PATRON

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The Honourable Tony Fitzgerald AC QC

"I'm proud to be associated with the Grata Fund at this critical time for our democracy. Thanks to the Grata Fund, Australians are better able to hold politicians and corporate leaders accountable in court when they fail to adhere to basic principles of accountability and good governance."

Tony Fitzgerald is an iconic legal figure who, over the course of his distinguished career as a barrister and judge, has brought about significant reforms to standards of government accountability, transparency and adherence to the rule of law in Australia. He presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption in Queensland’s police force and politics. He has been a Member of the Australian Law Reform Commission and was the Inaugural Chairman of the Queensland Litigation Reform Commission. Among his many governance positions, he was the Chairperson of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre and the Chairperson of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. He now practices in mediation, arbitration, and expert determinations in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, specialising in corporate and commercial law.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

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Isabelle Reinecke

Executive Director and Founder

Isabelle Reinecke is the Executive Director and Founder of Grata Fund and is passionate about unlocking the power of the law to fight systemic injustice and empower communities into the future.

Isabelle has worked as a solicitor at Clayton Utz in Sydney, where she specialised in corporate law and was deeply involved in their pro bono program. Isabelle's work included supporting Aboriginal people and communities in the East Kimberley to secure compensation for decades of stolen wages, and supporting survivors of trafficking and sexual servitude and family violence to secure compensation in New South Wales.
Isabelle was previously Director of Legal and Governance at GetUp and has served as board member for the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre in Sydney. During university at ANU, Isabelle worked at the Aboriginal Legal Service in Canberra, the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department and as a research assistant for the Centre for International and Public Law.

In 2015, she was nominated for a Walkley Award for Coverage of Indigenous Affairs and was a finalist in the United Nations of Australia Media Peace Awards for the Promotion of Indigenous Recognition Award for her work with Miriuwung Marda-Marda Steve Kinnane and lawyer Judy Harrison on stolen wages.

Isabelle is a Churchill Fellow and in 2017 spent her Fellowship conducting field research into strategic litigation finance and strategy in the UK, Europe and USA in order to inform Grata Fund's strategy. She holds a a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the Australian National University, where she was awarded the Dean's Certificate Prize for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

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Lou Dargan

Head of Strategic Litigation

Lou Dargan is a human rights lawyer and advocate with experience working for reproductive justice in the US, transitional justice and victims' rights in Sri Lanka, and exposing child abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Before joining the Grata Fund, Lou worked for the South Asian Centre for Legal Studies (SACLS) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she worked to ensure victims of the Sri Lankan civil war receive reparations for human rights abuses suffered during the conflict. Before moving to Sri Lanka, Lou completed an LLM at NYU, on a scholarship awarded by the University. At NYU, Lou received the Jerome Lipper Award for Distinction in International Legal Studies and was an International Law and Human Rights Fellow. Lou was also a member of NYU's Reproductive Justice Clinic, where she advocated for the rights of pregnant and parenting women.

Previously, Lou was a senior lawyer at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, working on cases which exposed repeated failures by Catholic Church leaders to deal with abuse. Lou is also an experienced commercial lawyer, having worked for Clayton Utz in their litigation and international arbitration practice, before turning her focus to human rights work.

Lou was tipstaff to Chief Justice Allsop in 2011 and holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts with a politics major from Macquarie University. She received the University Medal in law and was ranked first in her graduating law class.

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Maria Nawaz

Acting Head of Strategic Litigation

Maria Nawaz is a human rights lawyer and academic with expertise in human rights, discrimination law and women’s rights.

Maria is an experienced public interest advocate, having advocated for stronger human rights protections with individual clients and the community at the NSW, Commonwealth and international levels. She is currently a Lecturer at UNSW Law, where she co-teaches the UNSW Human Rights Clinic.

Maria was previously the Law Reform and Policy Solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre, where she led the centre’s law reform work on human rights, discrimination law, women’s rights, employment rights, and housing rights. Maria has experience leading civil society engagement with United Nations review processes, including at the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. 

Prior to this, Maria was KLC’s Employment Solicitor where she ran many discrimination cases focussing on sexual harassment, disability discrimination and race discrimination. She has also worked in the Human Rights Team at Legal Aid NSW where she focussed on police torts and visa cancellations, and as a Legal Officer at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Maria is the Deputy Chair of the Law Society of NSW’s Human Rights Committee and an Executive Councillor of NSW Young Lawyers. She was previously a co-convenor of the Community Legal Centres NSW Law Reform and Policy Network, and Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee. 

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Belinda Lowe

Head of Strategic Communication

Belinda is a human rights specialist with over 10 years experience building and winning human rights campaigns. She has worked across a variety of human rights issues including Indigenous justice, LGBTQI rights, death penalty, people seeking asylum, freedom of association and assembly and workers rights.

Before joining the Grata Fund, Belinda worked at Amnesty International Australia as an Indigenous Rights Campaigner, Media Adviser and activism and mobilisation specialist. During this time she led a campaign to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in Australian prisons with a particular focus on alternatives to prison, conditions of detention raising the age of criminal responsibility. This work included human rights investigations that exposed abuses against children in the Western Australia Banksia Hill prison which garnered national attention and led to changes in prison and departmental practices.

Belinda has also worked on the campaign to prevent the  executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia, the 2017 marriage equality postal vote and the campaign to prevent the lashing of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Belinda initiated Amnesty International Australia’s Human Rights Observer program, built an online rapid response network, led the development of the global nonviolent direct action guide and pioneered direct networking between human rights activists in the Asia Pacific.

Prior to her work at Amnesty, Belinda worked in the union movement for the Community and Public Sector Union and a range of other human rights, environmental and public health campaigns.

Belinda holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. She is currently studying for a Graduate Certificate in Political Economy.

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Antonia Xu 

Executive Assistant / Paralegal 

Antonia has an interdisciplinary background in law, research ethics and health policy. She has completed an Honours project utilising empirical research to investigate issues with informed consent in research. She is interested in blending legal and sociopolitical research to improve health policy and public health outcomes.

Prior to joining the Grata Fund, Antonia has worked at the Community Legal Centre YouthLaw, advising and advocating for young people's legal issues across Australia. She has been on the editorial board of the UNSW Law Journal since 2018 and is serving as the Executive Editor in 2020. 

Antonia is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) at the University of New South Wales.

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Lily Reynolds 

Executive Assistant / Paralegal 

Lily has recently completed a Bachelor Degree (Hons) in Gender Studies from the University of Sydney where she wrote her thesis about the intersection of critical menstrual studies and feminist techno science.

Lily's studies questioned how technology can potentially manage period pain. Reproductive justice, gender bias in medicine and issues of empathy in healthcare and the legal system are Lily's passionate areas of interest.

Prior to joining the team at Grata Lily was a working yoga teacher with a growing concern for the well being of our world. Lily is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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The Honourable Marcia Neave AO

Director

The Hon. Marcia Neave AO has had a career as a judge, lawyer, academic and public policy maker. She is the Former Chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and a former judge of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria.

From February 2015 to March 2016, she was the chair of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. That Royal Commission was entrusted with the task of making recommendations regarding the family violence support system and justice system in Victoria.

Prior to her role as Commissioner, for nine years she was a Justice of the Court of Appeal Division in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Ms Neave has held chairs at Adelaide University, Monash University and the Australian National University. She was also a visiting Professor on three occasions in New York University’s Law School’s Global Law Program. In 2006 she became the first academic in Victoria’s history to be appointed to the Court of Appeal.

In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1999, Ms Neave was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her services to the law, and in 2001, she was awarded the Centenary Medal.

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Jennifer Robinson

Director

Jen Robinson has a broad practice in media law, public law and international law. She has advised individual and state clients in international law and has given expert evidence at the UN and in the UK Parliament. Jen has a particular focus on free speech and civil liberties, advising media organisations, journalists and whistleblowers on all aspects of media law, including defamation, privacy, contempt, freedom of information, national security and reporting restrictions.

Many of her cases and clients are high-profile and involve novel cross-jurisdictional and comparative law issues. For example, recent cases include acting for the BBC World Service to take action against Iran for the persecution of BBC Persian staff and their families; advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks on legal issues related to publication, asylum, extradition and international law; and is acting with French counsel for a group of NGOs from around the world in challenging the cross-jurisdictional impact of the right to be forgotten in Google v CNIL.

Before joining the UK Bar, Jen created the Bertha Justice Initiative, a global program to support strategic public interest and human rights litigation and educate the next generation of human rights lawyers. From this work around the world, she brings a unique global network and comparative perspective. Jen serves as a trustee of Article 19 and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, as well as on the advisory board of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

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Deanne Weir

Chairperson

Deanne Weir is passionate about storytelling, change making and gender equality. A former media lawyer turned investor and company director, Deanne's company WeirAnderson.com invests in entrepreneurs and storytellers to help them change the world. 

Deanne is Chair of Ai-Media, a global provider of speech to text services, and Seer Data & Analytics, a technology start-up helping the social sector make better decisions through the use of data and insights.

Deanne also serves as Chair of the Sydney Film Festival, the Grata Fund, and Global Sisters, and as a Trustee at The Asia Foundation. Having served on the board of Screen Australia for 8 years, Deanne remains a member of its Gender Matters taskforce.

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Roxanne Moore

Director

Roxanne Moore is a Noongar woman and human rights lawyer from Margaret River in Western Australia. She is currently working as the Principal Advisor to Change the Record Coalition, and also for the National Peak body on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS). Previously, Roxanne was an Indigenous Rights Campaigner with Amnesty International Australia. Prior to this, Roxanne worked for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. She has worked as Principal Associate to the Hon Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC QC; as a commercial litigator; and has international experience with UNHCR Jordan and New York University’s Global Justice Clinic. Roxanne studied law at the University of WA, and completed an LLM (International Legal Studies) at NYU, specialising in human rights law, as a 2013 Fulbright Western Australian Scholar.

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Dr Peter Cashman

Director

Dr Peter Cashman is a barrister and an Adjunct Professor of Law at UNSW Law. He was previously Professor of Law and Director of the Social Justice Program at the University of Sydney Law School. He has practised in Australia, the UK and the United States, and holds a Law degree and a Diploma in Criminology from the University of Melbourne and an LLM and a PhD from the University of London.  

He has made significant contributions to law reform through his role as Commissioner with the Victorian Law Reform Commission in charge of the Civil Justice Review, and as a Commissioner with the Australian Law Reform Commission on its reference on class actions (jointly with Justice John Basten).

He was the founder and senior partner of Cashman & Partners, which merged to become Maurice Blackburn Cashman (now Maurice Blackburn Pty Ltd). He was the founding director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and more recently has served on the boards of PIAC and  the Public Interest Law Clearing House (now Justice Connect). In addition, he has authored many publications about social justice law, class actions and public interest litigation, including Class Action Law and Practice, The Federation Press, 2007.

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Simone Whetton

Director

Simone Whetton is a partner in the corporate team at Colin Biggers & Paisley. Simone's expertise is in corporate transactions and corporate advisory, with a focus on unlisted companies across key industry sectors including transport and logistics, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare, energy and resources and technology, telecommunications. Simone also advises in respect of outsourcing and procurement issues.

Simone is a fluent German speaker and acts for many German and foreign companies operating in Australia. She is a member of the Australian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Simone became partner at the legal practice in 2014.

 

ADVISORY COUNCIL

 


Our Advisory Council is comprised of leading legal academics, non-profit strategic litigators and expert campaigners. Our Council provides advice on our overall strategic direction, cases we should support, and key issues on the horizon that may benefit from legal intervention. 

 

Prof George Williams AO   

Dean, UNSW Faculty of Law       

Prof Andrea Durbach      

Professor, Australian Human Rights Centre

Prof Gabrielle Appleby     

Professor, UNSW Faculty of Law 

        Prof Kim Rubenstein FAAL, FASSA            

Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation

Faculty of Business Governance and Law, University of Canberra

Jonathon Hunyor   

CEO, Public Interest Advocacy Centre  

Hugh De Kretser 

CEO, Human Rights Law Centre

Katie Wood

Legal and Governance Manager, 

Amnesty International Australia

Paul Oosting

National Director, GetUp!

Jamie Hanson

Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace Asia Pacific

Dave Morris

CEO, Environmental Defenders Office

New South Wales (EDO NSW)

Brendan Sydes

CEO, Environmental Justice Australia

Emily Howie

Head of Legal and Dispute Resolution, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission