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Who are we?
The Western Sydney University Justice Clinic is a community legal service, where practicing lawyers and academics work on client cases and law reform and access to justice projects, run health justice outreach clinics, provide community legal education, operate the university’s student legal service and teach the university’s clinical legal and internship subjects.
The Justice Clinic receives regular client referrals from established partners for pro bono work, such as Legal Aid NSW applications, victims support applications for victim-survivors of violence or modern slavery, and applications and statements for humanitarian or protection visa claims.
We also work with clients and counsel to lodge communications about breaches of international conventions to United Nations committees, such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) and the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Recent submissions, endorsements and publications include:
- Human Trafficking Legal Center (US), Orrick (US), Western Sydney University Justice Clinic, Australia Guide: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction for Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (September 2021)
- Rebecca Dominguez, 'Australia urgently needs a compensation scheme for victims of slavery - without it there can be no justice', The Guardian, 6 August 2021
- Submission to the Review of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (July 2022), available here
- Signatory to Joint Submission with DV NSW to the Review of the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 (July 2022), available here
- Signatory to Joint Position Statement on ‘The case for removing the requirement to separately prove injury in NSW Victims Support applications’ (July 2022), available here
- Submission to Coercive Control Exposure Draft (August 2022), available here
- Signatory to Joint Submission to the NSW Legislative Council Social Issues Committee Inquiry Into Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Bill 2022 (Submission No 4), (28 October 2022), available here
- Signatory to Response to the NSW Sentencing Council’s Consultation Paper on Fraud (11 November 2022), available here
- Submission to the NSW Sentencing Council’s Consultation Paper on Fraud (15 November 2022), available here
- Signatory to Joint Position Statement on ‘The call for the establishment of a national compensation scheme for survivors of modern slavery in Australia’ (November 2022), available soon
The Justice Clinic responds to and informs identified law reform and access to justice issues. We also build ongoing relationships with community stakeholders and partners for multi-disciplinary collaborations, projects and submissions.
Some current and recently completed projects include:
- Coercive control law reform research;
- Development of modern slavery guides and resources;
- Development of CLE factsheets and resources for partners on family law, child care and protection and the NDIS scheme;
- Creation of a Therapeutic Sentencing Alternatives Database for the District Court of NSW;
- Cross-jurisdictional domestic and international comparative analysis of model litigant and model landlord guidelines in relation to social housing;
- Research into a fines-without-conviction sentencing option in NSW.
Health Justice Partnerships
The Justice Clinic has partnered with the WSU School of Social Sciences Community Clinics to integrate legal and counselling services as “pop-up” health justice clinics within community organisations. Community members and clients of the community organisation make an appointment to meet with supervised law students and counselling students to run through a specifically designed Legal Health Check to identify issues the client may be facing in order to connect the client with further referral and support.
At the same time as meeting a client’s legal and non-legal needs in an effective and trauma-informed way, the health justice partnership provides therapeutic services on behalf of the community organisation, and teaches graduating students the manner and benefit of working in an interdisciplinary and collaborative way with other professions while undertaking requisite placement, or practical legal training, hours.
Community Legal Education (CLE)
Since establishing its free community legal education (CLE) outreach programs over the past year, the Justice Clinic has worked extensively with schools across Western Sydney and regional NSW to deliver free workshops on a variety of topics including consent education, employment rights, police powers, road safety, driving licences and fines, and cybersafety laws (including sexting and intimate image abuse offences), and more. The Justice Clinic also works with youth centres, community groups and multicultural / multifaith organisations to deliver CLE initiatives.
Alongside the delivery of CLE workshops, the Justice Clinic continues to develop digital resources through mediums such as factsheets, podcasts and webinars in order to provide greater accessibility to legal information for the wider community.
Some examples of these can be found below:
- Employment Law - Awards (Oct 2022)
- Employment Law - Probation (Oct 2022)
- Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)(Oct 2022)
- Insurance Law - the Basics (Oct 2022)
- Recording and Distributing Intimate Images (Oct 2022)
- Intimate Image Offences (Dec 2022)
- Tenancy Rights - Rental Bonds (Oct 2022)
- Modified Vehicles in NSW (Dec 2022)
- Road Safety: Learners Drivers Licenses (Dec 2022)
- Traffic Offences: Paying and Challenging Fines (Dec 2022)
If you would like to find out more about the Justice Clinic’s CLE programs, or request workshops or materials, please contact the Justice Clinic’s Admin Officer.
Student Legal Service (SLS)
The Student Legal Service (SLS) is a free legal advice and referral service, funded through SSAF funds and available to all current domestic and international students of WSU.
The service is provided by lawyers of the Western Sydney University Justice Clinic who, depending on the semester, may also be helped by law students completing one of the Clinic subjects.
At present, we can advise on areas of law such as tenancy and accommodation, minor criminal matters, traffic offences, employment, debt/credit issues, consumer rights, motor vehicle accidents and more. We are unable to provide advice or representation on matters that involve, or may involve, complaints against WSU or WSU The College, or migration, visa or family law matters.
For further information or to contact the SLS, please refer to the Student Legal Service webpage or contact T. 02 9685 4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSU law students who enrol in a Clinic subject for the semester are able to participate in an experiential learning program where they gain practical lawyering experience while critically reflecting on the role of the law and of lawyers in advancing justice.
Students work under the supervision of the Director, Principal Solicitor and other Clinic lawyers. The specific placement activities and opportunities align with the other work of the Justic Clinic each semester, and will ordinarily include:
- Working on advice, casework, policy development, submissions and / or research and reporting in substantive law reform or access to justice projects; and
- Assisting with client work, including for Student Legal Service clients and other clients of the Justice Clinic, which may involve instruction and advice appointments, legal research, drafting correspondence and file notes, and other client-related work.
WSU law students who enrol in the Internship subject are placed with host organisations, including public interest organisations, community legal centres, government departments, corporations, barristers’ chambers or private law firms. Internships provide students with invaluable access to opportunities to understand the law in context, to apply their formal learning about legal principles, to develop essential professional skills and to gain exposure to different career pathways. Students also complete modules and seminars run through the School of Law while completing their placement.
Justice Clinic Location and Operation
The Western Sydney University Justice Clinic is located at:
School of Law
Parramatta South Campus
Western Sydney University
Parramatta NSW 2151
Please note that the Western Sydney University Justice Clinic does not have a drop in service or general advice line for the public.
If you are a Western Sydney University student requiring legal assistance, please contact the Student Legal Service.
If you are a member of the Western Sydney community and you require legal assistance, please contact the Western Sydney Community Legal Centre. Otherwise, please contact LawAccess NSW.
Western Sydney University Justice Clinic Staff
Academic and Professional Staff
Jenni Whelan | View Profile
Jenni has worked as a human rights lawyer for 25 years. She has worked in Australia’s domestic legal system as an in-house government and NGO lawyer, as a Tribunal member and as a human rights implementation consultant. She worked for over a decade at the Australian Human Rights Commission including as Counsel Assisting on the Stolen Children Inquiry and as instructing solicitor for the Commission’s intervention in the High Court 'Malaysian Solution' case. She has been the Legal Director at the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and a Legal Member of the NSW Guardianship Tribunal and a Guardian Ad Litem of the Children’s Court.
She has worked extensively as a human rights consultant to Government, NGOs’ and corporations including as an Expert on the Rights of the Child to the Australian Defence Force. Jenni has also worked in the international human rights system as Legal Counsel for Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. Jenni has lectured in discrimination and human rights law for over 20 years and has been the Director of Experiential learning at UNSW Law and co-director of the UNSW Human Rights Clinic. Jenni has led and supervised international and domestic clinic projects in partnership with community and other stakeholders.
These projects focused on testing aspects of law, policy or practice to strategically advance the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers and other vulnerable groups. Jenni was appointed as the Director of the WSUJC, and Director of Clinical Legal Education at the Western Sydney University School of Law in March 2020, and works closely with domestic and international stakeholders on access to justice and law reform projects alongside other social justice lawyers.
Rebecca Dominguez | View Profile
Rebecca (BA Hons, MLLP Hons) is Principal Solicitor / Clinical Supervisor with the Western Sydney University Justice Clinic. Prior to joining WSU, Rebecca was a senior lawyer in the Pro Bono Practice Group of Baker McKenzie specialising in human rights and social justice cases involving modern slavery, human trafficking, forced marriage, family violence, elder abuse, disability discrimination, employment, and refugee and asylum seeker claims. She was responsible for representing her own clients, supervising and mentoring lawyers in Baker McKenzie’s Australian and international offices in pro bono legal cases and managing relationships and referrals with community legal centres, NGOs, public interest organisations, NFPs, private firms and government departments.
Rebecca has partnered with clients to conduct research on domestic and international human rights issues including examining the introduction of civil protections against forced marriage in Australia, Canada and the UK and analysing the intersection between family violence, forced marriage and modern slavery legislation in Australia. She has also assisted community and other stakeholders to draft legal and policy submissions to federal and state government inquiries, including the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the Modern Slavery Act NSW; the Commonwealth parliamentary inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence; the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996; the Queensland parliamentary inquiry into the Human Rights Act; and the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Elder Abuse inquiry.
Rebecca has also worked in-house in legal and compliance, in private practice in worker’s compensation and public liability matters and as a criminal defence lawyer in the Supreme, District, Local and Children’s Courts of NSW, representing clients of the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) and Legal Aid NSW. She was an inaugural member of Baker’s McKenzie’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement committee.
Rebecca appears on panels and in programs for young lawyers and law students on access to justice in the legal sector and social justice career pathways. She was an original contributor to the Australian Pro Bono Centre’s Client Management & Self-Care Guide for pro bono practitioners in Australia. She received the national 2019 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year award in recognition of her family violence work. Her practice’s work with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service was acknowledged in the 2020 Humanitarian Award for Best Refugee Project in NSW for RACS’ Women At Risk Program. She currently sits on the Commonwealth Government’s Forced Marriage Protection Order Consultation Group, a Modern Slavery Advisory Board, and the NSW Law Society’s Human Rights Committee.
Director of Clinical Legal Education, School of Law
Principal Solicitor / Clinical Supervisor
Legal Project Officer
Community Legal Education (CLE) lawyer
Academic Project Officer