David Burke - Legal Director


David Burke joined the Human Rights Law Centre in 2018, working primarily to protect the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum. He also coordinates the HRLC’s vital pro bono relationships with a number of Australia’s leading law firms.
For over five years, David has worked to promote the rights of people seeking asylum and refugees in a variety of contexts including migration casework, judicial review cases, program building and academic publication.
Prior to joining the HRLC, David was a lawyer at Lander & Rogers, where he founded and coordinated the firm’s Asylum Seeker Pro Bono Program. In addition to judicial review files and other litigation against the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, David worked on a number of initiatives to improve access to justice for people seeking asylum, particularly those subject to the Fast Track Assessment process. David worked with Refugee Legal to establish the Corporate Clinic program, where corporate lawyers completed visa applications for people seeking asylum that were part of the fast track process. This program grew to more than 150 lawyers from over a dozen firms, and was a finalist in the Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers Awards. 

David also partnered with organisations in the Legacy Caseload Working Group to establish an online judicial review training course, which is aimed at educating lawyers to assist with review of Immigration Assessment Authority decisions. 
Before starting at Lander & Rogers, David worked as a paralegal at Refugee Legal in the Boat Arrivals Taskforce, where he assisted with protection visa applications and submissions to the independent reviewer of negative ASIO assessments. 
David has been published in the Sydney Law Review on the topic of indefinite detention of people seeking asylum and the principle of legality. He holds a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours and a Bachelor of Arts.