In 2021, the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, in partnership with the Refugee Advice Casework Service (RACS) and the Melbourne Law School (MLS) Clinics at the University of Melbourne is proud to launch the Stateless Children Legal Clinic (SCLC).
There are an estimated 10 – 15 million stateless people in the world; approximately one third are children. Without nationality, stateless children face barriers in accessing education and healthcare; and in Australia, the threat of prolonged immigration detention and removal to a third country such as Nauru.
The SCLC offers MLS Juris Doctor students the opportunity to develop practical legal skills and directly assist in the delivery of essential legal services to stateless children in their application for Australian citizenship, with potentially life changing outcomes.
‘Interning at the Stateless Children Legal Centre has been an experience unparalleled with anything else in my three years at law school. The opportunity to engage first-hand with clients has equipped me with a wealth of practical legal skills, and provided me with humbling insights into the challenges faced by stateless persons in Australia.’ – Claudia, JD student
‘It is amazing to know that I am making such a big difference in the children's lives while also gaining valuable knowledge and experience. The internship exceeded my expectations. I loved being able to lead and learn at the same time. I enjoyed being assigned clients and working with them. It was such an amazing experience. Being supervised by Katie during my internship made me feel supported and motivated. Through Katie and the statelessness clinic I was able to become familiar with an issue that is widespread in Australia and requires urgent attention.’ - Zahraa, JD student
The SCLC is the first stateless legal clinic of its kind in Australia, and the third of its kind globally.
The SCLC is coordinated by Katie Robertson. Katie is a lawyer with previous experience in acting for stateless children to successfully apply for Australian citizenship. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness and Assistant Director of MLS Clinics at the University of Melbourne where she teaches Public Interest Law. The initial pilot is offered through MLS’ Legal Internship program.
The clinical work conducted by students in the SCLC is supervised by solicitors at the Refugee Advice Casework Service (RACS). RACS’ Stateless Children Legal Project is the only specialized legal clinic in Australia providing targeted assistance to stateless children.
The SCLC will be offered through the Legal Internship subject in Semester 2 2022. An information session regarding the Clinic will be held in April 2022.
Prospective JD students interested in learning more can register their interest in the Clinic by completing the online registration form available here.
For further information about the SCLC, please contact clinic coordinator Katie Robertson - firstname.lastname@example.org