This chapter discusses the use of law and legal institutions by the emerging social movement seeking to end Australia’s policy of mandatory detention for refugees and asylum seekers. Through an examination of Australian inquiries and court cases alongside social campaigns, it considers the ability of legal institutional responses to identify the harms, in particular state and institutional responsibility, and the subsequent impact of these legal processes in inhibiting and promoting social and structural change. It shows how social movements are harnessing law and creating new legal and civic spaces in which to contest Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker regime.
I would like to acknowledge with appreciation the research assistance of Mark Evenhuis, Evelyn Rose, and Sarah Moorhead on this chapter. My gratitude goes to the anonymous referees for their thoughtful and helpful responses and to the editor Austin Sarat for his invitation to publish in this series. My thoughts are with the refugee and asylum seekers in inhumane conditions in detention and those who survived detention, and those who did not. The harm perpetrated is ongoing, and Australia will owe a debt that is unrealizable.
Balint, J. (2019), "Prosecuting and Partnering for Social Change: Law, Social Movements and Australia’s Mandatory Detention for Refugees and Asylum Seekers", Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 79), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 169-189. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1059-433720190000079009Download as .RIS
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