems stop working, so does you...
Aug 15 2017
The Importance of Leadership Skills for Aspiring Lawyers
Promoted by LHD Lawyers Even the most prominent lawyers of our age (or ages past, for that matter...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...