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Monday, 8 May 2023

Law week in the ACT

Every year in May, the ACT Law Society coordinates Law Week in Canberra — five days of events to promote public understanding of the law and its role in society.

Law Week has been held annually in the ACT since 1984, showcasing a range of events for the public and the legal community, including a formal dinner, a comedy speaking competition, a quiz night, and a range of forums and seminars.

ACT Attorney-General Mr Shane Rattenbury MLA will open Law Week on Monday 8 May at an evening launch event that also features the ACT Golden Gavel, a comedy speaking competition for early career lawyers hosted by our New Lawyers Committee.

Law Week events are open to the public, and many have free registration (although we do ask for optional contributions to support our Law Week charity). All proceeds this year will go to Rainbow Paws, a local charity providing assistance to pets and their people through hard times, including free or subsidised food, bedding, supplies, and medical treatment for companion animals. The Society has chosen this charity because we know what a positive impact companion animals have for people experiencing homelessness.

Farzana Choudhury, President of the ACT Law Society said, “As a community lawyer, I have seen first-hand the positive impact that companion animals have for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and people with disability. I have a whippet named Prudence, and I love the companionship she gives me and the connections I have formed with fellow dog appreciators. Everyone should have that same opportunity. A big thank you to Rainbow Paws for your amazing work.”

The people who attend Law Week are not just lawyers — we encourage any person with an interest in legal issues to attend the events on offer. This year, Dr Helen Watchirs OAM will deliver our free annual Blackburn Lecture on human rights in the ACT, the Women Lawyers Association of the ACT is hosting dinner with international human rights lawyers Diana Sayed, and the ACT Bar Association will host a breakfast with special guest Justice Dina Yehia of the NSW Supreme Court. There’s also a Law Week Exhibition hosted by the ACT Courts and Tribunal where you can learn about the judicial system in the ACT, including a 'You be the Judge' event focusing on sentencing.

To support Rainbow Paws directly, we are also coordinating a pet food drive, a collegiate dog-friendly walk connecting students and legal professionals, and a ‘crafternoon’ hosted by our Access to Justice & Inclusion Committee.

Law Week in the ACT wouldn’t be possible without the many local organisations who put on events during the week. These include the ACT Supreme Court, the ACT Bar Association, and the Women Lawyers Association ACT. Law Week is made possible with the support of principal sponsor Lawcover — they have been a longstanding supporter of Law Week, and we thank them for their ongoing sponsorship.

A full schedule of Law Week events is available on our website.

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