Equal Justice Project celebrates a big year

08 November 2013
EJP 2013
From left to right: EJP Patron Sir Edmund Thomas with EJP 2013 Co-Directors Sam Bookman and Rosie Polaschek, and 2013 Equal Justice Award recipient Peter Williams QC.

The Equal Justice Project (EJP) has marked an exciting year of growth with an end of year function at the Law School. The event was an opportunity to celebrate the successes of 2013, which saw the EJP expand its existing activities and take on a new range of projects.

The EJP was founded in 2005, and now comprises 130 students involved in a variety of pro bono and community justice volunteering. It is entirely student-led, with an executive team of directors and project managers. The EJP has three main functions: pro bono support for practitioners, on-campus engagement and awareness, and support for the wider community in schools.

In 2013, EJP carried out 12 research projects for outside organisations and practitioners, including cases to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Its on-campus team conducted a student-led series of symposia and issues papers, raised money for worthy causes and made oral submissions to parliamentary select committees. In the wider community, students delivered almost 30 workshops on legal issues to school students around Auckland, and more than 1000 hours of service at Community Law Centres in Waitakere and Mangere.

The end of year function acknowledged the hard work that students had put in throughout the year and recognised their outstanding voluntary commitment. The event was also attended by members of the Faculty of Law, the wider profession and representatives from the EJP’s principal sponsor, the Auckland District Law Society Inc.

As a new initiative for 2013, the EJP executive created an “Equal Justice Award” as a way of recognising outstanding contributions to the spirit of equal justice and community service in the Auckland legal community. The inaugural recipient of the award was Peter Williams QC. In his acceptance speech, Mr Williams reminisced on a life in the law, ranging from the quirks of the profession to the challenges faced as a campaigner for reform.

EJP now looks forward to an even bigger year in 2014 under the leadership of its incoming directors, Rosie Polaschek and Allanah Colley.