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Blog Posts (27)

  • Successful Launch of CALD Issues Paper

    24 September 2022 On 12th September 2022, the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) along with the University of Melbourne celebrated the launch of the CALD Issues Paper authored by Mai Chen and Andrew Godwin. The event was joined by 80 participants, in person and online and was highlighted with valuable insight from Honourable Paul Coghlan AO KC (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria) and her Honour Judge My Anh Tran of the County Court of Victoria. His Honour Justice Coghlan stressed the need “to understand the nuances cultural diversity brings”, reasoning with the evidentiary issues in the prime Australian case Polyukhovic v The Commonwealth (1991) 172 CLR 501, and his own experience where an interpreter stated that the translation was futile because his honour was “talking about the onions” while the party was “talking about the garlic”. “People should be able to communicate what they want to communicate and do it properly, the judges should be informed” his Honour said. The CALD Issues Paper elucidates the need for judges to be informed and proposes initiatives to overcome the challenges faced by CALD communities in the court. Her Honour Judge Tran stated that the CALD Issues Report serves as the inception for change by “giving voice to the issue.” “Diversity and the ways to address it has always been an issue in the legal profession. In order to address these issues, we need to read the detailed report and learn from it…This is the path to working through those differences and reaching towards respect for all.” AALA President Molina Asthana shared her own experiences of some of the issues that CALD litigants face in accessing the justice system, including the concept of dowry, translators and appointment of expert in a matter that was cross jurisdictional. She highlighted that ‘unique issues require unique solutions because justice should not only be done but also seen to have been done’. She reiterated the importance of the research that has been carried out by the Superdiversity institute led by Mai Chan, which she said is revolutionary and has the potential to remove many barriers to access to justice for CALD litigants in the court system in Australia. We thank Mai and Andrew for all their hard work in authoring this Issues paper and and Andrew and the Asia Law Centore for hosting the event. The event was met with great enthusiasm from the audience and has received media coverage by ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-22/calls-for-legal-sector-to-embrace-cultural-diversity/101458606. We hope to continue promoting such impactful projects and work towards building a system that truly serves justice to all. For all media inquiries, please contact Molina Asthana on president@aala.vic.gov.au or 0400785299.

  • Media Release - CALD Issues Paper Launch Event

    07 September 2022 The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) is proud to announce the Australian launch of the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD) Issues Paper drafted by Mai Chen and Dr. Andrew Godwin with the support of The University of Melbourne, Super Diversity Institute, and AALA, on 12 September 2022. CALD parties have long faced barriers that disrupt their access to justice. The CALD Issues Paper seeks to identify these barriers and suggest ways of addressing them. The purpose of this Issues Paper is: 1. To outline for readers in Australia the key findings and recommendations of the CALD Report of the Superdiversity Institute in New Zealand entitled ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parties in the Courts: A Chinese Case Study’, published November 2019; 2. To outline the changes to the legal landscape elicited by the CALD Report; 3. To reflect on the insights that the recommendations of the CALD Report offers to Australia; 4. To propose an action plan for related initiatives to meet the challenges arising out of increasing superdiversity in Australian courts; and 5. To contribute to public discourse. Following its launch in November 2019, the CALD Report was acknowledged as ground-breaking and has materially assisted the consideration of the unique challenges for CALD parties in getting equal access to justice in New Zealand courts among the judiciary, the legal profession, and the broader community. The report was subsequently cited in the New Zealand Court of Appeal case Zheng v Deng [2020] NZCA 614 and in the recent Supreme Court case of Zheng v Deng [2022] NZSC 76. Given the report’s significant influence in New Zealand’s legal landscape and the long-term impacts of the discourse it has sparked, with a Global Symposium in Cultural Experts in the courts in the Sorbonne in 2023, we believe that these developments will provide valuable insight for Australia with its substantially similar legal system and superdiverse population. The launch will take place at The University of Melbourne Law School at 5.30 pm (registration) for a 6 pm start (AEST) and will be joined by the Honourable Paul Coghlan AO QC (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria) and her Honour Judge My Anh Tran of the County Court of Victoria. The launch will be a hybrid event allowing both in-person and online attendance. Registration is essential and can be done through the following link - http://membersuite.aala.org.au/event-4949339 We hope to see as many attendees as possible at the event so that the true impact of the CALD Issues Paper can be realised, thereby promoting greater access to justice for CALD parties in the courts and justice system. President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association Molina Asthana says that “This ground-breaking research from New Zealand, as contextualised for Australia, will for the first time explore issues of access to justice for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in the court system in Australia and recommend actions and initiatives that may assist in overcoming these challenges so that ‘Justice is not only done but seen to have been done’. We want to hear from all interested stakeholders so that the Comprehensive report when published, takes into account views of those who are directly involved in implementation.” Authors Mai and Andrew state they “hope that the Issues Paper will make a useful contribution to the discourse in Australia and elsewhere concerning the challenges facing CALD parties in the courts and how those challenges might be overcome to ensure everyone gets equal access to justice. We look forward to engaging further with stakeholders on these important Rule of Law issues.” For all media inquiries, please contact Molina Asthana on president@aala.vic.gov.au or 0400785299.

  • Obituary Statement in memory of John K Arthur

    The Asian Australian Lawyers Association has recently received the very sad news of the passing away of our very valued member, John K Arthur in a tragic motorbike accident in NSW. While we are still coming to terms with this tragedy, we want to acknowledge the valuable contribution that John made to the AALA as an executive member, and as our dear colleague and friend. Some words that have been used to describe him are kind, generous, insightful, empathetic and an amazing friend. He provided tremendous support and encouragement to many of us and was a wise counsel and enthusiastic supporter of our initiatives. His loss will be felt deeply across the AALA, the Victorian Bar and the profession. We provide our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

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  • William Ah Ket Scholarship Details | Asian Australian Lawyers Association | Diversity in Law | AALA | Australia

    THE WILLIAM AH KET SCHOLARSHIP The William Ah Ket scholarship is an annual scholarship awarded to the applicant who produces the most outstanding research paper on a topic relating to equality, diversity and the legal profession or the law and seeks to encourage persons at a junior stage of their legal career in Australia to contribute to the discourse on diversity and inclusion in the law and legal profession. ​ The scholarship is open to Australian residents (including permanent residents and foreign student visa holders) that are: ​ a. Admitted lawyers in any Australian jurisdiction; or b. Law graduates (Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor) currently undertaking practical legal training or a legal traineeship; or c. Final year law students, who have had not less than four (4) weeks’ legal work experience or completed a legal clerkship in Australia or overseas, ​ and provided the person is not a member of the AALA National Executive Committee and has no more than five (5) years’ post admission legal or academic experience (in Australia or overseas). ​ For more information about the William Ah Ket Scholarship, please email us at scholarship@aala.org.au EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FORM APPLICATION FORM TOPIC FOR 2022 SCHOLARSHIP I n Woman in a Wig: Joan Rosanove, QC (Lansdowne Press, 1970) at 13 Isabel Carter wrote that, ‘A Melbourne barrister, Mr Ah Ket, a friend of Mark’s [Joan’s father], said to her, "You and I have both chosen the wrong profession, Joan. We will never satisfy our ambitions. Neither of us will ever be made a judge, you because you are a woman. I because I am Chinese. We should have done Medicine. ’’ ​ The Australian legal profession and judiciary are lagging behind in cultural diversity, at least by comparison with certain other professions. What structural improvements can be made to the Australian legal profession and/or judiciary to bridge the cultural diversity gaps and break down persisting cultural barriers? KEY DATES 2022 SCHOLARSHIP 5pm Thursday 7th July 2022 Expressions of Interest Forms due (EOI Due Date) 5pm Monday 29th August 2022 Papers and the Application Forms due (Application Due Date) Late October 2022 Finalists notified of results 1 December 2022 Awards ceremony for finalists (Awards Ceremony) OTHER INFORMATION First Place Prize AUD 6,000 (First Place Prize) Finalists’ prize x 2 (other than first place) AUD 1,000 each (Finalists’ Prize) Word limit of entries 5,000 words excluding reasonable footnotes, appendices, and tables. Format of submission Microsoft Word format Citation Format The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition) JUDGING PANEL The judging panel for the 2022 William Ah Ket Scholarship consists of three members and includes: ​ 1. The Honourable Sarah Catherine Derrington AM, Judge of the Federal Court of Australia and President of the Australian Law Reform Commission; ​ 2. David Newman, Partner and CEO of Maddocks; and ​ 3. Anne Hewitt, Associate Professor at Adelaide Law School. PARTNERSHIPS An initiative of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, and proudly sponsored by law firm Maddocks and supported by the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Bar, the scholarship is designed to recognise the historical contribution of William Ah Ket to the legal profession as the first Asian Australian barrister in Australia.

  • Asian Australian Lawyers Association | Diversity in Law | AALA | Australia

    LEARN MORE NATIONAL APPROACH | LOCAL ENGAGEMENT GENERATIONAL IMPACT The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) is the first incorporated association in Australia to focus on the growing number of Asian Australian lawyers in the profession. ​ AALA is a national, non-for-profit organisation with Branches in seven states/territories, welcoming Members from all walks of legal life including students, lawyers and principals from small, medium and large firms, barristers, in-house and government lawyers. Since its establishment, AALA has become a leading voice for cultural diversity in the legal profession, working with peak bodies and organisations to promote intersectional diversity in the law and equitable access to the law. JOIN AALA ABOUT AALA Learn more about our AALA, including our Founding Objectives, history, patrons and governing documents & reports. READ MORE LEADERSHIP We are a national organisation with operating branches across Australia. View our current branches and meet our branch members. READ MORE MEMBERSHIP Unlock a national support network with one membership! Learn more about our membership options. READ MORE LATEST NEWS Read about the latest AALA News from our branches, and access past articles via the AALA archive. READ MORE AALA EVENTS We host many different event types, from panel discussions to social catchups. View our upcoming events. READ MORE NATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES We offer a range of programs & national opportunities available for AALA members. READ MORE UPCOMING EVENTS Join up as a member today and gain access to regular events, including career workshops, cocktail evenings, panel sessions and more! VIEW EVENTS OUR NATIONAL SPONSOR Baker McKenzie is an international law firm with 77 offices across 46 countries. As the first truly global law firm, our origins are rooted in the respect for and appreciation of difference. Our own diversity mirrors our commitment to exploring multiple perspectives to develop the best possible solutions for our clients and to fostering a culture of respect and inclusion that celebrates diversity. Inclusion & diversity (I&D) are in our DNA. ​ AALA has enjoyed the generous support it has received from Baker McKenzie over the years and appreciates the genuine passion, support and collaboration.

  • Publications | Asian Australian Lawyers Association | Diversity in Law | AALA | Australia

    PUBLICATIONS NATIONAL CULTURAL DIVERSITY REPORT 2015 On 14 April 2015, the AALA launched its report on cultural diversity within the legal profession. ​ Previously, the existence of a “bamboo ceiling” in the legal profession has only been supported by anecdotal evidence. The AALA Cultural Diversity Analysis is the first research project of its kind in Australia which specifically addresses the gap in statistics on the level Asian Australian representation in the senior ranks of the legal profession – from solicitors, to barristers and the judiciary. ​ Our infographic shows a summary of the report’s key findings.Obtain a full copy of the report and view the infographic below. CULTURAL DIVERSITY INFOGRAPHIC 2015 CULTURAL DIVERSITY REPORT 2015 FOREIGN QUALIFIED LAWYERS SUBCOMMITTEE, FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) GUIDE - JULY 2021 The Foreign Qualified Lawyers Subcommittee was established in 2020 by foreign qualified lawyers, for foreign qualified lawyers. ​ Due to high demand, the FQL Subcommittee have come together to publish a Frequently Asked Questions Guide (FAQ Guide) . The FAQ Guide is current as of July 2021 and is intended to provide a brief introduction to qualification in Australia. The FAQ Guide continues to be developed and the FQL Subcommittee welcome your feedback. ​ To contact the FQL Subcommittee, email Kripi Bhatt (Chair, FQL Subcommittee) at nsw@aala.org.au VIEW FAQ GUIDE SUPERDIVERSITY INSTITUTE REPORT (2019) The AALA inaugural National Cultural Diversity Summit in 2020 welcomed Mai Chen, Chair of the Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business. Based in New Zealand, Chen's advocacy and research explores the issues and barriers that CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) parties encounter in litigation and court systems. The Report provides an indepth insight into the impact that culture, language and the rule of law have on CALD parties and the premise of equal access to justice. After survey and responses across the industry, the report makes 43 wide-ranging recommendations for Judges, interpreters, Ministry of Justice, legal practitioners, investigators and educational providers. SUPERDIVERSITY INSTITUTE REPORT (2019) TO AUS, WITH LAW FOREIGN QUALIFIED LAWYERS NEWSLETTER Launched in 2022, get to know your fellow foreign qualified colleagues and learn their stories and tips! Edition 1, 2022 Edition 2, 2022 Edition 3, 2022 Edition 4, 2022 Edition 5, 2022 Edition 6, 2022 WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH AALA AND SHARE YOUR STORY? CONTACT US AT MEMBERSHIP@AALA.ORG.AU NSW CULTURAL DIVERSITY REPORT 2022 The Data and Policy Subcommittee of the NSW Branch is working together with the Women Lawyers' Association to deliver a special joint Report identifying barriers to career progression faced by culturally diverse solicitors. The Report findings will be based on two sets of data: ​ SURVEY An online Survey opened to all NSW solicitors. This Survey will collect quantitative data and will ask participants to share any qualitative experiences they may have. The Survey is completely anonymous and confidential. The Survey has been extended and will close on 1 July 2022. ​ FOCUS GROUP 4+ PQE solicitors who identify as culturally diverse, are invited to participate in a Focus Group. The Focus Group will be hosted by a neutral facilitator and the discussion will be guided on the results of the Survey while also providing participants with the opportunity to share their stories and opinions about barriers they have faced to their own career progression. Date: Thursday, 7 July 2022 Time: 12noon - 2:00pm Venue: In person at King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney, or online. ​ REGISTRATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FOCUS GROUP IS OPEN **If you would like to participate in the Focus Group, email us at aalanswsurvey@outlook.com ​ All data is confidential and will be collected and owned by AALA. We are proud of this project and are grateful for the support of the Women Lawyers' Association as supporting organisation, and King & Wood Mallesons . To fix an issue, we must first understand what the issue is. This is the objective of the NSW Cultural Diversity 2022 Report. ​ The Report and an event to mark the publication of the Report will be hosted at a date to be confirmed in late 2022. ​ We ask that all firms in NSW circulate the Survey to their practitioners to complete and that all practitioners consider participating in the Focus Group. We are in this together. ​ ​ **Please do not use this email to ask questions or provide comments about the survey. Survey data is collected on an anonymous basis. PARTICIPATE IN THE SURVEY NOW! READ THE FLYER

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