William Ah Ket Scholarship winner for 2023 is revealed
Amber Meyer and Arden Yeh have been named the winners of this year’s William Ah Ket Scholarship for their collaboration on an essay that examines how those constituting the legal system have pursued equality and challenged marginalisation.
Their joint paper entitled, Towards Greater Cultural Diversity in Law: A Systemic, Bifurcated Legal and Policy Approach, provides a historical insight of legislation such as section 10 of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and explains the need to transform advocacy work from legislative action to a bifurcated legal and policy–based approach.
Amber, who is a final year law student, and Arden, who is a law graduate, are both based in Melbourne and were announced as the 2023 scholarship winners at a ceremony in the ACT Law Courts.
Maneesha Gopalan, an Associate at the Supreme Court of Victoria, was a co-runner up for the main prize for her essay, The Law, Equality and Anti-Discrimination, about the operation, effectiveness and impact of anti-discrimination legislation, rhetoric and practices within the Australian legal system and by its practitioners.
Samuel Koh was named a co-runner up, for his essay From Diverse to Diversity: A Journey towards Acceptance, that provides high-level principles to guide the design of legal mechanisms to address challenges to diversity.
The winners will be awarded $6,000 while both runners up will receive $1,000.
Established in 2017 by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, and sponsored by Maddocks, the aim of the scholarship is to encourage final year law students, law graduates and lawyers in the early stages of their career to contribute to the development and promotion of cultural diversity in the legal sector.
It is named after William Ah Ket who became the first Australian barrister of Chinese origin in 1904. He was an articled clerk at Maddocks prior to joining the Victorian Bar.
Making up this year’s judging panel was the Hon. Justice Susan Kenny AM of the Federal Court of Australia, and University of Adelaide Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Suzanne Le Mire, along with Maddocks CEO David Newman.
National President of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, Molina Asthana said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the co- winners of the William Ah Ket scholarship Amber Myer and Arden Yeh and the runners up, Maneesha Gopalan and Samuel Koh. Their research enriches our knowledge and informs our work.
“We value this partnership with Maddocks and their support for our flagship national event and hope to see many more informative and deserving papers on topics relating to equality, diversity and the legal profession or the law, in years to come.”
Speaking about the continued influence of William Ah Ket and the scholarship, David Newman said: “Through tapping our brilliant young legal minds for their ideas and insights, we can contribute to increasing openness in the profession. This was an objective that William personified as a committed campaigner against racial discrimination, both in and outside of the courtroom throughout his life.
“Congratulations to our winners and runners-up, and thank you to all of the students and lawyers who applied for this year’s scholarship.”