Human Rights Law Clinic (Virtual)

New Colombo Plan grants are available for a limited number of law students to undertake a virtual international clinical placement over the Summer Semester 2021-2022. Academic credit for this placement is granted through elective law course LAWS5233 Transnational Perspectives in Law.

Students have the opportunity to gain real-world global understanding and experience working with international partner Justice Centre Hong Kong on a range of casework, research and policy tasks.

About Justice Centre Hong Kong

Justice Centre Hong Kong is a non-profit human rights organisation working to protect the rights of Hong Kong's most vulnerable: refugees and other people seeking protection, and survivors of torture, human trafficking and forced labour.

About the Human Rights Law Clinic

The Human Rights Law Clinic is a three-week programme that offers university students a unique opportunity to engage in the work of the Justice Centre Hong Kong. Students are trained and empowered to make a difference to the lives of people seeking asylum in Hong Kong.

Participation in the Clinic enables students to:

  • Engage with the theory and practice of non-refoulement law in Hong Kong and internationally;
  • Develop professional skills and judgement in a real legal practice setting by directly assisting claimants;
  • Critically analyse the law, policies and systems to identify challenges and propose creative strategies and solutions;
  • Engage with complex legal/factual research and analysis to support awareness-raising initiatives and legal cases;
  • Engage with other charities and commercial law firm pro bono partners;
  • Understand how to engage with the public policymaking process and key government stakeholders;
  • Learn how to take a human rights-based approach to legal work and cultivate a long-term commitment to public service.

The Clinic will run for three weeks during the Summer Semester (29 November - 17 December 2021) on a full-time basis. Students participating in the Clinic are expected to be available between 11:30am and 4:30pm each day.

Please refer to the Clinic Schedule for further details of the timetable.

This clinic is open to undergraduate or postgraduate law students at UQ. It is aimed at students interested in a career in law, human rights, politics, public policy, or NGO management. Applicants will be required to demonstrate enthusiasm for human rights law, public law, refugee rights and/or social policy.

Students will be selected by UQ. Preference will be given to students with prior experience in a client-facing legal environment and/or working with vulnerable individuals. There are no formal language requirements, but preference will be given to students with Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali or Vietnamese language skills.

The application process for this clinic will be competitive. A maximum of 14 students will be selected to participate. A minimum of 8 students is required for the program to run. 

UQ law students are invited to apply as part of LAWS5233 (Transnational Perspectives in Law).

The application process is as follows:

  1. Complete the Application Form (link below). Applications close Sunday, 31 October 2021 at midnight (AEST). Applications and materials must be submitted by email to probono@law.uq.edu.au. 
  2. The School of Law will shortlist candidates. All applicants will be advised whether or not they have been shortlisted by  Monday, 8 November 2021.
  3. Shortlisted candidates may be invited to attend a pre-selection Zoom interview as part of the selection process.

Application form

*Students unsure whether they are eligible to gain credit for a law elective towards their LLB(Hons) studies should seek confirmation from the BEL Faculty: bel@uq.edu.au.

Administrative fees apply and are paid directly to Justice Centre Hong Kong. The cost per student for the 2021 International Legal Studies Externship Clinic is $2,000 AUD

UQ Law School has New Colombo Plan funding to support this clinic. Each successful eligible student will receive $2,000 AUD towards their course costs. 

"Justice Centre’s Human Rights Law Clinic is an immensely rewarding experience that provides great exposure to the practical workings of non-refoulement law in Hong Kong. Not only does JCHK provide well-structured, in-depth training to prepare us for substantive, meaningful tasks, we also had invaluable opportunities to talk to clients and understand how the work we do are actually positively impacting on their lives. As a result, I was able to hone both legal and non-legal skills through assisting in client meetings, legal research and drafting. The Clinic is an eye-opening experience that allows you to truly appreciate the value of pro bono practice, as well as be more aware of the injustice that exists in society today. I would highly recommend students to take up the opportunity to work with Justice Centre Hong Kong." – Ally, 2021 Summer Clinic

"The Human Rights Law Clinic Programme is the most rewarding internship I have ever participated in. I have been able to obtain deep knowledge in the field of non-refoulement protection law through extensive training provided by Justice Centre. I have also been able to put this knowledge into practice: as a participant, I was not being tasked with repetitive administrative work, but actual meaningful work that created impact to non-refoulement protection claimants. However, what was most impressive about the Programme, is that Justice Centre is very welcoming of new ideas, even if these new ideas come from a Clinic participant. As such during the Clinic Programme, I was able to make proposals to Justice Centre on schemes to better serve non-refoulement protection claimants; and Justice Centre was very eager to support me beyond the Clinic Programme to make the proposal a reality. I strongly urge all law students who have creative ideas and who want to learn about how their legal knowledge can be used to better society to join the programme." – Ben, 2020 Summer Clinic