Getting to know Melinda Walker

Getting to know Melinda Walker

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Melinda Walker is a Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) panel member and an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist. Melinda is also a current member of the Executive Committee for the Criminal Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Melinda Walker
Above: Melinda Walker

What was your job prior to opening your own firm?

I worked as a legal practitioner at a firm in Collingwood where I had completed articles and worked as a volunteer for more than eight and a half years.

How long have you been a panel practitioner and what attracted you to do legally aided work?

I have been a panel practitioner since the panel was established. I was a participant in the pilot programs leading up to the launch of the panel. I have always worked closely with people who are marginalised or disadvantaged and who are more likely to require services without cost. Through my close associations over the years with support services and community organisations, I have strived to ensure that those who are unable to afford legal representation have adequate access – whether that be on a pro bono or legally aided basis.

What is your role and what do you do?

I am the principal solicitor of my firm which has been my role for the past 15 years and I work exclusively in criminal law.

Tell us about one of the key issues in your area of practice

There are numerous key issues in the criminal justice system currently and I advocate across all areas. The current overcrowding in corrections facilities, the administration of the courts, sentencing, family violence, youth justice and bail reform are some of the key issues which are presently at the forefront of the administration of justice. I am the Chair the LIV Bail Reform Working Group and I am currently a member of the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation – Bail Reform Implementation Group. This group is responsible for the implementation of the recommendations from the Justice Coghlan Bail Review report, one of the most significant law reforms in Victoria in recent times.

What is your favourite saying or quote and why?

'Life is an adventure of our own design, intersected by fate in a series of lucky and unlucky accidents.'

This quote represents for me the fragility of life and reminds me to never take anything for granted.

What has been the most memorable (unforgettable) moment in your life thus far and why?

I have had many memorable or unforgettable moments in my life thus far so it’s hard to pick just one. I am a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, partner and friend to many and I think when you reach a certain time in your life, each moment is unforgettable.

Which three people (living or dead) would you like to invite to a dinner party and why?

  1. David Bowie – because I think he was one of history’s iconic artists
  2. Patti Smith – because I think she is one of the most iconic poets and one of the most interesting women of my time
  3. David Ross QC – he was my mentor, he loved my partner’s cooking and I would love to see him again because I never had the opportunity to say goodbye.

What is your favourite book and why?

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. It is the most divine written piece of art I have ever read and highlighted the way that humanity can treat their own simply because of difference.

More information

Fore more information about Melinda Walker, see her website: www.melwalker.com.au.