find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
QC wins Human Rights Medal

QC wins Human Rights Medal

Ron Merkel QC has won the 2011 Human Rights Medal at the Australian Human Rights Commission's annual Human Rights Awards.The awards, which took place at a sold-out event in Sydney last Friday…

Ron Merkel QC has won the 2011 Human Rights Medal at the Australian Human Rights Commission's annual Human Rights Awards.

The awards, which took place at a sold-out event in Sydney last Friday (9 December), were in celebration of International Human Rights Day, celebrated on 10 December each year around the world.

Commission president Catherine Branson QC congratulated Merkel, a former founding trustee of the Koori Aboriginal Heritage Trust and president of the Victorian and Australian Councils of Civil Liberties, on his extraordinary efforts in protecting and promoting human rights in Australia.

"For 40 years, Ron Merkel has devoted himself to access to justice for people who are marginalised and disadvantaged. He has had a long and outstanding commitment to the promotion and advancement of human rights as a legal practitioner," said Branson.

"Ron Merkel takes on cases that many others would avoid and his advocacy spreads far and wide including defending the rights of prisoners to vote in elections and protecting the rights of Indigenous Australians."

More than 200 entries were received for this year's awards, with 40 finalists selected in 10 categories.

Finalists for the 2011 Human Rights Medal included David Manne, executive director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre (RILC); former ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope; and Muriel Bamblett, a Yorta Yorta woman and the long-standing CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA).

Allens Arthur Robinson, RILC, Debbie Mortimer SC and Richard Niall SC (Vic) won the Law Award for their successful pro bono work in two landmark High Court cases which upheld human rights and the rule of law.

In Plaintiff M61 v The Commonwealth & Ors , the team acted on behalf of two Sri Lankan asylum seekers who arrived by boat at Christmas Island and sought to claim refugee status. In Plaintiff M70 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the team acted for two asylum seekers, including one 16-year-old child, scheduled to be deported from Christmas Island to Malaysia for the processing of their refugee claims.

Nineteen-year-old Tshibanda Gracia Ngoy from Berkeley in NSW won the Young People's Human Rights Medal. Ngoy is a caseworker for refugee families, a radio co-host, a tutor for international students, a youth motivational speaker, and a member of the Illawarra Regional Advisory Council, NSW Multicultural Youth Network, and the Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families.

Branson also delivered the 2011 Human Rights Day Oration and announced a new Commission initiative, entitled "Something In Common", to build understanding and respect for human rights in Australia through social media.

"We have developed a micro site, TellMeSomethingIDontKnow.gov.au, [which] presents a series of human rights facts that are arresting and sometimes shocking," said Branson.

Users of the site have the opportunity to add their stories, contribute to Australian film reviews that deal with human rights issues, respond to polls and commit to taking a number of online and offline actions.

"It is impossible to refute the reach of social media and impossible to ignore it if human rights education and community engagement are to remain relevant," said Branson.

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

QC wins Human Rights Medal
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
06:04
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
06:00
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
recognised for human rights work
06:00
LexisNexis executive recognised for human rights work
A LexisNexis executive has been announced as a finalist in a global awards program for women in busi...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...