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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



In the words of William Ah Ket in his paper ‘The Chinese and the Factories Acts’ (10 September 1906) "...when wholesale condemnation is indulged in concerning a race which must necessarily include good, bad, and indifferent, the unbiased mind will naturally enquire whether the whole truth is being told, or whether on the other hand either ignorant prejudice or improper motive underlies such sweeping charges."

How can the Australian legal profession and/or judiciary or wider legal system be improved to ensure the “unbiased mind” is brought to bear and the "whole truth is being told"?


5pm Monday 7th June 2021

Expressions of Interest Forms due (EOI Due Date)

5pm Monday 23rd August 2021

(Extended from 08/16/2021)

Papers and the Application Forms due (Application Due Date)

Late September 2021

Finalists notified of results

Early October 2021

Awards ceremony for finalists (Awards Ceremony)

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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

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The judging panel for the 2021 William Ah Ket Scholarship are:

1.   The Honourable Diana Bryant AO QC, former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Patron of the AALA;

2.   Professor Sarah Biddulph, Director of the Asian Law Centre and Professor of Law and Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor- International (China) at the University of Melbourne; and

3.   David Newman, Partner and CEO of Maddocks.


An initiative of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, and proudly sponsored by law firm Maddocks and supported by the University of Melbourne, 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.