La Trobe University School of Law, in collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW Law) and Grata Fund is hosted a conference, Public Interest Litigation in Australia - A Comparative Perspective in August 2019. The conference brought together lawyers and advocates who are pursuing innovative litigation strategies, legal academics who write on related topics, judges who adjudicate these issues and policy makers.

Public interest or social impact litigation is used in many democracies as a vehicle for social, political and legal change. It's been used in the United States to pursue civil rights, as well as in Canada, India and South Africa to end practices of racial and gender discrimination and to ensure rights for Indigenous communities and fro environmental and consumer protection. In the past few decades Australia has witnessed an increase in public interest cases with some significant success for affected communities.

For Australia public interest litigation is more difficult because of the absence of a Bill of Rights which has often animated public interest litigation  other jurisdictions like Canada, post-apartheid South Africa, the USA or India. Despite the absence of an Australian Bill of rights, public interest litigation in Australian courts has, to some extent, reflected the legal victories that have transpired in constitutional democracies in the area of voting rights, the rights of refugees, and environmental issues.

The conference featured discussion of major Australian public interest cases - and reflected on the issues raised by them in light of comparable cases in other jurisdictions.

It is the hope of the conference organisers that the deliberations and the engagement of all participants will lead to ongoing collaborations.

Thursday 8 August 8:30am to 5:30pm

La Trobe University Law School, Moot Court

Book your free ticket for the conference here - Sold out!

Full program available for download here.

Getting there

For those driving, you should enter the University via the North Entry at the Kingsbury Drive entrance and the best car park to park in is 8 and then walk along the path, denoted by the red dashes on the map to the building marked as SS (Social Sciences). Enter the building via the automatic door and proceed straight ahead and then to take the stairs on your right to level 2. Upon landing on level 2 head turn left and the Moot Court is about half way down the corridor.

Please note if car park 8 is full, try car parks 7 and 7a as they usually have free spots as they are not direct access to buildings like car park 8.

Download a map of La Trobe University here. 

For information about public transport see this link