Law and poverty in Australia - 40 years after the Sackville Report


Photo, from left to right: Dr Vicki Sentas, AHRCentre Director Andrea Durbach, The Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, Professor Ronald Sackville and Professor Brendan Edgeworth.

In mid-October, the AHRCentre hosted a workshop (convened by Brendan Edgeworth, Vicki Sentas and Andrea Durbach) at the UNSW Law School which brought together leading Australian and international practitioners and academics (including, socio-economic rights scholars, Professor Wouter Vanderhole (University of Antwerp) and Professor Malcolm Langford (University of Oslo) to examine the contemporary role of law in the alleviation or perpetuation of poverty by reference to recommendations in the 1975 Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, Professor Ronald Sackville’s Law and Poverty in Australia, 40 years on. 

The workshop, opened by Professor Sackville, addressed many of the issues covered in the report - legal aid, tenancy law, consumer law, social security and criminal law, legal services and access to justice, and the position of disadvantaged people before the law (Aboriginal peoples, migrants, homeless, children) - and critically considered the extent of progress, or otherwise, made to date in each of these fields. Additionally, speakers explored the extent to which poverty and its legal dimensions and manifestations, present new challenges for lawyers, scholars and policy-makers in relation to issues, such as LGBTI rights, discrimination and poverty;  tax and injustice; and the transformation of labour rights and the welfare state. The workshop papers will be published in an edited collection in late 2016.

Download the programme by clicking here.