Advance Awards Social Impact Category Finalist
Jennifer Robinson is a human rights lawyer and bonified UK national hero. Ms Robinson has an international practice based at Doughty Street Chambers in London, specialising in human rights, media, public, and international law. Ms Robinson works across a high-profile free speech and freedom of information cases and is the youngest Australian woman to have appeared before the International Court of Justice. She is best known for her work as counsel to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, placing her at the centre of one of the most important and controversial legal cases of the century. Ms Robinson has worked on high profile media law cases in the name of protection of journalists, including advising the New York Times during its investigation of the Murdoch phone-hacking scandal and Amber Heard in the various defamation cases brought by Johnny Depp over allegations of domestic violence. She represented the BBC World Service in relation to the persecution of BBC Persian journalists, the family of Daphen Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist assassinated in a car bomb, and the International Federation of Journalists in relation to the killing of Palestinian journalists by Israel.
Ms Robinson was educated at the Australian National University and the University of Oxford where she was a Rhodes scholar. She has maintained a particular focus on climate justice issues, having successfully represented anti-fracking protesters in challenging sweeping anti-protest injunctions and in the successful legal challenge to have the UK’s fracking policy declared unlawful on climate change grounds. Ms Robinson has spent decades working with activists and political prisoners in West Papua, acting for United Liberation Movement for West Papua and their Nobel Peace Prize nominated leader, Benny Wenda. She has also conducted international human rights missions for the International Bar Association to Syria and Malaysia. Her work to support emerging lawyers from marginalised communities in public interest and human rights law includes five years building the Bertha Justice Initiative, a global human rights program. The program has now invested an estimated USD $50 million in strategic human rights litigation and education in more than 17 countries. In 2021, Ms. Robinson co-founded the Acacia Awards with the Public Education Foundation in Australia, which brings together public school alumni to provide financial support and mentoring to promising public school children across Australia and to create an alternative to private school networks for public school children. The program has grown from 10 to 35 annual scholarships in just the first year and Jen intends to build the program to ensure that there are awards in every school district across Australia.
“The law can be a powerful tool to bring about positive social change. I have seen the possibility of the law to create change and end systemic injustice through my work around the world – and this motivates me every day.”