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  • 25 Sep 2021 3:37 PM | Anonymous

    For the SA Branch’s first National Cultural Diversity Summit this year, we hosted a panel of guest speakers to provide insight on their own experiences as legal professionals in line with our event theme “Being more than a lawyer”. Our Diversity Panel consisted of:

    1.         Ahura Kalali, barrister at Barry Jennings Chambers (as chair);

    2.         SA District Court Judge Rauf Soulio; 

    3.         Thuan Nguyen – solicitor at the Legal Services Commission; and

    4.         Kate Bickford – partner at HWL Ebsworth.

    Amidst tough COVID restrictions across the country, the National Summit After Party here in SA was a welcomed event.  With a turnout of 50 guests in attendance, the breadth of experience and diversity of practice areas added a nice touch to what had been a showstopper of a National Summit throughout the course of the day.  

    The panel discussion segment of the evening touched on some important but rarely discussed topics of the legal profession, such as work/life balance, finding passion in one’s career, key career drivers, and words of wisdom from our panelists that they wish they’d given their young selves knowing what they know now.

    In AALA SA Branch tradition, the panel discussion was followed by lots of delicious food and even better drinks.

    We are so lucky to have the support of so many amazing businesses here in SA.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing sponsors, who have made this event possible:

    1.             Cimicky Wines – for providing beautiful Barossa Valley wines for serving throughout the evening as well as incredible door prizes;

    2.             1/3 by NNQ – for generously opening up their beautiful restaurant to our guests and for their incredible hospitality throughout the evening;

    3.             Two Accent Gins – for providing us with their fine gins as door prizes; and 

    4.             Panel members – for taking time out of their precious Saturday evening to share their words of wisdom to those in attendance.

    We hope our members and guests who attended the SA Branch’s National Summit After Party left with full tummies, meaningful connections with other members of the profession and a deeper understanding and curiosity on what it means to be more than a lawyer.

  • 11 Sep 2021 2:49 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    Breaking the bamboo ceiling: Young Asian Australian women share their tips for success

    by Ashleigh Barraclough, ABC News, posted 11.09.21

    While Asian Australians continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions, some young women have managed to break through the "bamboo ceiling".

    The ABC spoke to four finalists in the 2021 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians Awards — a nanotechnology engineer, a ballet dancer, a human rights lawyer and a telco executive — about the challenges they have faced in their careers.

    The awards are an initiative of the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit, and the ABC is a media partner.

  • 09 Sep 2021 6:44 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) welcomes and applauds the appointment of the Honourable Hament Dhanji SC as a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW and would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to him. This is a significant appointment as he is the first Australian of Indian descent to be appointed to the NSW Supreme Court and one of only a few Australians with Asian heritage to be appointed as a judge of an Australian superior court.

    AALA is the first incorporated association in Australia to focus on the growing number of Asian Australian lawyers in the profession, as well as other lawyers with an interest in Asia. AALA's mission is to advance cultural diversity in the legal profession and beyond and connect lawyers with an interest in Asia. The importance of increased cultural diversity in the legal profession cannot be underestimated. Where the makeup of our judiciary is reflective of our Australian demographic, the litigant is likely to have greater faith in the dispensation of justice.

    AALA has been vocal in our advocacy for more diversity in judicial appointments and this appointment lends credence to our work. Though much still needs to change, this appointment will hopefully be the catalyst for many more diverse and meritorious appointments, and for a larger change in the makeup of our legal profession to reflect and represent the citizens we serve. 

    To read Media Release of Hon. Mark Speakman, Attorney General of NSW, 8 Sept., 2021

  • 31 Aug 2021 2:20 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    • When: 18 Sep 2021
    • 5:30 PM - 10:30 PM (UTC+09:30)
    • Location

      1/3 By NNQ, 1 King William Street, Adelaide, SA 5000

    Register here!

    • $35 for AALA members – $35.00

      This is a discounted price for AALA members. Full price is $60 per person.

    • $60 full price for non-AALA members – $60.00

      Full price for non-AALA members, so you might as well join or renew membership to get the discounted pricing of $35!

    National Summit SA After Party! Saturday 18 September 2021

    The AALA SA Branch is pumped to invite you to the National Summit After Party! 

    We are taking it to the next level and having a 3 course dinner at 1/3 By NNQ followed by our own Diversity Panel event on the topic of "Being More Than a Lawyer" where we will be hearing from:

    • SA District Court Judge Rauf Soulio
    • Kate Bickford - Partner at HWL Ebsworth
    • Chris Kwong - Executive Adviser at Australian Red Cross

    The panel will be chaired by Ahura Kalali, Barrister at Barry Jennings Chambers.

    The details of the event are:

    • 1/3 By NNQ, 1 King William Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000
    • Saturday 18 September 2021 at 5.30pm to 10.30pm
    • 3 course dinner
    • Drinks on consumption and pay as you go 
    • Discounted price of $35 for AALA members 
    • Full price of $60 for non-AALA members (so you might as well join AALA  or renew  your membership now by clicking here)
    • There will be a door prize for AALA members
    • Dress code is smart casual.

    Thank you to our generous sponsors Cimicky Wines and Two Accents Gin!

    Spots are strictly limited so please RSVP quick! This event is open to everyone so please share with your friends and colleagues!

    Please email sa@aala.org.au if you have any dietary requirements.

    This will be a great opportunity to catch up with friends and make new friends over delicious food and drinks in a fun and relaxed environment. You know we organise awesome events, so we'll see you there! 

  • 27 Aug 2021 2:49 PM | Anonymous

    2021 National Cultural Diversity Online Summit

    Cultural Diversity and the Legal Profession: Towards a More Inclusive Future

    Date: Saturday 18 September 2021

    Time: The Summit begins at midday (AEST), with a series of sessions throughout the afternoon, to conclude around 4:00 PM.

    Registration: Registration is essential and is free for all people in Australia and across the world. To receive your personalised CVENT registration, you must register. Registration will open soon.

    Summit Agenda: coming soon.

    The Summit key note speakers include:

    • The Hon. Diana Bryant AO;

    • His Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Rabinder Singh;

    • Cheryl Chan, Director, Remotely Legal;
    • Remy Hii, Journalist and Actor (Neighbours and Crazy Rich Asians); 
    • Cross-cultural consultant, Tasneem Chopra OAM;
    • Award- winning comedian Sami Shah; and,
    • Hari Sivanesan will play you some sublime music. Hari has played for the BBC and with George Harrison from The Beatles.  


    Hosting: The Summit will be hosted online by CVENT. The CVENT platform will provide registrants a seamless Summit experience, providing registrants the opportunity to actively participate in the Summit’s discussions. The CVENT platform creates a dynamic and immersive experience, allowing registrants to connect with our Sponsors and Partners and network with fellow registrants. 

    Our impressive Summit sponsors and partners will be announced soon! AALA is excited to bring to our guests this year's exciting line up of speakers, thought-leaders and sponsors. This is the second National Cultural Diversity Summit and we aim to deliver yet another engaging, challenging and fun experience!

    Who is the Summit for? 

    AALA is throwing its doors wide open to the entire community and is giving all people, including students, policy-makers and practitioners, a chance to watch and participate in this conversation. The annual Summits are ideal for those who actively work in the legal industry in roles of management, human resourcing and reform and equally for those people who work in the wider community to promote and advocate for intersectional diversity and equal access to justice. The AALA National Summit is an ideal opportunity to expand your networks and ability to forge change.

  • 22 Aug 2021 9:57 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    The Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) is deeply concerned by the developments in Afghanistan that are severely impacting its people, particularly the basic human rights of its women and children.

    We extend support to our sisters and brothers from the Afghan Australian community in these difficult times. We share your grief and stand in solidarity in praying for the safety and well-being of your loved ones back home.

    AALA joins with the International Association of Judges, the International Association of Women Judges, the Australian Association of Women Judges and the Australian Judicial Officers Association, in calling for urgent, meaningful and sustained support for all of the judiciary and members of the legal profession in Afghanistan, and particularly for women judges and lawyers.

    We also support the call by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre for Australia to implement an immediate emergency humanitarian intake plan for refugees from Afghanistan.

    AALA urges its members to support these efforts and contribute generously to the humanitarian organisations presently offering support to Afghanistan and its people.

  • 30 Jul 2021 9:00 PM | Anonymous

    The AALA is pleased to announce that their Honours Judge Tran, Judge Burchell and Judicial Registrar Muller of the County Court of Victoria are offering two one week (unpaid) internships to members of the AALA.

    Judge Tran and Judge Burchell are former commercial barristers of Asian background who were appointed as Judicial Registrars of the Commercial Division (in what is believed to be the first job share of a judicial officer position in Victoria), and later Judges of the County Court of Victoria. Judicial Registrar Muller is a Judicial Registrar of the Commercial Division of the County Court. Their Honours are passionate about increasing cultural diversity in the legal profession and see providing opportunities and mentoring to lawyers and law students as a means to achieving this end.

    Judge Tran was appointed to the bench in October 2020, having been a Judicial Registrar of the Commercial Division of the County Court since 2015. During this time, her Honour has overseen the expansion of judicial mediation in the Commercial Division, assisted with the creation of a pro bono protocol with the Victorian Bar, helped to reform case management procedures, and supported the implementation of electronic court files. Prior to her Honour’s appointment, her Honour practised as a barrister since 2002 in a range of areas including insurance law, superannuation law, property law and insolvency.

    Judge Burchell was appointed to the bench in June 2021, having also been a Judicial Registrar in the Court's Commercial Division since 2015. Her Honour holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics from Murdoch University. Judge Burchell signed the Bar Roll in 2004 and has extensive experience in commercial law, judicial review and administrative law. In 2014, Judge Burchell represented the Hazelwood mine operators at the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry. In the same year, her Honour was also the recipient of the Lawyers Weekly Women in the Law Junior Counsel Award, which recognises the outstanding contributions to the legal profession of female barristers within their first 10 years of practice at the Bar.

    Judicial Registrar Muller is an experienced trial advocate, having acted for both plaintiffs and defendants in class actions, directors' and trustees' liability claims, professional liability disputes, insurance law (including total and permanent disability claims), insolvency, fiduciary and fraud-related actions, banking and finance disputes, corporate control disputes (including shareholder oppression), employment and industrial law, and general commercial disputes.

    This internship provides a unique opportunity to applicants to shadow the Judges and Judicial Registrar of the County Court, and their associates, in trials, interlocutory hearings and mediations, as well as observing them in chambers and registry work. Interns will gain exposure to the Court’s rules, processes and procedures and will gain the opportunity to observe some of the best advocates in Victoria.

    The internships are available from mid-late September 2021. Arrangements for the internships are flexible and may take place over one week, or one day per week over 5 weeks on mutually convenient dates.

    This invaluable opportunity is open to AALA student members or recent law graduates who are members of the AALA. For law students, it would be most beneficial to students who are in the third year and above of the undergraduate LLB or second year and above of the JD or Graduate Entry LLB and have completed the Civil Procedure unit. An interest in civil litigation or alternative dispute resolution would be preferred, but is not essential.

    If you are interested, please send your CV and cover letter to vic@aala.org.au. Applications close at 11:59 pm on Tuesday 10 August 2021.

  • 24 Jul 2021 3:17 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    We are pleased to announce to members that The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Rabinder Singh has accepted a 3-year term position as AALA’s inaugural International Patron.

    Sir Rabinder Singh brings to this role a wealth of judicial experiences, and unequivocal support to promote the diversity value enshrined in our organisation.

    He currently sits as a Lord Justice of Appeal in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and a member of the Privy Council appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

    He was born in 1964 in Delhi to a Sikh family who came to the UK and settled in a working-class area of Bristol. He graduated with a double first at Cambridge University and obtained an LLM at UC Berkeley. He co-founded Matrix Chambers and was appointed silk in 2002.

    Sir Rabinder Singh reached one of the highest ranks achieved by a non-white judge in Britain, and was thought to be the youngest judge to sit in the High Court.

    He was our guest speaker at AALA’s First National Cultural Diversity Summit where his address reflected on the UK Judicial Appointments Commission, its inclusion of non-legal members and how its process acknowledges diverse backgrounds so the judiciary reflects the society from which it is drawn and enjoys the confidence of society.

    His publications cover areas of human rights, privacy and foreign relations.

    As counsel, his cases covered issues in military conflict, victim and refugees, and issues on liberty. His work includes anti-racism issues.

    He loves Greek poetry and can read Ancient Greek. He is the first Sikh to be made a High Court judge, and wears a turban rather than a wig while presiding. His coat of arms bears the motto “Nec Timore Nec Favore”.

    AALA welcomes Sir Rabinder Singh’s presence in our organisation. We envisage a transformative impact and future contribution to our cultural diversity narrative in the fullness of time.

    Media contact: Kingsley Liu, AALA National President, president@aala.org.au



  • 19 Jul 2021 6:08 PM | John Arthur (Administrator)

    AALA congratulates Sharon Burchell and Pardeep Tiwana on their appointment as Judges of the County Court of Victoria

    Ms Burchell’s appointment as a County Court judge follows a career as a barrister, including experience at the Victorian Bar, Western Australian Bar and in the Federal and High Courts of Australia. Ms Burchell graduated LL B (Hons) B Econ from Murdoch University in Western Australia, served Articles at Blake Dawson Waldron in Perth and was first admitted to practice in Western Australia. She remained with the firm as an employee solicitor, first in Perth, then in Melbourne for some 6 months. She served as a Judicial Associate for some 2 ½ years – first with Justice Habersberger of the Victorian Supreme Court; then with Justice Kenny of the Federal Court. She read with Samantha Marks (now Her Honour Judge Marks of the County Court). She was at the Bar for 11 years, and served on the Committee of the Women Barristers Association and on the Bar Pro Bono and Human Rights Committees. Since 2015, Ms Burchell has been a judicial registrar in the commercial division of the County Court. 

    Mr Tiwana was previously a law clerk and solicitor at Paul Vale Criminal Lawyers and a criminal barrister at 4 Fountain Court Chambers/Citadel Chambers in the United Kingdom. He was admitted to the England and Wales Bar in 1994 and signed the Victorian Bar Roll in 2009. Mr Tiwana holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Wolverhampton. 

    Marcus Dempsey and Anna Robertson were also appointed as County Court judges, and David Ryan to the Coroners Court. 

    On their appointment, Attorney General Jaclyn Symes stated: “Our four new judges and coroner are experts in their fields and will bring significant knowledge to cases before the Coroners Court and County Court. I congratulate them on their new roles.”

    For the Victorian Government announcement go to

    The Judicial College of Victoria welcomed and congratulated appointees. 

    See also SBS Hindi article on Mr Tiwana's appointment.

    AALA notes that His Honour Judge Arushan Pillay who was born in South Africa and is Tamil Indian background was appointed to the County Court in 2019.

  • 13 Jul 2021 7:00 PM | Anonymous


    On Wednesday 2 June 2021, the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) together with principal sponsor Maddocks and supporting partner, the University of Melbourne, officially launched the William Ah Ket Scholarship for 2021.

    The Scholarship is named in honour of William Ah Ket, who is believed to be the first Asian-Australian barrister who practised at the Victorian Bar in the early 20th century and counted as one of Australia’s earliest human rights lawyers, blazing a trail for others to follow in his wake, challenging discriminatory laws and fostering international relations.

    Initially planned as an in-person event at the Melbourne Law School, the changing coronavirus pandemic restrictions in Victoria saw the celebration of the launch proceed by way of an online event held via Zoom. The launch was attended by over 100 AALA members and supporters across Australia and was a resounding success!

    Our keynote speaker, Her Honour Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of Victoria delivered an address on the important legacy of William Ah Ket and what contemporary lawyers can learn from the attributes that he modelled, including not just technical ability, but also, resilience, perseverance and working for change.

    Our attendees also had the pleasure to hear from Professor Sarah Biddulph, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School, Director of its Asian Law Centre and Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor International (China) at the University of Melbourne about the University’s efforts to collect information about William Ah Ket and to help tell his story.

    Through this journey and the generosity of those who have come forward to share information about William Ah Ket, including members of the Ah Ket family, the Hon. Michael Black, the former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, Julian McMahon SC, interesting facts about William Ah Ket and traces of his legacy have been discovered.

    We encourage all to visit the AALA website and visit the public gallery in Owen Dixon Chambers West, where a William Ah Ket display has been installed and where his portrait will be unveiled later this year to learn more about William Ah Ket.

    The AALA and the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee are incredibly grateful and express their thanks to Her Honour Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Professor Biddulph for their wonderfully engaging speeches. We are hopeful persons at a junior stage of their legal career in Australia were inspired to not only get involved and submit a paper for the scholarship, but ultimately to strive to use their knowledge and skills to make a difference and improve our civil society, just as Mr Ah Ket did at the start of the 20th Century.

    The AALA and the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee gives thanks to all those that attended, with special thanks to our National Patron and member of the judging panel of this year’s Scholarship, the Hon. Diana Bryant AO QC, Australian Human Rights Commissioner Chin Tan, Vivienne Nguyen, Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Matthew Howard, President of the Australian Bar Association for their attendance.

    The AALA would also like to thank Maddocks for their generous sponsorship of the Scholarship and their longstanding commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession and the University of Melbourne and staff of the Melbourne Law School for their efforts in supporting the Scholarship and their research and promotion of William Ah Ket’s legacy.

    Well done to the organisers from:

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association – William Lye OAM QC, Reynah Tang AM, Molina Asthana, Kingsley Liu, Kelvin Ng, Daniel D Nguyen, Jenny Si, Kerry Truong and Chuan Jun Yeap.

    Maddocks – Jason Silverii

    The Supreme Court of Victoria – Associate Sophie Meixner and Communications and Engagement Director Sarah Dolan

    The University of Melbourne – Associate Professor Andrew Godwin, Dorothy Ngo and Emily Holt

    For more information about the William Ah Ket Scholarship 2021 and how to apply, please click here or email us at scholarship@aala.org.au

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