Today, Hall & Wilcox recognises International Day of People with Disability. The theme for this year is empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability is the first international human rights instrument that enshrines an explicit right to access to justice. Access to justice is a core element of the rule of law and assists in combating social and economic marginalisation by providing greater inclusiveness and equality.
Providing access to justice to people with disability is a core part of our pro bono practice. People with disability are often unable to pay for legal services due to difficulties securing employment and increased living costs. Hall & Wilcox provides pro bono assistance through:
- advice clinics with the Australian Centre for Disability Law, Mental Health Legal Centre and Queensland Advocacy Inc.;
- employment law assistance through our partnership with Sussex Street Community Law Service;
- assistance with wills for those whose disability prevents access to a lawyer and who may be at risk of abuse; and
- assistance with NDIS reviews.
Pro bono work plays an important role in empowering people with disability to understand their rights through legal advice and to put forward their best case through legal representation that they might otherwise not be able to access. It ensures they have an inclusive and equal place in the legal system, which should be accessible to all.
Workplace inclusion also plays an important role in empowerment and accessibility.
In Australia, one in five people experiences disability in their lifetime. A disability is any condition that restricts a person’s mental, sensory or mobility ability and may be caused by accident, trauma, genetics or disease. It could be temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired, visible or invisible. It is therefore important that we create an inclusive, respectful workplace that is open and accessible to all people.
Every day, we should aim to:
- provide equal opportunity for people with disabilities to participate in and contribute to firm activities;
- promote awareness and facilitate a culture of support for people who experience disability, and
- set standards for our firm and within our legal profession for social inclusion, diversity, respect, equality and fairness.
By having a conversation about disability, we can challenge perceptions, educate others and normalise disability in everyday life. We all have a role to play to ensure people with disability have the same opportunities as others to reach their full potential.
For information, see The Australian Network on Disability (AND), a national, membership-based, for-purpose organisation that supports organisations to advance the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business.