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  • 30 Jul 2021 9:00 PM | Anonymous

    The AALA is pleased to announce that their Honours Judge Tran, Judge Burchell and Judicial Registrar Muller of the County Court of Victoria are offering two one week (unpaid) internships to members of the AALA.

    Judge Tran and Judge Burchell are former commercial barristers of Asian background who were appointed as Judicial Registrars of the Commercial Division (in what is believed to be the first job share of a judicial officer position in Victoria), and later Judges of the County Court of Victoria. Judicial Registrar Muller is a Judicial Registrar of the Commercial Division of the County Court. Their Honours are passionate about increasing cultural diversity in the legal profession and see providing opportunities and mentoring to lawyers and law students as a means to achieving this end.

    Judge Tran was appointed to the bench in October 2020, having been a Judicial Registrar of the Commercial Division of the County Court since 2015. During this time, her Honour has overseen the expansion of judicial mediation in the Commercial Division, assisted with the creation of a pro bono protocol with the Victorian Bar, helped to reform case management procedures, and supported the implementation of electronic court files. Prior to her Honour’s appointment, her Honour practised as a barrister since 2002 in a range of areas including insurance law, superannuation law, property law and insolvency.

    Judge Burchell was appointed to the bench in June 2021, having also been a Judicial Registrar in the Court's Commercial Division since 2015. Her Honour holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics from Murdoch University. Judge Burchell signed the Bar Roll in 2004 and has extensive experience in commercial law, judicial review and administrative law. In 2014, Judge Burchell represented the Hazelwood mine operators at the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry. In the same year, her Honour was also the recipient of the Lawyers Weekly Women in the Law Junior Counsel Award, which recognises the outstanding contributions to the legal profession of female barristers within their first 10 years of practice at the Bar.

    Judicial Registrar Muller is an experienced trial advocate, having acted for both plaintiffs and defendants in class actions, directors' and trustees' liability claims, professional liability disputes, insurance law (including total and permanent disability claims), insolvency, fiduciary and fraud-related actions, banking and finance disputes, corporate control disputes (including shareholder oppression), employment and industrial law, and general commercial disputes.

    This internship provides a unique opportunity to applicants to shadow the Judges and Judicial Registrar of the County Court, and their associates, in trials, interlocutory hearings and mediations, as well as observing them in chambers and registry work. Interns will gain exposure to the Court’s rules, processes and procedures and will gain the opportunity to observe some of the best advocates in Victoria.

    The internships are available from mid-late September 2021. Arrangements for the internships are flexible and may take place over one week, or one day per week over 5 weeks on mutually convenient dates.

    This invaluable opportunity is open to AALA student members or recent law graduates who are members of the AALA. For law students, it would be most beneficial to students who are in the third year and above of the undergraduate LLB or second year and above of the JD or Graduate Entry LLB and have completed the Civil Procedure unit. An interest in civil litigation or alternative dispute resolution would be preferred, but is not essential.

    If you are interested, please send your CV and cover letter to vic@aala.org.au. Applications close at 11:59 pm on Tuesday 10 August 2021.

  • 24 Jul 2021 3:17 PM | Anonymous

    We are pleased to announce to members that The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Rabinder Singh has accepted a 3-year term position as AALA’s inaugural International Patron.

    Sir Rabinder Singh brings to this role a wealth of judicial experiences, and unequivocal support to promote the diversity value enshrined in our organisation.

    He currently sits as a Lord Justice of Appeal in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and a member of the Privy Council appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

    He was born in 1964 in Delhi to a Sikh family who came to the UK and settled in a working-class area of Bristol. He graduated with a double first at Cambridge University and obtained an LLM at UC Berkeley. He co-founded Matrix Chambers and was appointed silk in 2002.

    Sir Rabinder Singh reached one of the highest ranks achieved by a non-white judge in Britain, and was thought to be the youngest judge to sit in the High Court.

    He was our guest speaker at AALA’s First National Cultural Diversity Summit where his address reflected on the UK Judicial Appointments Commission, its inclusion of non-legal members and how its process acknowledges diverse backgrounds so the judiciary reflects the society from which it is drawn and enjoys the confidence of society.

    His publications cover areas of human rights, privacy and foreign relations.

    As counsel, his cases covered issues in military conflict, victim and refugees, and issues on liberty. His work includes anti-racism issues.

    He loves Greek poetry and can read Ancient Greek. He is the first Sikh to be made a High Court judge, and wears a turban rather than a wig while presiding. His coat of arms bears the motto “Nec Timore Nec Favore”.

    AALA welcomes Sir Rabinder Singh’s presence in our organisation. We envisage a transformative impact and future contribution to our cultural diversity narrative in the fullness of time.

    Media contact: Kingsley Liu, AALA National President, president@aala.org.au



  • 19 Jul 2021 6:08 PM | Anonymous

    AALA congratulates Sharon Burchell and Pardeep Tiwana on their appointment as Judges of the County Court of Victoria

    Ms Burchell’s appointment as a County Court judge follows a career as a barrister, including experience at the Victorian Bar, Western Australian Bar and in the Federal and High Courts of Australia. Ms Burchell graduated LL B (Hons) B Econ from Murdoch University in Western Australia, served Articles at Blake Dawson Waldron in Perth and was first admitted to practice in Western Australia. She remained with the firm as an employee solicitor, first in Perth, then in Melbourne for some 6 months. She served as a Judicial Associate for some 2 ½ years – first with Justice Habersberger of the Victorian Supreme Court; then with Justice Kenny of the Federal Court. She read with Samantha Marks (now Her Honour Judge Marks of the County Court). She was at the Bar for 11 years, and served on the Committee of the Women Barristers Association and on the Bar Pro Bono and Human Rights Committees. Since 2015, Ms Burchell has been a judicial registrar in the commercial division of the County Court. 

    Mr Tiwana was previously a law clerk and solicitor at Paul Vale Criminal Lawyers and a criminal barrister at 4 Fountain Court Chambers/Citadel Chambers in the United Kingdom. He was admitted to the England and Wales Bar in 1994 and signed the Victorian Bar Roll in 2009. Mr Tiwana holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Wolverhampton. 

    Marcus Dempsey and Anna Robertson were also appointed as County Court judges, and David Ryan to the Coroners Court. 

    On their appointment, Attorney General Jaclyn Symes stated: “Our four new judges and coroner are experts in their fields and will bring significant knowledge to cases before the Coroners Court and County Court. I congratulate them on their new roles.”

    For the Victorian Government announcement go to

    The Judicial College of Victoria welcomed and congratulated appointees. 

    See also SBS Hindi article on Mr Tiwana's appointment.

    AALA notes that His Honour Judge Arushan Pillay who was born in South Africa and is Tamil Indian background was appointed to the County Court in 2019.

  • 13 Jul 2021 7:00 PM | Anonymous


    On Wednesday 2 June 2021, the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA) together with principal sponsor Maddocks and supporting partner, the University of Melbourne, officially launched the William Ah Ket Scholarship for 2021.

    The Scholarship is named in honour of William Ah Ket, who is believed to be the first Asian-Australian barrister who practised at the Victorian Bar in the early 20th century and counted as one of Australia’s earliest human rights lawyers, blazing a trail for others to follow in his wake, challenging discriminatory laws and fostering international relations.

    Initially planned as an in-person event at the Melbourne Law School, the changing coronavirus pandemic restrictions in Victoria saw the celebration of the launch proceed by way of an online event held via Zoom. The launch was attended by over 100 AALA members and supporters across Australia and was a resounding success!

    Our keynote speaker, Her Honour Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of Victoria delivered an address on the important legacy of William Ah Ket and what contemporary lawyers can learn from the attributes that he modelled, including not just technical ability, but also, resilience, perseverance and working for change.

    Our attendees also had the pleasure to hear from Professor Sarah Biddulph, Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School, Director of its Asian Law Centre and Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor International (China) at the University of Melbourne about the University’s efforts to collect information about William Ah Ket and to help tell his story.

    Through this journey and the generosity of those who have come forward to share information about William Ah Ket, including members of the Ah Ket family, the Hon. Michael Black, the former Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, Julian McMahon SC, interesting facts about William Ah Ket and traces of his legacy have been discovered.

    We encourage all to visit the AALA website and visit the public gallery in Owen Dixon Chambers West, where a William Ah Ket display has been installed and where his portrait will be unveiled later this year to learn more about William Ah Ket.

    The AALA and the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee are incredibly grateful and express their thanks to Her Honour Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Professor Biddulph for their wonderfully engaging speeches. We are hopeful persons at a junior stage of their legal career in Australia were inspired to not only get involved and submit a paper for the scholarship, but ultimately to strive to use their knowledge and skills to make a difference and improve our civil society, just as Mr Ah Ket did at the start of the 20th Century.

    The AALA and the William Ah Ket Scholarship Committee gives thanks to all those that attended, with special thanks to our National Patron and member of the judging panel of this year’s Scholarship, the Hon. Diana Bryant AO QC, Australian Human Rights Commissioner Chin Tan, Vivienne Nguyen, Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Matthew Howard, President of the Australian Bar Association for their attendance.

    The AALA would also like to thank Maddocks for their generous sponsorship of the Scholarship and their longstanding commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession and the University of Melbourne and staff of the Melbourne Law School for their efforts in supporting the Scholarship and their research and promotion of William Ah Ket’s legacy.

    Well done to the organisers from:

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association – William Lye OAM QC, Reynah Tang AM, Molina Asthana, Kingsley Liu, Kelvin Ng, Daniel D Nguyen, Jenny Si, Kerry Truong and Chuan Jun Yeap.

    Maddocks – Jason Silverii

    The Supreme Court of Victoria – Associate Sophie Meixner and Communications and Engagement Director Sarah Dolan

    The University of Melbourne – Associate Professor Andrew Godwin, Dorothy Ngo and Emily Holt

    For more information about the William Ah Ket Scholarship 2021 and how to apply, please click here or email us at scholarship@aala.org.au

  • 12 Jul 2021 8:04 AM | Anonymous


    The AALA is pleased to announce Ms Katrina Rathie as our new NSW Patron. 

    Ms Rathie is an Australian with a Chinese cultural background, her family originating from Guangzhou Province in Southern China.  Katrina brings to this role distinguished service to the Australian legal profession, extensive cross-border leadership and cultural skills honed through an esteemed 36-year career spanning Australia, Asia and the USA. She was admitted to practice in NSW in 1985, the High Court in 1986 and appointed as an Attorney & Counsellor of the New York Bar in 1988. 

    Katrina is a pre-eminent lawyer, well-known business leader and non-executive director who is proud to be a role model and champion for Asian Australians. She was named the overall winner in the prestigious Board & Management category in the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence list, recognised for her outstanding contributions to leadership in the law, advancement of gender and cultural diversity across Australia and Asia.

    Katrina was Partner in Charge, Sydney at top tier global elite law firm King & Wood Mallesons from 2014 – March 2021, where she was the first Asian Australian to lead the Sydney office.  She was involved in the implementation of the historic combination between China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 2012 and for almost a decade worked closely with her colleagues across 12 cities in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo to help build an international Asian powerhouse law firm with more than 2,700 lawyers in 29 locations across the world.

    Katrina was the first Australian with a Chinese cultural background to be employed by Stephen Jaques in 1985 and the first Asian Australian equity partner appointed at Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 1994, a role she held for 26 years.  She recently retired as the most senior female partner at the firm after a distinguished career where she practised as a solicitor in the fields of advertising, marketing, media, intellectual property and Australian Consumer Law litigation winning many high-profile cases for her blue chip ASX listed and Fortune 500 clients.  In June 2021, Katrina’s significant contribution to the legal profession was recognised in the Commonwealth House of Representatives, Parliament House and recorded in Hansard.

    Katrina was named NSW Woman Private Practice Lawyer of the Year by the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (2017), Intellectual Property Partner of the Year by Lawyers Weekly (2019) and is ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers Asia Pacific 2021 in seven categories.  She has been named in the IP Hall of Fame and IP Stars 2021 recognising her renowned expertise in brands, trademarks and copyright law.

    Katrina is passionate about diversity, inclusion and belonging: she has been a trailblazer who has led the way by shattering the glass and bamboo ceilings.  As a former member of the Law Society of NSW’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Managing Partner’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, she worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Race Discrimination Commissioners and was involved in arranging for several of Australia’s leading law firms to sign a Cultural Diversity Pledge

    in 2017 to measure the level of cultural diversity in law firms and embed policies to track and advance cultural diversity in the profession. Katrina has been an active member of AALA since it was founded and is pleased to continue as a member of the Data and Policy Sub-Committee.

    Katrina has spoken extensively about the desirability of greater gender and cultural diversity in the professions, business and ASX boards; and the need to curb racism in our communities.  Katrina is one of the judges of the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian Australia Awards, the winners of which will be announced at the Asian Australian Leadership Summit in September 2021.   

    She has a long history in philanthropy helping found the multi-award winning KWM in the Community Program, which comprises pro-bono, workplace giving and volunteering.  She is a Non-Executive Director of Starlight Children's Foundation Australia and NSW Rugby Union/Waratah’s Rugby. She is Chair of the Cranbrook Foundation and Vice President of Cranbrook School where she has championed the importance of a well-rounded education.  She is an Alumni Leader of UNSW Business School, serves on UNSW’s Law Advisory Council, the Culture Strategy Committee of Sydney University and the Advisory Board of Media Diversity Australia, which has a mission to champion cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media.

    Katrina is a Member of Chief Executive Women and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  She holds a Commerce (Accounting & Financial Management)/Law degree from UNSW Sydney. She is the mother of three boys – her eldest, Jack Rathie has followed in her footsteps, studied law at UNSW Sydney and is a Solicitor/Innovation Manager at King & Wood Mallesons.

    Katrina is excited to be named as NSW Patron of AALA and looks forward to continuing to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in business, boards and throughout the legal profession.  Her wisdom and lived experience will be valued by AALA members.

    AALA is delighted to have her join us as NSW Patron.

    Download this Press Release here.







  • 01 Jul 2021 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    The AALA is very pleased to announce that Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans AC QC is our new Victorian Patron. Professor Evans brings to this role not only esteemed service to the Australian legal profession and Asia‐Australia international relations, but passionate commitment to the cause of greater Asian‐Australian representation in leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.

    Professor Evans is Distinguished Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, where he was Chancellor from 2010 to 2019, and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group, the Brussels‐based independent global conflict prevention and resolution organisation which he led as President and CEO from 2000 to 2009. 

    During his 21 yearsin Australian politics, from 1978 to 1999, he was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments in the posts of Attorney General, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Transport and Communications and Foreign Minister, and both Leader of the Government in the Senate and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives.

    He has written or edited thirteen books and published around 150 journal articles, chapters, and reports, and many more opinion articles, on foreign relations, human rights and legal and constitutional reform; has honorary doctorates from Melbourne, Sydney, Carleton and Queen’s Universities; and has lectured at many universities around the world.

    He has co‐chaired two major International Commissions, on Intervention and State Sovereignty, and Nuclear Non‐Proliferation and Disarmament, and has been a member of a number of others. He currently chairs the International Advisory Board of the New‐York based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non‐Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN) and the Advisory Board of the ANU Centre for Asian‐Australian Leadership.

    Gareth Evans was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2012 for his "eminent service to international relations, particularly in the Asia‐Pacific region, as an adviser to governments on global policy matters, to conflict prevention and resolution, and to arms control and disarmament", and in the same year was elected an honorary Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia (FASSA). In 2016 he was awarded by the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asialink Medal "for long‐term commitment to improving Australia‐Asia relations". In December 2015 he was made a Companion of the Order of O.R. Tambo by South African for his contributionsto the anti‐apartheid movement. Foreign Policy magazine cited him as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2011 "for making 'the responsibility to protect' more than academic". In 2010 he was awarded the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Four Freedoms Award for Freedom from Fear, for his pioneering work on the Responsibility to Protect concept and his contributions to conflict prevention and resolution, arms control and disarmament.

    Professor Evans’s credentials and abilities will significantly assist AALA in promoting cultural diversity through advocating for greater Asian‐Australian representation in the senior echelons of the Australian legal profession and AALA is delighted to have his support.

    AALA Press Release - 1 July 2021.pdf

  • 14 Jun 2021 6:57 PM | Anonymous




    THURSDAY 24 JUNE 2021 at 6:00 - 7:00 PM (ARRIVE BY 5:45PM) to be held at



    Nathan is an AALA member and the founder of Black Box Accounting. Before starting his own firm he spent 12 years at a national accounting practice, including as head of its South Australian office. Nathan’s areas of expertise include personal and corporate insolvency and forensic accounting (e.g. litigation support). In addition to being a Registered Liquidator, he is an admitted legal practitioner and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. Nathan is a member of the Australian Reconstruction Insolvency and Turnaround Association’s technical working group as well as the Divisional Advisory Committee of the Institute of Public Accountants.

    For any questions, email the SA Branch: SA@AALA.COM.AU

    SA AALA - Insolvency - An Insider's Guide.pdf

  • 23 May 2021 10:07 PM | Anonymous

    The SA Branch officially launched the 2021 AALA Mentoring Program on 29 April 2021. As a newly established branch, this was also the launch for the SA Branch's first mentoring program.

    The level of participation was fantastic. Almost 30 mentees and almost 20 mentors participated in the program. The breadth of experience and diversity of practice areas amongst the mentors and mentees has been fantastic - from final year law students to QCs with almost 40 years' experience.

    The launch event was a great opportunity for mentees to meet their mentors over some drinks and grazing platters in the relaxed ambience of The Sparkke at Whitmore.

    Former SA District Court Judge, His Honour Steven Millsteed QC was a guest speaker to officially launch the SA mentoring program (and is also a mentor!). He spoke about the importance of mentoring in the legal profession, noting how it has traditionally been each practitioner's duty to his or her fellow colleague, and hopes that this continues.

    We hope with the SA Branch's launch of the 2021 AALA mentoring program, that this important tradition of mentorship within the legal profession continues.

  • 14 May 2021 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    The National Mentoring Program

    On Wednesday 5 May, the Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth branches of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association simultaneously launched the 2021 National Mentoring Program. The Adelaide and ACT branches hosted their launch events earlier on 30 April 2021. 

    The National Mentoring Program is an annual Program, coordinated by the National Executive Team and works with each State Branch and local firms to run the state-based program. This year's National Executive Convenors were Jessica Teoh and Brian Vuong, State President and State Secretary of the South Australian Branch. The Program connects those within the same state and encourages relationship building between all participants and the wider legal profession, fostering a creative and meaningful connection with AALA.

    The energy at each launch was positive and each branch thanks their local sponsor and all attendees. 

    The Sydney Launch

    Particular thanks goes to Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney, for their unwavering support of the Sydney Committee and the Mentoring Program. Each year AALA is thankful for the support we receive from Herbert Smith Freehills. The level of commitment demonstrated by your practitioners and Diversity and Inclusion team always shows a proven and genuine commitment to supporting cultural diversity in the legal profession. We particularly thank Madeleine Motion and Sunny Li, and Christine Tran who coordinated and opened the Sydney Launch on behalf of Herbert Smith Freehills.

    The Sydney Launch was conducted to current COVID-restrictions and accordingly, we welcomed 50 of our Mentor and Mentees. Our guests heard from Christine Tran and the NSW President, Marija Gurlica.

    Some words shared by Marija Gurlica:

    "...The Asian Australian Lawyers Association brings people together who share a story about coming to and growing up in Australia, whether you are foreign qualified and have recently moved as an adult, or like me, you are a second/third generation Australian who has found your way somehow. As much as we can discuss our experiences as impediments or as intergenerational baggage, our experiences, our skills, our wisdom is a privilege and this is what I want everyone to take home with them tonight.

     Your bilingual, trilingual tongue is the privilege to communicate through communities. Your front door syndrome experienced as a child is your ability to adapt and thrive. Your in-depth, cultural understanding of your heritage and your history, has armed you with a level of compassion and empathy that cannot be taught in a class room.

    The greater diversity we can welcome and most importantly, retain in the legal profession today means we will have universities, workplaces, judiciaries and legislatures that reflect the community they serve.

    An old line, but a good line is this: you cannot be, what you cannot see. The legal profession is undergoing a shift, albeit slow, we are progressing and the progress cannot continue unless we have an internal shift towards embracing all that we are and all who we serve...

    AALA believes that this Mentoring Program is one small way we can contribute to this internal shift, connecting like-minded professionals to pass on wisdom, provide support and most importantly share stories."

    Special thanks to all the Committee Members for their commitment to the Program, particularly Stefanie Cheong, Vijhai Utheyan, Maria Xu, William Zhou, Gillian Woon and Wai Kaey Soon

  • 10 May 2021 3:07 PM | Anonymous

    AALA, the Asian Law Centre and the Melbourne China Law Society at the University of Melbourne - ‘Law in Asia – A Comparative Approach’

    The AALA is proud to be collaborating with the Asian Law Centre and the Melbourne China Law Society at the University of Melbourne to present ‘Law in Asia – A Comparative Approach’ – a panel discussion featuring Dr Hop Dang and Professor Andrew Godwin of the University of Melbourne and Stephanie Cameron, a Senior Associate at Ashurst,

    The panel will compare and contrast laws and ways of doing business in Australia and other Asian jurisdictions, providing students with an opportunity to learn about cultures and practices of those markets, which are becoming increasingly important to and interconnected with the Australian legal market.

    This event will be conducted us via Zoom at 6:30 pm on Thursday 13 May 2021. The dial-in details are as follows:

    Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android

    Password: 5iEpu3

    Or join by phone:

    Dial (Australia): +61 3 7018 2005 or +61 2 8015 6011

    Dial (US): +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923

    Dial (Hong Kong, China): +852 5808 6088 or +852 5803 3730

    Dial (UK): +44 203 481 5240 or +44 131 460 1196

    Meeting ID: 827 876 9174

    International numbers available 

    Or join from a H.323/SIP room system:


    or SIP:8278769174@zmau.us


    Meeting ID: 8278769174

    Password: 478517

    If you have any queries, please email us at vic@aala.org.au

    We look forward to seeing you at the event.

    Kind regards,

    Asian Australian Lawyers Association

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