In conversation with... David Manne

Presented by ANU College of Law

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and the executive director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre in Fitzroy, Melbourne. The Centre helps 5000 people per year and plays a crucial role in human rights and advocacy throughout Australia – helping people to rebuild their lives through permanent protection.

As a first generation Australian, David has personal experience of migration and the refugee narrative. He has worked in migration and refugee law for almost twenty years. He has been called a ‘thorn in the side of the government’ for his successful advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees that has resulted in successful High Court challenges. David has achieved significant outcomes for his clients challenging government policies and legislation through his advocacy. By focusing on Australian domestic migration legislation, his legal team highlight the intersection of international human rights law with the policies and legislation implemented in Australia.

These cases involve the predicament of a person asking the court whether the government has the power to do what it seeks to do. Each case has a very personal impact on the individual, and can impact wider groups of asylum seekers and raises serious legal questions surrounding policy governments implement. By taking a strategic approach to the law, David has succeeded in exposing how Australian law responds to a persons claim for protection and how Australians international obligations are incorporated into the domestic legislation.

David Manne has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Prize for Administrative and Human Rights Law, the Law Institute President’s Awards (2006 and 2011), and was shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal in 2011.