Skip to main content

Pro bono work shines on law award shortlist

Legal Legal
Composite image of law finalists

Legal professionals who have represented some of the most vulnerable members of our community have been recognised as finalists in the 2016 Human Rights Awards.

Sponsored by the Law Council of Australia, the prestigious Law Award is presented annually to an individual or organisation with a track record in promoting and advancing human rights in Australia through the practice of law. It is one of eight awards that will be presented at the 30th annual Human Rights Awards on Friday 9 December.

“The Law Award shines a light on the efforts of lawyers and organisations who are committed to assisting some of the most disadvantaged members of our community as they navigate the legal system,” said Australian Human Rights Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs.

“This year’s finalists have each shown exceptional leadership within the legal profession, not only through their pro bono work, but also by advocating for social justice and human rights issues. Through their work they embody one of the highest principles in the legal profession: that justice should not be denied to people because of their means.”

The 2016 Law Award finalists are:

  • Anna Cody, Kingsford Legal Centre: As Director of Kingsford Legal Centre, Anna Cody has provided high quality case work to thousands of disadvantaged people, as well as advocating for law reform to address systemic human rights breaches. She has provided leadership in the legal assistance sector on boards and within community legal centres, as well as through her work engaging with students about their responsibility to work on social justice and human rights.
  • Knowmore Legal Service: Knowmore is an independent service that gives free legal advice to people considering telling their story to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Knowmore employs an innovative multidisciplinary model to provide legal assistance within a trauma-informed and culturally safe framework for its clients, promoting their human rights as they engage with the Royal Commission.
  • Maurice Blackburn Lawyers: Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has led litigation in the public interest for many years, including on behalf of refugees and workers who have been underpaid. In 2015 and 2016, Maurice Blackburn conducted several large scale pro bono actions that addressed discrimination and human rights issues including those of young people, people with disabilities and people seeking asylum.
  • Peter O’Brien: Peter O’Brien has spent many years working as a lawyer and human rights advocate, most recently representing Dylan Voller and Jake Roper in their civil suit against the Northern Territory’s corrective services. Peter has advocated for the immediate welfare of Dylan Voller, condemned the abuse of juveniles in detention and called for the widest possible terms of reference for the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
  • Steven Glass, Gilbert + Tobin: A highly respected commercial litigator and solicitor of 25 years, Steven has shown a long-standing commitment to pro bono work and has led the development of Gilbert + Tobin’s pro bono refugee practice. He has acted pro bono in a significant number of important human rights cases, representing disadvantaged and marginalised clients including refugees and Indigenous Australians.

The Human Rights Awards will be held on Friday 9 December from 12 to 3pm at the Westin Sydney.

For more information or to reserve a ticket visit:

Composite image of awards sponsors