La Trobe University School of Law, in collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW Law) and Grata Fund is hosting a conference, Public Interest Litigation in Australia - A Comparative Perspective. The conference will bring 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 will feature discussion of major Australian public interest cases - and reflection 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

Book your free ticket for the conference here (places are limited!)

Full program available for download here.