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Catriona Alice Stuart Martin

She/her
Pro Bono Director, Asia Pacific

I'm passionate about supporting pro bono clients to achieve their goals and working in partnership to improve the social and economic wellbeing of our most disadvantaged communities.

About

Catriona is a pro bono lawyer with 10 years’ experience working with disadvantaged individuals, community law centres, NGOs, UN agencies, development organisations and Governments in low income countries. She leads the firm’s pro bono work across 13 offices in the Asia Pacific region.

In her role, Catriona works with clients to resolve complex access to justice issues and develop strategic programs that support economic and social development in countries in the Asia Pacific region. Her approach is underpinned by the principles of client led decision making and rights holder engagement, and she brings a strong focus on monitoring and evaluation.

Catriona leads the firm’s strategic pro bono support in the Pacific Islands region where she manages major relationships with Governments and the University of South Pacific. She oversees the regional pro bono support of people who have been forcibly displaced which involves both direct legal representation of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people and legal education, as well as legal advice to NGOs working with those communities. She also leads the firm’s pro bono work supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and businesses and focuses on projects addressing racial and sexual inequality.

Catriona actively identifies ESG related pro bono work including in relation to climate change and helps commercial clients to establish impactful pro bono projects for their lawyers to participate in.

Having previously worked as a criminal defence lawyer for vulnerable young people, Catriona has deep expertise representing children and young people and advocating for their rights. She has also spent time working for an Indigenous organisation in Alice Springs and strongly believes in self-determination.

Catriona regularly speaks at conferences on topics related to the practice of pro bono, human rights and solutions to social justice issues.

Areas of FocusCorporate
Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the High Court of AustraliaSolicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales

EXPERIENCE

  • With Unicef East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, led a major submission to the United Nations Independent Expert on Children Deprived of Liberty which considered recommendations for law, policy and practice to safeguard the rights of children and help to reduce the number of children deprived of liberty. The submission covered 15 countries across Asia and the Pacific.
  • Established the firm’s pro bono relationship with the University of South Pacific and developed a unique legal course which, since 2017, has seen over 550 law students from across the Pacific Islands trained in core practical legal skills. The same course is now being taught to Ministry of Justice officials and at universities in South East Asia.
  • Established Australia’s first pro bono birth certificate clinic which provides legal assistance to vulnerable people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, who have been unable to register their birth and therefore cannot obtain identification documentation. This clinic now runs across 4 states in Australia.
  • With the Zambia Judiciary, the Zambia Corrections Department, Undikumbukire Zambia and Ramsey Beck, DLA Piper’s African Pro Bono Director, led a week-long child justice drive in Copperbelt Province, Zambia. The work involved interviewing and documenting the experiences of 118 children detained in adult prisons and advocating for their release.
  • Led a complex multijurisdictional analysis in 54 jurisdictions of prisoner release schemes that were implemented by governments in response to COVID19. The research considered data on prisoner release numbers, legislative and policy reform which formed the basis for release, structures of prisoner support programs and highlighted best practice for governments to consider when implementing similar release programs.
  • In partnership with AIG, led a major research project into the statutory compensation schemes for survivors of human trafficking across 20 jurisdictions globally. The first of its kind report, analysed the schemes managed by governments to provide financial compensation to survivors and the barriers that particular provisions may create, as well as highlighted examples of best practice.
  • Established the Know You Rights training programs for young people from refugee backgrounds as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Australia which provided critical legal information across key topics and helped young people to advocate for their own rights.
  • In partnership with TrustLaw and the International Rescue Committee, established the first Know Your Rights training program for refugees in camps along the Thai Myanmar border. The program focused on employment rights to help avoid exploitation on release from the camp.
Education
  • Bond University, QLD,  Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours), 2008
  • Bond University, QLD, Bachelor of Commerce, Major in Finance, 2008

Insight Overview

Catriona regularly presents at conferences and teaches at universities on topics relating to child rights and young people in the criminal justice system, commercial law firms and pro bono work, and access to justice.

Prior Experience

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Catriona was a Senior Associate in the Disputes Group for an international law firm where she worked on significant, complex class actions and regulatory investigations for financial institutions, large resources companies and medical device manufacturer. Catriona also spent time working in Paris for another international law firm in international commercial arbitration.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Association of Pro Bono Counsel
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Law Asia
  • Australian Child Rights Taskforce
  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (Child Rights Subcommittee)

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