Legal-aid push for remote WA

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Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses, centre, with president’s award winners Haley Allan and Bill Mitchell.
Camera IconLaw Council of Australia president Arthur Moses, centre, with president’s award winners Haley Allan and Bill Mitchell. Credit: Ashley St George, Supplied

A local lawyer’s tireless work giving people in remote communities access to justice has paid off in a big way with a national accolade.

Haley Allan was recently named one of two joint winners of the Law Council of Australia’s President’s Award, alongside Queensland-based human rights advocate Bill Mitchell at a gala dinner in Canberra.

The award recognises and celebrates the exceptional accomplishments of individuals in the legal profession.

Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses SC said Ms Allan and Mr Mitchell were exemplars of lawyers that do the profession proud for their selfless contributions and giving a voice to those that are marginalised.

Based in Broome, Ms Allan primarily focuses on criminal law although she also gives advice in family and civil law, and constantly travels to remote communities to see clients and attend court. When she is not travelling throughout the Kimberley, Ms Allan is heavily involved in the community on a voluntary basis, including organising the annual White Ribbon Gala and sitting on the Shinju Matsuri committee.

Ms Allan said it was “very humbling” to be recognised at a national level and she hoped the award would help redirect attention to the challenges experienced by regional and remote clients that do not easily have fulsome access to justice.

“It’s a challenge for all lawyers, especially the not-for-profit sector, to get the job done thoroughly and adequately in a remote area with limited resources but those challenges are felt more so by vulnerable clients and our focus should remain on empowering those clients to make informed decisions for themselves, and where appropriate, access effective supports to stop further offending,” she said.

“The President’s Award recognises a commitment to my work, my clients, and to the community that I have come to call home, so it is nice to also have the volunteering and fundraising side of my like acknowledged by a professional legal body as prominent as the Law Council of Australia.

“Broome and the wider Kimberley is an amazing opportunity that I am proud to be a part of and that I am genuinely invested in contributing to, so hopefully this award will put some focus on improving resource and services in the Kimberley because that will lead to a more peaceful community for everyone.”

Mr Moses SC said Ms Allan’s compassion and dedication to help others was evident through her career and volunteer work.

“She is a prime example of the commitment legal-aid lawyers have when working in remote regions,” he said.

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