Meet our latest LIV award winner

Meet our latest LIV award winner

Monday, 28 May 2018

Program Manager, Migration, Chelsea Clark was recently honoured by being awarded the Paul Baker Award at the 2018 Law Institute of Victoria Awards.

Learn more about what the award means to her and how Victoria Legal Aid has helped her indulge her passion for human rights.

What is the Paul Baker Aw​​ard and what does it recognise?

The Paul Baker award was established to recognise the outstanding contribution of an individual in the field of administrative or human rights law.

Can you provide a short sum​​mary of the work that you undertook which contributed to you winning the award

My practice is focused on providing refugee law advice, casework, and advocacy services to asylum seekers, with a particular focus on judicial review in the Federal Circuit Court and Federal Court of Australia.

I assisted to develop and co-ordinate our response to the introduction of the Fast Track Review Process and was the instructing lawyer in the Full Federal Court matter of Minister for Immigration v AMA16, and the High Court matter of Plaintiff M174/16.

Program Manager, Migration, Chelsea Clark
Above: Program Manager, Migration, Chelsea Clark

What does the award me​an to you?

I am very proud and humbled. I think it is great that the work of Victoria Legal Aid and the migration practice is recognised.

I also hope that this award helps to raise awareness about the government's treatment of asylum seekers in Australia and the important role that we play in funding strategic litigation to ensure that government and administrative power does not go unchecked.

How has working at Victoria Legal Aid helped y​​ou indulge your passion for human rights law?

The work of civil justice is the work of human rights.

Every day, our lawyers are working with some of the most disadvantaged people in our legal system to try to ensure their basic rights are protected.

The work of the Migration Program is also focused on a commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring there are appropriate checks and balances on executive power. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given to work with asylum seekers, and I hope that the work of the program can continue to help protect individual rights while effecting more systemic change.

Is there anyone else you would like to thank at Victoria Legal Aid who has assisted you in your career and contributed to you winning this award?

We often stand on the shoulders of others when receiving awards, and there are many people I would like to thank including:

  • Economic and Social Rights Program Manager Joel Townsend for the nomination, and for encouraging the team to identify and run strategic litigation
  • Executive Director Criminal Law Dan Nicholson who has been a fantastic supporter of the Migration Program
  • The whole team – I think it is important to acknowledge everyone in the Migration team (past and present) who do amazing work every day
  • The late John Gibson, who took me under his wing and inspired me to be a true judicial review nerd
  • Lisa DeFerrari, Richard Knowles, and many others from Vic Bar who continue to inspire me.

​I am honoured and grateful for the recognition, although a little embarrassed as there are really so many amazing people who work in this area, and who would have been equally as worthy of this award.

We would also like to congratulate Bendigo Deputy Managing Lawyer Majella Foster-Jones who was nominated for an LIV award.

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