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Legal profession celebrated in Human Rights Award shortlist

Commission Commission – General

Stephen Kenny, the lawyer who represented Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, is one of four nominees shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 Human Rights Law Award.

Professor Paul Redmond from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), is also on the Law Award shortlist, together with Gilbert + Tobin lawyer, Darren Fittler.

Professor Redmond is the Sir Gerard Brennan Professor of the UTS Law Faculty. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013 for services to legal education and the community.

Darren Fittler is a member of the Disability Advisory Council for the NSW Department of Justice. He also leads Gilbert + Tobin’s Third Sector Advisory Group, providing legal assistance to the charity, philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors.

The international law firm, Allens, rounds off the Commission’s Law Award shortlist, in recognition of its pro bono work advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals.

Allens recently assisted Australian Marriage Equality with its intervention in Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory [2013] HCA 55, providing specialist advice in the landmark High Court case that gave legal recognition in NSW to a third ‘non-specific sex’ gender category. 

Australian Human Rights Commission president, Professor Gillian Triggs, congratulated all of the nominees for this year’s Law Award.

“The Law Award shortlist reflects both the range and the impact of the human rights work undertaken by our legal community, often in a pro bono or volunteer capacity,” Professor Triggs said.

“Mr Kenny has acted for a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in relation to Native Title claims, and he has provided pro bono advice to the Foreign Prisoner Support Group.

“Professor Paul Redmond has a distinguished record of achievement together with a research focus on corporate responsibility for human rights protections. In particular, his work reflects a commitment to advancing human rights in the Asia Pacific Region.”

Professor Triggs also commended Allens for its commitment to LGBTI equality, noting that in addition its pro bono work, the law firm was the first of its peers in Australia to join the Pride in Diversity workplace program.

Professor Triggs said the fourth finalist for the 2014 Human Rights Law Award, Darren Fittler, has dedicated much of his legal life to assisting the charity, philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors, and advocating for the rights of people with disability.

“In addition to his work with Gilbert + Tobin, Mr Fittler is a member of the Disability Advisory Council for the NSW Department of Justice and is a board member of Media Access Australia.

“Mr Fittler has made a very significant contribution in a number of ways to advancing and protecting human rights for all Australians, working all the way up to the United Nations as part of a non-government delegation to the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability,” Professor Triggs said.

The 2014 Australian Human Rights Awards will be presented at a cocktail-style event to mark International Human Rights Day, 10 December, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Craig Reucassel from The Chaser will MC the Human Rights Awards presentation again this year. Tickets are available online at

Media contact:  Dominic O’Grady 02 9284 9891 or 0419 258 597