Disability Human Rights Clinic

What is the Disability Human Rights Clinic?

In 2015, Melbourne Law School (MLS) began offering a new JD clinical subject, Disability Human Rights Clinic (DHRC). Students enrolled in the clinic identify, analyse and report on rights violations experienced by persons with disabilities, and propose and advocate for solutions. They collaborate closely with a range of external stakeholders, including Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs), government bodies, civil society organisations, international non-governmental organisations, and international human rights bodies. The clinic has a multidisciplinary focus bringing together the fields of disability studies and international human rights law.

DHRC Research Outcomes

What does it Involve?

Students enrolled in Disability Human Rights Clinic undertake 12 days of clinical work at MLS. They participate in a range of clinical projects including legislative submissions, amicus briefs, shadow reporting, and public interest litigation. Students are taught lawyering skills in persuasive writing, organisational collaboration and advocacy.

The clinical work is complemented by seminars. Through lecture and discussion, students acquire substantive knowledge in international human rights law, disability rights law and disability studies. The seminars are taught by the subject coordinator and include a variety of guest lecturers. During the classes, students also have an opportunity to reflect on their ongoing clinical experience.


Disability Human Rights Clinic aims to enhance students' academic and professional skills in the areas of legal analysis, research, collaborative work and advocacy. It seeks to instil an understanding of the capacity and role of law and lawyers to create social, economic and political change, and the justness of being able to access the law. The clinic also aims to give students an appreciation of the relevance and value of applying disability human rights frameworks to Australian and international legal problems.

Another key aim is to ensure that the clinic's work is consistent with, and furthers, the objectives of DPOs. For this reason, students are required to consult with DPOs in the design and execution of their clinical projects.

Read more about the aims and ambitions of Disability Human Rights Clinic in The Age, Empowering those with Disabilities.

Potential Clients

If your organisation is interested in collaborating with the Disability Human Rights Clinic, we would love to hear from you. If you have a particular project in mind, please complete the clinic template and send it to anna.arstein@unimelb.edu.au.

How do I apply?

Details available on the JD LMS Community.

JD LMS Community Login

Further Information

Handbook details: LAWS90004

Enquiries about Disability Human Rights Clinic can be directed to the Subject Coordinator, Anna Arstein-Kerslake at anna.arstein@unimelb.edu.au.