Advocate – Litigate – Communicate – Reform

About

The National Justice Project is a not-for-profit legal service. We apply our expertise to advancing human rights by representing and giving voice to the vulnerable who would otherwise be unable to find legal representation.

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.

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Take Action

You can support our vital human rights work and enable access to justice for those in need. Join our community and help us to change lives.

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.

 

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Strategic Litigation

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 [2007] 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

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Our Board

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Steve Castan- Chair


Steve is an experienced Barrister at the Victorian Bar. Steve is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Steven acts in Humans Rights and Social Justice matters and has expertise in facilitating non-confrontational conflict resolution across all aspects of law and justice.

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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.

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George Newhouse

Founder


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 work in fighting for justice for the mentally ill, LGBTI Australians, immigrants, prisoners, asylum seekers, youth detainees, and Aboriginal Australians.

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Dan Mori

Founder


Dan is an American lawyer who attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps. Mori was the military lawyer for Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.

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Duncan Fine


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

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George Newhouse

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.


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Fabi Fugazza

Chief of Staff


Fabi has worked with the NJP team since 2017 and brings extensive experience in strategic management, marketing, recruitment and the law. A qualified and admitted lawyer, Fabi has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in law, and undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in business/management.

Aside from her marketing, recruitment and management experience, Fabi has worked at law firms nationally and internationally in Civil Rights law, Disability Rights law, Torts, and Insurance law. In addition to her role at NJP, Fabi also proudly teaches both Bachelor's and Master's students in law and postgraduate business strategy at the University of Sydney.


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Anna Talbot

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.


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Duncan Fine

Special Counsel


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.


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Emma Hearne

Senior Solicitor


Since Emma joined NJP in late 2017, she has worked on cases across Australia including the Jackamarra Inquest in Broome, WA; a discrimination and negligence claim for the Mullaley family in Perth; and refugee clients in Brisbane. Recent cases Emma has worked on include the FRX17 case that sparked the #kidsoffnauru campaign and the subsequent ‘Medevac Bill’. As part of NJP’s Offshore Detention Team, Emma has provided guidance to other lawyers in the industry, providing the groundswell of cases that led to all children being removed from Nauru by the end of 2018. Her practice also includes acting for Indigenous Australians fighting the police, corrective services and health services for mistreatment, abuse, negligence and discrimination. Current cases include damages claims for refugees who suffered in Australia’s offshore detention centres, a man who was run down by a police car in Perth, and representing the families of the young boys who drowned after being chased into the river by police in WA.

 

Emma has a background as a criminal defence lawyer with specialist skills in Indigenous and vulnerable client legal matters developed in roles with the Aboriginal Legal Service in Dubbo, Western NSW and four years as a Solicitor with Galloways Solicitors & Attorneys. She has appeared in Courts across multiple jurisdictions advocating for her clients at hearings, sentences and appeals. She holds a Double Degree of Bachelor of Laws with Honours with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from Macquarie University. Her volunteer experience includes working at Nea Kavala, Alexandria and Derveni refugee camps in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2017, providing crucial legal aid services to those seeking asylum in Greece who had travelled through Turkey, from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and DRC.


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Ashleigh Buckett

Senior Solicitor


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.


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Sarah Druce

Senior Legal Counsel


Since joining NJP in 2017, Sarah has focussed on strategic litigation for Indigenous Australians and refugees detained in off-shore detention requiring urgent medical treatment.  Sarah has a background in managing litigation risk, providing strategic commercial advice and negotiating acquisitions for a variety of multi-national, government and large national organisations and at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.  Most recently Sarah worked with an NGO in Singapore providing financial and entrepreneurship education to low income migrant workers from south east Asia.  Sarah holds a BComLLB from the University of Sydney.


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Amelia Sweetland

Senior Legal Counsel


Amelia works with the NJP across a variety of projects both in Australia and regionally including strategic litigation for Indigenous Australians. Amelia has been a lawyer for 25 years, and her vast experience includes most recently working in Southeast Asia to address human trafficking in that region.


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Elika Chaparian

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.


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Sophie Wenderoth

Paralegal


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.


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Jazlie Davis

Paralegal


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.


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Lauren Davies

Paralegal


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.


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Megan Krakouer

Paralegal


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.


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