Helping Australia's most vulnerable people
Macquarie Social Justice Clinic provides much-needed help to some of Australia's most vulnerable people and communities and a powerful learning opportunity for our students.
The Social Justice Clinic’s innovative model offers students hands-on legal experience under the supervision of experienced human rights and public interest lawyers.
Taking a lead from the United States-style clinical education model, the University appoints lawyers from partner organisations as academic staff, placing the emphasis on students’ education rather than on caseload and clients.
Students can expect to work on real-world social justice cases, undertaking a range of activities including legal research and writing, client interviewing and non-legal advocacy. Placements are run on campus at Macquarie Law School in partnership with leading Australian public interest legal practices. With a focus on hands-on practical training, the experience prepares students for work in the social justice advocacy area.
- Teaching law students lawyering and advocacy skills through practical experience in the provision of legal assistance to vulnerable groups and broader advocacy for issues concerning public interest.
- Providing legal assistance to those who may otherwise have no means of accessing it.
- Acting as a vehicle for progressive social, political and legal change through the running of test cases and broader advocacy and policy work.
It is vital that young lawyers should get experience in the challenges of social justice that arise in police stations, courthouses and tribunals. The problems change (today many will involve refugee applicants); but some of them remain the same. Reminding law students, whilst undertaking their legal studies at Macquarie University, of the realities of injustice and inequality in Australia is not only helpful for those in need. It is also a big motivator for what originally inspired most of the law students to get involved with the law.
Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, past Justice of the High Court of Australia and Chancellor of Macquarie University
Last updated: 17 Dec 2019