Victoria Legal Aid

Program supporting young 'westie' lawyers wins legacy nod

Our Regional Associate Director, North, Tamsin Mildenhall has received the inaugural Stephen Myall award.

Tuesday 25 July 2023 10:20pm
A head shot of Tamsin. She has long blonde hair, blue eyes and is wearing a navy coloured suit.
Regional Associate Director, North, Tamsin Mildenhall is the inaugural winner of the Stephen Myall award.

We are delighted that our initiative to remember the kind mentorship of Magistrate Stephen Myall has been recognised with the inaugural award in his name.

'It’s a huge honour, especially to be nominated along with other outstanding organisations and people,’ said Regional Associate Director, North, Tamsin Mildenhall, who has received the first Stephen Myall Award.

The Victorian Magistrates’ Association (VMA) has commissioned the award, in partnership with the Law Institute of Victoria, in honour of Magistrate Stephen Myall. He died in 2018.

‘He was kind and considerate and really looked to the people in his court – no matter if it was the accused or practitioners or prosecutors and court staff – he really tried to see the person,’ said Tamsin.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Timothy Bourke spoke on behalf of the VMA at the award ceremony.

‘The award is in recognition of Steve’s commitment to the criminal law in this state, not just as a magistrate, but as a prominent criminal lawyer. In both roles he was renowned for his commitment to therapeutic and social justice.

‘He was a committed advocate for the vulnerable and underprivileged,’ said Magistrate Bourke.

We nominated Tamsin for the award for establishing the Stephen Myall Graduate Law program at our Sunshine office while she was regional manager.

The program provides for a recent law graduate from Victoria University in Melbourne’s west to work at our Sunshine office while completing their post-graduate studies.

‘This was to try to give “westies” a foot in the door to practice – to give meaningful and practical experience to people who wouldn't traditionally have the cultural capital to get into legal aid or the profession,’ said Tamsin.

‘His Honour’s focus was on social justice and mentorship and he took time to encourage young practitioners in his court. I really wanted something positive to come from a terribly sad time.’

The program is currently in its fourth year and is already helping our Sunshine office to better reflect the community it serves.

Remembering a champion of social justice

The VMA says the Stephen Myall Award is to recognise someone who demonstrates an ongoing commitment to social justice issues and who encourages and inspires others to also do so.

‘I know personally from conversations with Steve just how much he loved Tamsin and I have no doubt he would be thrilled to see this award in his name bestowed upon her tonight,’ said Magistrate Bourke.

Tamsin was nominated by our Director, Summary Crime and Therapeutic Justice, Kate Bundrock.

‘Across a number of roles, Tamsin has shown her commitment and passion to providing legal assistance for marginalised and disadvantaged members of our community,’ said Kate.

‘Not only is she an accomplished criminal lawyer and leader, she is a strong advocate for the importance of the law becoming a more diverse and caring profession.’

Tamsin would prefer to keep the spotlight on the graduate program and the compassionate approach of Stephen Myall that it honours.

‘It’s why [his death] had a huge impact on me and a lot of the lawyers who practiced at Sunshine – he really cared about rehabilitation and therapeutic outcomes, and we saw a lot of ourselves in him.’

We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Myall family for the graduate program.

More information

Read more information about the Stephen Myall Graduate Program.

Reviewed 25 July 2023