Event Summary

Deaths in custody are often the result of complex and multisystemic failings across criminal justice, health, and other social services and institutions. Within this context, it can be difficult to locate responsibility, address harms, and hold institutions to proper account.

In this panel discussion, Professor Tamara Walsh will join experts from Caxton Legal Centre and Prisoners Legal Service, to examine how advocacy through coronial inquests, a public database of death reports, and the use of human rights law might assist in addressing these complex issues.

About the speakers

Professor Tamara Walsh

TC Beirne School of Law

Tamara Walsh is a Professor of law at the University of Queensland. She established the UQ Deaths in Custody Project in 2016 along with a dedicated group of student volunteers. The project has grown substantially, with over 40 law students having been involved as volunteer researchers over the past six years. There are now over 800 cases included in the national deaths in custody database established by the team: www.deaths-in-custody.project.uq.edu.au

Klaire Coles

Director of the Coronial and Custodial Justice Practice

Caxton Legal Centre 

Klaire is the principal lawyer and Director of the Coronial and Custodial Justice Practice at Caxton Legal Centre. She is responsible for the management of the Queensland Coronial Legal Service which is a program operated by Caxton Legal Centre and Townville Community Law. The Queensland Coronial Legal Service provides legal advice and support to families at all stages of the coronial process including representation at inquests. Klaire has significant experience working with families in the coronial jurisdiction as well as expertise in human rights, administrative law and other civil law areas. Klaire has worked in community legal centres and at Legal Aid Queensland for her entire career and has a passion for social justice and human rights issues. 

Natalie McIntosh

Pro Bono Lawyer (Associate Level)

Moray & Agnew, Prisoners Legal Service.

Natalie McIntosh is a pro bono lawyer from Moray & Agnew Lawyers who has been seconded to Prisoners’ Legal Service (PLS) on a full-time basis since October 2020. At PLS, Natalie undertakes casework for prisoners experiencing disadvantage in relation to their prison conditions. She has a keen interest in researching the human right to life and the ways this right can be utilised to promote prevention of and accountability for deaths in custody. Natalie was a recent recipient of the 2021 ANU Kirsten Sjolander Memorial Prize for Advanced International Human Rights Law.  

Lucy Cornwell

Student Leader

Deaths in Custody Project

Lucy Cornwell recently completed her arts/law degree at UQ. She has been a volunteer with the UQ Deaths in Custody Project team since 2018. She has been student leader of the project, and the wider UQ Vulnerable Persons Project, since 2021. The Vulnerable Persons Project is comprised of three teams – the Deaths in Custody team, the Deaths in Care team and the UQ Human Rights Case Law team. Lucy also currently works as an administrator/paralegal at Prisoners’ Legal Service. She has been involved with PLS since 2019, when she began as a weekly volunteer.

Alisha Fagg

Honours Student

The University of Queensland

Alisha Fagg is completing an Honours thesis as part of her BCCJ (Hons) program at the University of Queensland. She is examining risk factors for self-harm and suicide among older prisoners, using the UQ Deaths in Custody database. Her research focuses on suicide deaths in custody among the ageing male prison population from a complex systems theory perspective. Whilst recognising that there are individual risk factors that are correlated to suicide deaths in custody, other risk factors are also often relevant. By using the Deaths in Custody database, Alisha aims to identify and examine other risk factors, both social and institutional, that contribute to these kinds of deaths in custody.


Online via Zoom