Farzana Choudhury, one of Canberra’s most prominent community lawyers, will lead the ACT Law Society for 2022-23, Her election was announced at the society’s AGM.
Ms Choudhury is the disability law supervising solicitor at Canberra Community Law (CCL) where she provides free disability discrimination law and related legal assistance and community education to support people on low incomes and facing other barriers.
She was previously the program manager and senior solicitor with CCL’s Street Law program, helping people facing homelessness in civil and minor criminal matters.
Before joining the community legal sector, she was an in-house lawyer with the Australian Government.
“I’m thrilled to be elected as president of the ACT Law Society,” Ms Choudhury said.
“I am particularly excited to be the first community lawyer to hold this position. My passion for access to justice, which is inspired by my day-to-day work with people experiencing barriers, gives me a useful perspective on the Law Society’s existing strategic focus areas.
“I’m looking forward to promoting the society’s ongoing work, including our continued support for the legal assistance sector, supporting our members’ capabilities to provide pro bono services and engage with vulnerable communities, and continuing work towards a more inclusive legal profession.”
As a lawyer specialising in disability discrimination and poverty law, Ms Choudhury is passionate about human rights lawyering at the local level, using her legal expertise and innovation to improve legal and social outcomes for people facing barriers to justice.
In 2018, she established a health justice partnership to support young people facing homelessness, and in 2019 set up a targeted legal education and advice clinic series for women in prison.
In 2022 she established CCL’s Mental Health Justice Clinic, which provides free legal assistance to people with mental ill health issues.
She also coordinated the ACT arm of the Australian Research Council’s national study into the criminalisation of poverty and homelessness, and is a project partner on a research project on human rights complaints across Australia.
In 2019, Ms Choudhury was named ACT Young Lawyer of the Year and in 2020 she was awarded the Australian National University Young Alumna of the Year, in recognition of her professional and community engagement to support people facing disadvantage.
She is a member of the ACT Law Society’s Access to Justice & Inclusion Committee and the society’s nominee director of the Law Council of Australia.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, and a Master of Laws from the ANU.
The newly elected Law Society Council are: Farzana Choudhury (president), Susan Platis (vice president), Tim Dingwall (vice president), Vik Sundar (treasurer), Kevin Robinson (secretary), Elizabeth Carroll (immediate past president), Andrew Allan, Georgia Briggs, Catherine Coles, Chris Donohue, Sarah Milson-Mahy, Adam Peppinck, Amy Pyett, Lisa Quilty, Mark Tigwell, Amanda Wescombe.