SA lawyer wins national award recognising commitment to seeking justice for asylum seekers

21st Oct 2022

A South Australian lawyer who uses his skills and expertise to advocate for survivors of abuse, and specifically people seeking asylum in Australia, has received the 2022 Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) Civil Justice Award.

Mal Byrne, Special Counsel at Shine Lawyers in Adelaide, was presented with the award during the ALA’s National Conference in the Barossa Valley today.

“Mal Byrne is a truly deserving recipient of our annual Civil Justice Award,” said Ms Genevieve Henderson, National President, ALA. “For many years, Mal has effectively used the law to support survivors of abuse in claims against churches, schools, sporting clubs, immigration detention centres, and government institutions.

“Mal has devoted his career to working alongside people who have needed to fight for the restitution and justice they deserve. For the past ten years he has shown extraordinary courage and passion in his fight for asylum seekers who have suffered great harm in Australia’s detention system.

 “Mal is currently running close to 50 detainees matters which are being intensely fought by the Commonwealth of Australia and its solicitors. Mal is fighting for these asylum seekers to obtain compensation for the psychiatric injuries that they suffered in immigration detention.

“The legal position is complex but the suffering experienced by these people is undeniable. Mal has shown extraordinary courage, with the support of his firm, to take on these matters which are being aggressively contested and will take many years to resolve.”

Previous recipients of the ALA’s Civil Justice Award include former prime minister Malcolm Fraser AC, Indigenous rights activist Eddie Mabo, lawyer Bernard Collaery and politician Andrew Wilkie MP.

Tags: South Australia Asylum seekers and refugees Civil Justice Award