Human rights law has become increasingly relevant in Australia with the introduction of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (VIC), and increasing international regulation and monitoring of human rights compliance.
The King & Wood Mallesons Human Rights Law Group (HRLG) operates across the firm, bringing a uniquely national and international perspective to our clients’ matters and offering the latest global insights relevant to human rights issues. To read more about our commercial expertise in human rights law click here.
Our HRLG also makes a meaningful contribution to vulnerable individuals and the community by engaging in cutting-edge human rights law case work and advocacy on a pro bono basis.
The Human Rights Report Card 2013 can be found here.
Recent activities include:
Preparing a submission to the four-year review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the only law firm making a submission on its own behalf; the submission was cited 20+ times in the review report prepared by the Victorian Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee).
Co-hosting the King & Wood Mallesons / Castan Centre annual human rights lecture, presented by Joy Ezeilo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
Preparing a briefing paper for the Human Rights Law Centre to provide to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children for her visit to Australia.
Assisting the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre with Federal Magistrates Court and Federal Court judicial review applications. We also assist the ASRC by transcribing tapes of Immigration Department interviews with asylum seekers, and provide the ASRC with other ad hoc administrative assistance.
Assisting the Human Rights Law Centre to prepare a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into Australia’s export credit arrangements.
Assisting the International Detention Coalition to prepare a handbook on alternatives to immigration detention
Assisting the Human Rights Law Centre to prepare a communication on behalf of an individual complainant to the UN Human Rights Committee.
Hosting (with Jonathan Kelp of the Melbourne HRLG chairing) a seminar on human trafficking run by Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and the International Law Association (Vic).
Hosting a seminar to mark the lodgement of the 2011 NGO report on the Rights of the Child (with UNICEF and NCYLC).
Continuing to provide case notes and articles for the Human Rights Law Centre’s monthly human rights newsletter.
Acting for two young plaintiffs who brought a landmark constitutional challenge to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) — and won. This ground-breaking decision of the High Court of Australia in Rowe v Electoral Commissioner enabled almost 100,000 additional Australians to vote at the 2010 Federal Election. See our media release here.
Our HRLG has a number of strong partnerships and welcomes the opportunity to develop new relationships with suitable organisations.
In Sydney, the work of the HRLG is underpinned by its partnerships with the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre (DDLC), a community legal centre working to provide justice for persons with disabilities, and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS). As part of these partnerships, the HRLG provides the DDLC and RACS with ongoing legal advice and other administrative support. For example, through our partnership with RACS, solicitors from the firm’s Sydney Centre have been seconded to RACS offices full time, and others have provided administrative law advice and representation in the Federal Magistrates Court to potential refugees who have been refused a protection visa and who have been unsuccessful before the Refugee Review Tribunal.
In Melbourne, the HRLG assisted with the establishment of the Human Rights Law Resource Centre (HRLRC), and is significantly involved in the HRLRC's continuing work through the provision of research and drafting assistance in relation to numerous human rights law projects and through regular contributions to the HRLRC's publications. The HRLG has also recently formalised a partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.