Law School awards the 2023 Kim Santow Law and Social Justice Essay Prize

25 January 2024
Annual essay prize awarded for 2023
Sydney Law School student Libby Newton has been awarded the 2023 Kim Santow Law and Social Justice Essay Prize at the conclusion of the annual Kim Santow Law and Social Justice Panel on 30 November.
Professor Simon Rice, Libby Newton and Professor Simon Bronitt

Newton was awarded the prize for her essay which addressed the question: What policy initiative/s would best enable you to pursue a career in social justice?

In her essay, Ms Newton identified factors that contribute to ‘social justice drift’ in law school, in particular the socialising effects of law school life.

After describing the limitations of initiatives that seek to inject a social justice ethos into life and learning at law school, Ms Newton sets out a policy of curricular reform and identities entry-points for social justice and social justice lawyering in the core curriculum.

The judging panel reported that:

“The author writes with clarity, and demonstrates a clear understanding of the concept of social justice, while picking out the shortcomings in the current approach to inculcating social justice ethos in law students.

They have conducted ample research and applied it to current Australian circumstances.  The research and thinking is marshalled to advance a central argument, on the need to 'mainstream' social justice concerns in the law school curricula.  

The author takes time to connect the literature to our context, and to draw on similar debates such as that relating to climate change in the curriculum.

The arguments are deeply rooted in existing literature, and lead to recommendations that are pragmatic while being situated within existing scholarship.”

Ms Newton was awarded a prize of $1,000, and the support of Law School academics to prepare and submit the essay for publication.

The topic and timing for the 2024 Kim Santow Law and Social Justice Essay Prize will be announced in the third quarter of 2024.

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