Courtroom battles can lead social change


Thursday 24 Aug 2017

Associate Professor Alison GerardA visiting legal expert famous for a number of landmark decisions achieving social justice will deliver a public lecture at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst on Monday 28 August about how litigation can assist marginalised people through the courts.

Senior Counsel Claire O'Connor, who is with Villeneuve Chambers in Adelaide, will present the case for strategic litigation and the use of class actions when she is hosted by CSU's Centre for Law and Justice in Bathurst.

"The Centre is delighted to bring Ms O'Connor to Bathurst to teach law and justice students about how to be change-makers," said Centre Director, Associate Professor Alison Gerard (pictured).

"She will also speak to the wider community on litigation for social justice.

"Many community organisations with an interest in social justice, including the legal profession, will benefit from hearing from one of the pioneers in strategic litigation and a human rights advocate."

CSU lecturer in law and visit organiser Ms Kim Bailey said that, "Ms O'Connor comes to us with a wealth of experience in prosecuting important cases for social justice, including the only successful case to obtain compensation for losses sustained by an Indigenous Australian, Mr Bruce Trevorrow, as part of the Stolen Generations.

"Ms O'Connor has represented detainees on Manus Island in the recent class action which settled with the Australian Government for $70 million. She has represented those in detention centres in mainland Australia and was the lawyer for Mr Ahmed Al Kateb in a landmark case concerning detention of stateless people.

"Ms O'Connor also represented Cornelia Rau, the Australian permanent resident illegally detained in Baxter Detention Centre.

"We look forward to hearing Ms Connor's views on the role and importance of class actions and 'strategic' litigation in promoting social justice in Australia in light of her work in these landmark cases."

Ms O'Connor's public lecture, titled Strategic Litigation: Bringing change through the courts, is from 10.45am to 12pm on Monday 28 August in room 347, building 1411 at CSU in Bathurst. A morning tea will be available to the public from 10am and all are welcome to attend.

In addition, the eminent Senior Counsel will address law students studying tort law and constitutional law at their residential schools. Local members of the legal profession are invited to attend the public lecture.

Ms O'Connor's visit to Bathurst builds on the list of highly respected and well known presenters at the residential schools for the CSU law degree.


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Media contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
Ms Claire O'Connor, SC, and Associate Professor Alison Gerard from the CSU Centre for Law and Justice will be available for interviews from 10.15am to 10.40am and from 12.15pm to 12.45pm outside building 1411 (near carpark P8) on Monday 28 August. Contact CSU Media to confirm interview place and time.