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Without Prejudice October 2023

Swathika Karthikeyan

The Current Climate of Refugee Law

What is happening in the sphere of Refugee Law?

It is important to keep track of the constant changes in this area of the law, due to its dynamic nature. Recently, in Australia, upon the Labor party’s holding of office, the government introduced a fast-track approach for refugees, to streamline the process of obtaining a more permanent residency in Australia; referred to as Resolution of Status (RoS). If a client has a pending application for a Temporary protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV), the application will follow a conversion process. Whereas if a client currently holds a TPV/SHEV, they will be invited to apply for a permanent visa in the future after receiving an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs. However, if a client is seeking review by the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) or court, they should continue that process and seek legal advice simultaneously. Clients on bridging visas are not impacted by the announcement unless they fall within the aforementioned groups.

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A problem of Ethics- Gender Inequality in the Legal Profession

As a woman aspiring to be in the legal profession, I am constantly concerned about the potential disparity. Imagine walking into a firm as a junior lawyer, seeking guidance and comfort to some extent, and all the senior practitioners are men. Despite the number of women entering the course and graduating with the same law degree as men, they remain significantly under-represented in positions of leadership and power. This difference has been a subject of ongoing study and often cannot be justified. The historical exclusion of women from legal education and practice has contributed to the gender inequality in the legal profession too. There is predominantly a difference in leadership positions including law firm partnerships, judiciary and academia. The ‘double-bind’ dilemma places women in a challenging position of balancing professional assertiveness with societal expectations of femininity. Intersectionality further plays a role, causing unique challenges to arise for women of colour, LGBTQ+ women and other marginalized groups. It is essential to promote equal opportunities for all and the first step is breaking barriers.

For more information:

Audrey Wolfson Latourette, ‘Sex Discrimination in the Legal Profession: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’ (2005) 39 Valparaiso University Law Review 859.

Hannah Brenner (2014) Expanding the Pathways to Gender Equality in the Legal Profession, Legal Ethics, 17:2, 261-280, DOI: 10.5235/1460728X.17.2.261.

Life in Law

Life in law is exhilarating, but far from easy. I have dreamt of making a difference for as long as I know, however it is becoming increasingly difficult as it is underpinned by the discretion of the courts. The intricacy of the law and what it can bring to the world always fascinates me. There is so much that law brings to the society. Further, there are so many advantages of a law degree, which I wish I’d known earlier.

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