Equal Justice Project celebrates a big year
From left to right: EJP Patron the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Thomas QC with EJP 2013 Co-Directors Sam Bookman and Rosie Polaschek, and 2013 Equal Justice Award recipient Peter Williams QC.
On 14 October 2013, the Equal Justice Project (EJP) marked an exciting year of growth with an end of year function at the University of Auckland’s Law School. The event was an opportunity to celebrate the successes of 2013, which saw the EJP expand its existing activities and take on a new range of projects.
As a new initiative for 2013, the EJP executive created an “Equal Justice Award” as a way of recognising outstanding contributions to the spirit of equal justice and community service in the Auckland legal community. The inaugural recipient of the award was Peter Williams QC, who was presented with his award at the end of year function. In his acceptance speech, Mr Williams QC reminisced on a life in the law, ranging from the quirks of the profession to the challenges faced as a campaigner for reform.
The EJP was founded in 2005, and now comprises 130 students carrying out a variety of pro bono and community justice volunteering. It is entirely student-led, with an executive team of directors and project managers. The EJP carries out three principal functions: pro bono support of practitioners, on campus engagement and awareness, and support for the wider community in schools, Community Law Centres and partner organisations.
In 2013, EJP worked on 12 research projects for law organisations and practitioners, including cases to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Its “On Campus” team conducted a student-led series of symposia and issues papers, raised money for causes such as Justspeak and Pillars Mentoring, and gave oral submissions before parliamentary select committees. In the wider community, students delivered almost 30 workshops on legal issues to school students around Auckland, and 1,100 hours of service at Community Law Centres in Waitakere and Mangere.
The end of year function acknowledged the hard work that students had put in throughout the year, in recognition of their outstanding voluntary commitment. It was also attended by members of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Law, the wider profession and representatives from the EJP’s principal sponsor, ADLS.
The EJP is incredibly grateful for the support provided by ADLS. While the EJP prides itself on being able to achieve an enormous amount based on volunteer commitment, like any organisation, some funding is still required. “The ADLS money has ensured that we can be there to adequately support our volunteers,” said EJP co-Director Sam Bookman. “It has meant that our students have been well-trained and engaged. Furthermore, our symposium series of outstanding discussion and exceptional speakers would not have been possible in 2013 without ADLS’s ongoing support.” This year, EJP was able to contribute back to ADLS, assisting with the work of the ADLS Family
Practitioners are encouraged to contact the EJP for assistance from student volunteers. Support is available for cases and/or projects performed on a reduced-fee or pro bono basis, or possessing a strong public interest component. EJP pro bono support is available throughout the academic year, beginning in March.
The EJP now looks forward to an even bigger year in 2014 under the leadership of its incoming directors, Rosie Polaschek and Allanah Colley.
For more information about EJP and its work,
visit www.equaljusticeproject.co.nz, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.