National Civil Justice Award

Since 1996, the ALA has awarded the national Civil Justice Award to an individual or organisation who has made a significant contribution to the pursuit of civil justice in Australia. The Award is presented at the ALA's National Conference in October.

See below for a gallery of all national Civil Justice Award recipients.

2023: Jennifer Miller (left) and Kathleen Madgewick (centre) for their determined fight for accountability and transparency around the unlawful Robodebt scheme Read more.

2022: Mal Byrne (right) for his work advocating for survivors of abuse, and specifically people seeking asylum in Australia. Read more.

2021: Andrew Morrison RFD SC (left) for his work to enable people who suffered abuse within institutions to receive fair compensation (read more) and Roger Singh (right) for representing stonemasons suffering deadly dust diseases and successfully lobbying for law reform to create safer workplaces (read more).

2020: Catherine Henry (right) for her long-term advocacy for vulnerable populations. Read more.
2019: George Newhouse (right) for using the law to support and advance social justice and human rights in Australia. ​Read more. 2018: Bernard Collaery (left) for his long-term advocacy for the people of Timor-Leste. Read more. 2017: Freya Mulvey and Thomas Neal (left) who worked for months to sign up victims of the Montara oil spill to a class action. Read more.
2016: knowmore for its immeasurable contribution to the fight against institutional child sexual abuse. Accepted by Warren Strange, Executive Officer (left). Read more. 2015: Dr Kristine Klugman OAM (centre) and Bill Rowlings OAM (right) — founders of Civil Liberties Australia — for their devotion to improving Australia’s laws and legal system. Read more. 2014: John Ellis for his work to bring the Catholic Church, and more broadly institutions, to justice and be made accountable for the actions of clergy and staff. Read more.

2013: Ferdi Tanoni (right) for advocating for fishing communities in the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara, particularly following the 2009 Montara oil spill. Read more.

2012: Eddie Mabo (posth.) for his advocacy for the achievement of Indigenous rights (accepted by his daughter Gail, left), and David Manne (right) for successfully challenging the Federal Government’s offshore refugee processing plan, the ‘Malaysian Solution’. Read more. 2011: Colin McDonald QC for his tireless work to improve the rights of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, and for saving Australian Bali 9 convicts Scott Rush and Renae Lawrence from the death penalty. Read more.
2010: Malcolm Fraser (right).

2009: The Honourable John Quigley (pictured) and Colleen Egan for their work to free Andrew Mallard, who was wrongly sentenced to life in prison and jailed for 11 years.

2008: Claire O'Connor who

repeatedly, and at significant personal and financial cost to herself, has made an outstanding contribution of the delivery of justice to the most needy in our community.

2007: Major Michael D. Mori for defending Australian-born David Hicks during his prosecution and imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 2006: Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister of the ACT, for his opposition to the Federal Government’s anti-terror laws. 2005: Bernie Banton (right), vice-president and spokesperson for the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia, for his work to ensure that asbestos victims get adequate compensation.

2004: Hetty Johnston (right), founder of Bravehearts, for her work with those affected by child sexual abuse.

2003: Andrew Wilkie (right) for blowing the whistle on the way the Federal Government used its intelligence to justify war on Iraq. 2002: Jennifer Beck (right) for exposing the prevalence of unsafe practices at King Edward Memorial Hospital in WA, while working as the hospital's in-house lawyer.
2001: Peter Gordon, Jack Rush QC and Peter Semmler QC (pictured left). 2000: Michael Schaefer (left) who led the legal team Cubillo and Gunner v The Commonwealth, and Ted Beavis (posth.) for his life-long commitment as an obstetrician and gynaecologist (accepted by his daughter Katherine Beavis).

1999: Three individual plaintiffs — Mrs Hart of Chappel v Hart, Mrs Whitaker (pictured) of Rogers v Whitaker and Judie Stephens — for their persistence in pursuing rights and entitlements which have resulted in favourable law changes for all plaintiffs.

1998: Rob Davis (right). 1997: Peter Long for leading the groundbreaking class action on the contamination of cattle herd by the chemical Helix. 1996: Dr Peter Cashman (left) and John Gordon (right) for their outstanding contribution to the delivery of civil justice.