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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



In 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? 


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

12 December 2022

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 (4th edition)

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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.


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.

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