A non-lawyer has won the 2009 Justice Medal, awarded annually by the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.
Dr Eileen Baldry received her award from former Chief Justice of Australia, Sir Anthony Mason, at a dinner at Parliament House on 1 October 2009.
Baldry has a reputation as an engaged academic and activist. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of NSW, Dr Baldry has made a significant contribution over decades to improving access for prisoners and people with mental disability or cognitive impairment to the criminal justice system.
Outside work Dr Baldry has devoted many unpaid hours to leading and supporting voluntary organisations and helping those affected by criminal justice policy in NSW to have their voices heard in policy debate.
The Bar Association's Legal Assistance Referral Service (LARS) also received a high commendation for its pro bono work. The association was nominated for the Pro Bono Partnership award because of its role in the pilot of the Sexual Assault Communications Project, designed to protect the privilege of victims' medical records during sexual assault trials.
The Women's Legal Service, Blakes, Freehills, Clayton Utz and the DPP also participated in the scheme. About 35 barristers volunteered to attend a training seminar and provided pro bono legal services.
Each year the NSW Bar Association sponsors the Law and Justice Volunteer Award, which was this year awarded to the Southern Women's Group for their work representing women and children on the South Coast who are the victims of domestic violence.