Hollie Kerwin - Lawyer
Hollie Kerwin joined the Human Rights Law Centre in 2019 and works across the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Rights and the Business and Human Rights teams, advocating for a fair and humane response to forced displacement, and to ensure that Australian businesses are held accountable for the human rights impacts of their overseas operations, including in immigration detention centres.
Before joining HRLC, Hollie was as a public lawyer and policy officer at Victoria Legal Aid. She ran asylum seeker litigation in all federal courts including constitutional litigation in the High Court challenging the ongoing detention of people brought to Australia for medical treatment. She also advised on, led and supported strategic litigation and advocacy at VLA, including co-designing the recent robodebt litigation challenging the large scale leveraging of social security debts by Centrelink based on data-matching. She also designed and co-led an integrated whole of organisation approach to campaigning for reform to the NDIS, innovating the organisation’s service delivery to people with disability, and building escalation, training and national referral partnerships through not-for-profit, federal and state government agencies.
Prior to this, Hollie worked as a government lawyer across the administrative and constitutional law teams of the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office, where she advised on complex, high profile government decision-making and policy development, and conducted litigation as a model litigant in all Victorian courts, including as a respondent to test case litigation brought against the State.
Previously, Hollie was a Federal Court Associate to the Honourable Justice Kenny, and a researcher on two major Australian Research Council grants investigating the place of Australian courts as archives, and on the impact, lives and experiences of trailblazing women lawyers. She has been published on women and leadership, women and the law, and on reform to Australian Royal Commissions. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws with first class honours from the Australian National University, and has received several awards including the Blackburn Medal for Research in Law for her Honours thesis which uncovered the story of the first successful piece of litigation under the federal Sex Discrimination Act, and the Thomas Richards prize for Administrative Law.