Faculty of Law Alumni

Ella Haddad

Ella Nicholson

I graduated from UTAS with degrees in Arts & Law in 2001 and have recently returned to postgraduate study at the Law School. I am currently completing a masters in copyright law, looking at digital copyright infringement.

During my undergraduate study I was pretty sure that private legal practice was not the path for me. A clerkship in my fourth year of study confirmed this feeling, so I followed my gut (and heart) and have spent the last several years furthering my interest in the law working in the public sector.

My first job out of university was with the Hon. Duncan Kerr SC MP, Federal Member for Denison. The job gave me hands on experience with legislation, the parliamentary process, travelling to Canberra for parliamentary sitting weeks, as well as giving me the chance to use and enhance my advocacy skills on behalf of constituents in the Hobart office.

During my time working for Duncan I was also lucky enough to work as a legal researcher in a case he successfully took to the High Court, in his capacity as a barrister. The Case (S157 v The Commonwealth) challenged attempts to limit access to judicial review under the Migration Act and is considered one of Australia’s landmark constitutional law cases.

After the birth of my first daughter I left Duncan’s office and began work as Legal Adviser to then Tasmanian Attorney General Judy Jackson. That role allowed me to strengthen my parliamentary experience in government and also gave me a good understanding of the workings of the Tasmanian public service.

I worked for Judy until her retirement in 2006, and was retained to work for the incoming Attorney-General, Steve Kons MHA. In the role of Legal Adviser with both Ministers, I was able to work on such issues as Tasmania’s Family Violence legislation, the Tasmanian Relationships Act - recognising the rights of same sex couples, and the issue of a Tasmanian Charter of Rights.

I have also involved myself in various voluntary organisations. Two examples are the ICJ and the Fabian Society.

From 2002 – 2006, I was Secretary of the Tasmanian Branch of the International Commission of Jurists. I was involved in the establishment of the branch and served as Secretary during its initial years. The ICJ is an international organisation committed to the coherence with and implementation of international law and principles that advance human rights through the rule of law.

In 2004 I was part of a small party representing the Australian Section at the ICJ’s biennial conference in Berlin. The Conference dealt with legislative responses to terrorism.

From 2003-2006, I served as President of the Tasmanian branch of the Fabian Society, a left wing think tank researching progressive political ideas and public policy reform. I arranged several guest speakers including the Hon. Carmen Lawrence, Rodney Croome, Justice Peter Heerey, and the Hon. Barry Jones.

So far I am really enjoying my return to the Law School as a postgraduate student, and am looking forward to discovering where this path may take me in the future.