The Social Justice Team

In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal, but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the laws.
— Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748)

Social justice is often an amorphous term, more easily ascribed to certain actions and outcomes than captured by explicit definitions. Broadly, it might be stated as the just or equal distribution of rights and opportunities within a society. It galvanises and embraces both reformers and custodians — the human and civil rights activists, environmentalists, labour organisers, and many others who strive towards creating and maintaining a fairer society. At nearly every point, it intersects with and pulls at the law.

JATL is strongly committed to social justice and its dedicated Social Justice Team, comprising of Rachel Tomassen (Vice-President), Madeleine Pitman, Ellen Purcell and Cara Steph Scarpato (Social Justice Officers) in 2019, is the most visible embodiment of this. The Social Justice Team is primarily responsible for facilitating a dialogue between students, professionals, and thought leaders on contemporary social justice issues.

In 2018, the Social Justice Team coordinated JATL’s fourth Social Justice Fundraising Gala, with the event raising over $6,000 for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Legal (LGBTI Legal Service). The 2019 Fundraising Gala will raise funds for the Mental Health Law Practice (LawRight).

The Social Justice Team have a rich tradition of delivering two Social Justice Forums each semester. The Forums are free, widely attended public seminars that offer students and other attendees the opportunity to hear from and converse with experts on key topics at the intersection of the law and social justice.


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