Asylum seeker project highly commended

A La Trobe University Law School program that involves students providing free legal advice to asylum seekers has been highly commended at a prestigious award ceremony.

The La Trobe Law School Fast Track Clinic, a unique partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) was a finalist in the Community Engagement category of the Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) awards, presented in Melbourne last night.

La Trobe Law students work under the supervision of a dedicated lawyer to assist clients to prepare valid applications for protection.

La Trobe’s Head of Law, Professor Patrick Keyzer, said he was thrilled to receive the Commendation on behalf of students and staff involved in the program.

“We are extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve through The Fast Track Clinic in the two short years since our partnership with the ASRC began,” Professor Keyzer said.

“This Commendation recognises the hard work and dedication that has gone into creating a unique program that allows our students to assist many people in need of legal advice, while they gain valuable work experience,” Professor Keyzer said.

The judge commented:

This is an excellent collaboration between University, its students and a services and advocacy organisation and its communities. The outcomes are both humanitarian and scholarly, bringing a greater economic, financial, social, educational, environmental and community benefit to all Australians

BHERT CEO, Dr Peter Binks, praised the La Trobe Law School Fast Track Clinic team.

“This is a remarkable program. It addresses a clear need and provides benefits for all parties,” Dr Binks said.

“Our judging panel was impressed by the energy, structure and outcomes from a program that came together rapidly and without external funding support, driven by the commitment of the staff at ASRC and La Trobe Law School, and the enthusiasm of the students.”

La Trobe’s Autonobus project was also a finalist in the BHERT awards. The trial of Victoria’s first autonomous shuttle bus was shortlisted in the Collaboration for National Benefit category.

The BHERT Awards highlight outstanding collaboration between the business and higher education sectors across Australia in the fields of research & development, community engagement and education and training.

The BHERT Awards Program attracted a record 79 entries from 30 universities across Australia involving partnerships with more than 200 companies and organisations.

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