Balawyn Jones

“The activities I was involved in shaped my understanding of the law as being less about ‘the law’ and more about people.”

Working with the Pro Bono Centre did not end for Balawyn Jones after she graduated from law in 2016. Her involvement with the Centre has continued through a number of projects, including a program to draft gender sensitive and victim-centred amendments for the Afghan Penal Code.

Balawyn said her experiences with the Pro Bono Centre taught her to engage more critically with society and law.

“The activities I was involved in shaped my understanding of the law as being less about ‘the law’ and more about people,” she said.

“The law is meaningless if it is not accessible to those in need. As lawyers, we are in a privileged position. Pro bono work is about recognising that privilege and using your skills as a lawyer for the benefit of others.”

Looking back on her opportunities with the Centre, Balawyn said the most memorable experience was presenting at the 2015 Asia Pro Bono Conference in Myanmar.

“I participated in the Manning St Project and worked in a team of three students to conduct comparative research into university pro bono programs,” she said.

“We surveyed more than 100 participants to analyse how university pro bono programs are structured and how they operate.

“Travelling internationally and delivering the findings of our pro bono research at the Conference was a personal highlight for me.”

Balawyn also contributed to activities with LawRight (formerly QPILCH), the Tongan Supreme Court and the Centre’s Asylum and Refugee Law Project.

“When I was still at university, the Centre supported me to help establish the UQ Refugee Tutoring Program. This is now a successful, multi-disciplinary tutoring service for Brisbane high-school students from migrant and refugee backgrounds,” she said.

“Through the UQ Refugee Tutoring Program, I can see the lasting legacy of the Pro Bono Centre’s support and the difference this had made to many students’ lives.”

Balawyn continues to build on her early beliefs regarding justice and law to benefit all people. She is now a PhD student in law at the University of Melbourne. Her topic is on the implementation of the Indonesia Anti-Domestic Violence Law and women’s access to justice.

Balawyn Jones

Qualifications

BA/LLB
2016