Advocate – Litigate – Communicate – Reform
NJP was established by Adjunct Professor George Newhouse and Lt Col (ret) Dan Mori. Through court work, research, training and strategic advocacy we use our skills to build a fairer justice system and more equitable society.
We are committed to ensuring everyone has the right to equal access and status under the law and we work collaboratively with our community partners to identify systemic injustice and with individuals to run test cases. Our long term goal is to bring change to systemic problems of abuse and discrimination.
If you share our mission to advance justice and equality for all Australians, please consider supporting the vital work we do.
Who we are
The National Justice Project is a civil rights organisation dedicated to tackling systemic injustice and racism within government institutions. We’re independent and courageous, with a proven track record of working with vulnerable people and communities.
Much of our work is a direct challenge to governments and their unlawful action.
We use the law and education to create change. We represent clients in public interest litigation and educate people in vulnerable communities about their rights.
We advocate for the development of law and we take on the most challenging cases which will advance human rights. Our powerful, multi-pronged approach provides access to justice for those who might otherwise be left behind, and shines a light on issues which otherwise might fall through the gaps.
We do not seek or receive any government funding. We rely on donations from the community to run the practice.
Our ultimate goal is to create a more equitable society and fairer societal systems for First Nations peoples and others in need.
An important part of our success comes from getting our strategy right. Our management team has decades of experience in case selection.
Adjunct Professor George Newhouse, who leads the strategy setting team, has over decade of strategic victories against governments and their authorities. These include:
- Representation of Vivian Solon, who was deported from Australia to the Philippines
- Representation of Cornelia Rau, who was detained in an Australian detention centre for ten months
- Acting in the matter of Guiseppe v Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations  FCAFC 91 concerning interference in Aboriginal Communities through their corporations
- Acting in the matter relating to the Muckaty Nuclear Waste Dump – here the notion that the Commonwealth can take possession of Aboriginal land against the wishes of its Aboriginal owners and without proper consultation was raised and the attempt to use Muckaty as a nuclear waste dump was ultimately defeated
- Representation of the family of Ms Dhu, who tragically died in custody in WA. The inquiry into her death culminated in the introduction of the Custody Notification Scheme, and a halt in arrests for fine default
- The National Justice Project running a case to allow detainees in immigration detention to retain access to and use of their mobile phones - a claim which was successful
- Winning precedent cases which led to getting all the #KidsOffNauru
- Representing the family of Naomi Williams in a coronial inquest, leading to acknowledgement of the existence of racism in healthcare in the Coroners Court
A VIEW TO GROWTH
The National Justice Project is proud to be participating in The Growth Project - a 10 month leadership development program that brings together leaders of emerging charities with business leaders so that they can share and learn from their previous experience, grow individually and have maximum positive social impact.
Central to The Growth Project is the concept of collaboration and engaged giving where all involved share their time, knowledge and resources to help develop the future leaders of Australia’s non-profit sector. For more information on The Growth Project, visit www.thegrowthproject.com.au
Steve Castan- Chair
Elissa Baxter - Company Secretary
Elissa provides governance advice to management and the Board of the NJP and coordinates the Board meeting process. Also a practising lawyer, Elissa has over 20 years’ experience in litigation and corporate advisory work, and is an experienced governance professional.
Duncan has been a lawyer for over 30 years and is also an author, journalist, media advisor and social commentator. He has worked on Aboriginal Land Claims in the Northern Territory and for the Aboriginal Legal Service.
KEY LEGAL STAFF
Director and Principal Solicitor
George is the principal solicitor of the National Justice Project and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Macquarie University. He is well known for his extensive work in fighting for justice for the mentally ill, LGBTI Australians, immigrants, prisoners, asylum seekers, youth detainees, and Aboriginal Australians.
Naomi Lai brings more than two decades of professional experience across business, theology, grass-roots community organisations, social justice, and non-profit organisation. Naomi has been a part of the NJP team since December 2018, when she joined the legal team as a volunteer.
Naomi started her law degree at Southern Cross University in 2015, with the sole purpose of working in human rights, which is where she achieved academic excellence and was placed on the School of Law and Justice Dean’s List. Naomi also has a Bachelor of Theology (with Honours) from the Australian College of Theology and a Diploma of Diaconal Studies from the Presbyterian Theological Centre. Her diverse professional background includes roles at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sydney’s Oncology Ward and Presbyterian Ladies College.
As General Manager, Naomi is focused on leading the NJP team to continue complex legal cases and advocacy initiatives, capacity building and mentoring, and equipping the next generation of human rights and social justice lawyers.
Senior Solicitor and Legal Practice Manager
Anna’s practice focuses on holding the government accountable for harming people held in offshore detention. She has run many cases in the Federal Court to force the Minister to provide essential health care to refugees, some of whom have been close to death. Anna has also provided guidance to other lawyers in relation to cases involving refugees on Nauru.
Anna also works with our First Nations clients, assisting them with legal action relating to misconduct in prisons and by police, and racial discrimination complaints.
Anna brings expertise in international human rights law to the NJP, gained as a member of the UN team at Amnesty International. She was also member of a team at British firm Leigh Day, which sued the British government for torture and sexual violence committed in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s. Anna has also as a Legal and Policy Adviser for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, appearing before Senate Committees to discuss, among other things, refugees and counter-terrorism law, as well as acting for survivors of sexual assault in Australian institutions.
In addition to her diverse case load, Anna manages the work of the legal team. She holds an LLM (Human Rights and Social Justice) from UNSW, and an LLB (Hons) and BA from ANU. She was admitted to practice in 2007.
Ashleigh has worked with NJP since March 2018. As part of NJP’s Offshore Team, she has secured life-saving medical care for children and adults in offshore detention in Nauru and PNG. Ashleigh also runs matters in relation to unlawful assaults, excessive use of force and negligence by police and corrective services officers, and advocates for clients in gaol with disabilities and ongoing health issues to receive essential care. Through NJP’s Aboriginal Health Justice Project, Ashleigh works to address systemic discrimination and negligence in the health system.
Ashleigh brings to NJP expertise in international human rights law and international criminal law. She holds a Master of Laws specialising in this field and previously worked as a Legal Advisor for the International Bar Association and as part of the defence team on a major case before the ICTY.
Duncan is truly one of Sydney’s great Renaissance men. He has been a lawyer for over 30 years, and is also a published author, journalist, playwright, media advisor and social commentator.
His legal career started working on Aboriginal land claims in the Northern Territory. He has also spent time in one of Sydney’s top law firms specialising in defamation law but has also worked for the Aboriginal Legal Service in Sydney. He has worked as an advisor for the Lord Mayor of Sydney and is currently a columnist for Fairfax newspapers. With the National Justice Project he works on a range of cases, focusing on helping families through inquests into deaths in custody.
Junior Solicitor/Volunteer & Stakeholder Manager
Elika has been with NJP since early 2018, starting as a volunteer paralegal, before being offered a position on staff. She has been a valuable team member due to her bilingual skills, enabling better and more effective communication with our Farsi-speaking clients. Elika has assisted in securing urgent medical treatment for many of the men, women, and children held in offshore detention, as well as working on numerous coronial inquests, personal injury, and racial discrimination matters.
Sophie is a Juris Doctor student, having graduated from a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) at RMIT University in Melbourne in 2017. Sophie mostly supports our work with refugees and asylum seekers. She is deeply passionate about this work, given her family were Holocaust survivors and victims. Before starting at NJP, Sophie worked as a freelance journalist and editor. She was also co-creator and executive producer of her own news show, Half Hour. The show was aimed at speaking to young people about community issues, with a focus on culturally sensitive and accurate reporting, in the lead up to the Victorian State Election.
Jazlie has worked with NJP for two years providing project support to NJP's Aboriginal Health Justice Project and Copwatch programs. Jazlie is a Birrpai woman with a passion and commitment to working for First Nations people. She graduated from the University of NSW with a degree in science aviation and worked as a commercial pilot for three years in the remote Yolngu communities of North East Arnhem Land. Jazlie spent five years working with Yolngu People, in enterprise development and project support, during which time she developed strong cross-language and cross-cultural skills. Jazlie is in her second year of a Bachelor of Laws, focusing some of her studies on Indigenous rights and Indigenous jurisprudence.
Lauren started at NJP in 2019 from Macquarie University on a student placement before joining the NJP team full-time as a paralegal in 2020. She is in her final semester of her Bachelor of Arts (majoring in criminology) and Bachelor of Laws. Lauren is a Gomeroi and Ngarabal women with a particular passion for advocating against police misconduct and systemic racism. Before starting at NJP Lauren previously worked in criminal law at Shopfront Youth Legal Centre as well as in the Police practice team at Redfern Legal Centre.
Megan is a Mineng Noongar mother of three from Mt Barker in the southwest of Western Australia. Megan has a long working history with a particular focus on the most marginalised of her First Nations peoples. Prior to joining NJP Megan spent several years with the Knowmore Legal Centre contributing to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and she visited 27 adult prisons and 30 First Nations communities across three States. Megan also worked for two years as a crisis responder in suicide post-vention with the National Indigenous Critical Response Service and the National Suicide Prevention & Trauma Recovery Project. In late 2019 Megan travelled to Germany with a Commonwealth taskforce to repatriate to their First Nations homelands the thus far largest number of ancestral remains of First Nations peoples, including of her Mineng ancestors.
Bianca started at NJP in September 2019 as part of her practical legal training, and continued to volunteer until June 2020. She then worked as a graduate lawyer, before becoming a Junior Solicitor. Bianca is passionate about facilitating access to justice, challenging systemic racism and advocating for accountability following deaths in custody.
Bianca has gained invaluable experience through previously volunteering at Justice Action, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, and Community Legal Centres NSW. She has worked across a variety of areas including prisoner rights, refugee law and personal injury, and her experience extends to legal research, advocacy, policy development, administrative and legal support.
Bianca graduated from Macquarie University in 2020, having studied a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of International Studies. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Law at the University of Sydney, with a focus on human rights law and environmental law.
Project and Partnerships Manager
Ariane originally joined NJP in 2018 to manage the PNG Social Justice Project, and is now a full-time member of the NJP team as the Project and Partnerships Manager. Descending from the Gayiri and Badtjala people, Ariana has always been passionate about seeking equity and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly in the child welfare and justice systems.
After graduating from UTS in 2012 with a combined Bachelor of Laws & Communications, Ariane has gained valuable skills from various roles with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, and most recently the Royal Commission into the Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Ariane uses this experience in her role to help demonstrate the agility and ability of NJP to contribute to meaningful change across a multitude of settings in collaboration with community leaders.
Fundraising and Communications Manager
Joining the NJP team in August 2020, Katy is our Fundraising and Communications Manager. Her previous experience from working in philanthropy provides her with valuable insights into the success and failures of transparency, authenticity, and reciprocity. Katy coordinates fundraising to enable the NJP team to do its incredible work, as well as taking the supporters, staff, and clients on a journey in pursuit of justice and equity.
Katy has a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact, a Masters of Management – Arts Administration (UTS), and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Social Anthropology from Sydney University. This is also coupled with professional experience in The Balnaves Foundation, Philanthropy Australia, Australia Council for the Arts, Sculpture by the Sea, and YHA Australia.
Outside of her role at NJP, Katy volunteers as a Primary Ethics teacher at Elanora Primary School, and is a Board Member for Regional Opportunities Australia and Advisory Committee Member for Sydney Improvised Music Association.
Fundraising and Communications Specialist
Tim joined the NJP team in September 2020 as our Fundraising and Communications Specialist. He brings to the team a range of experience in the international aid and development sector coordinating fundraising campaigns and communications projects.
Tim studied International Studies and Communications at the University of Canberra, and completed a Masters of World History at the University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. He is passionate about international affairs and global justice movements, and continues to volunteer in solidarity and aid organisations outside his role at NJP. He enjoys travel, writing, and amateur photography.
Want to know more about what the National Justice Project has achieved in 2019? Download and peruse our Annual Report and Financials below.