Law students volunteer for 'Stolen Generation' claims

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 14-3-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Law students from The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle will be volunteering their skills at Perth firm Lavan Legal this semester to assist with over 600 ‘Stolen Generation’ cases.

The Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) approached Lavan Legal last year and asked if they could assist pro-bono with claims for damages arising in relation to the ‘Stolen Generation’ policies applied in Western Australia (WA) and the Northern Territory.

As the case load is so huge, the firm have enlisted the help of up to 50 volunteer law students from Notre Dame and other WA law schools.

Lavan General Counsel, Martin Bennett, came to Notre Dame recently to talk to potential volunteers about the cases they would be dealing with.

“The task of evaluating, analysing and detailing potentially in excess of 1000 claims provides a challenging opportunity for law students to gain important experience in the civil litigation progress, whilst at the same time valuably contributing to a major social issue,” said Mr Bennett.

The ‘Stolen Generation’ has had a prominent profile in the media recently with Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd’s formal apology.

“The events of the last few weeks emphasise how timely this is and how important this is on a national and international scale. An opportunity of this magnitude and scale to devote energy, resources and skill for such a massive public social cause rarely arises,” said Mr Bennett.

The students will be working with the firm’s legal staff and will receive counselling before they begin, to help them cope with the distressing nature of the victims’ stories.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders 08 9433 0611, 0408 959 138