LCA announces John Koowarta scholarship recipients

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) law student Cameron Downey has been announced as one of two 2022 John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship recipients.

The John Koowarta Scholarship is a national scholarship dedicated to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students achieve their ambition of becoming a lawyer. Charles Darwin University law student Michelle Burchill is also a scholarship recipient this year.

Law Council of Australia (LCA) President Dr Jacoba Brasch QC presented the scholarship to both recipients at the annual Law Council Director’s Meeting held virtually over the weekend.

“It is a privilege to present the 2022 John Koowarta Scholarship to Mr Downey and Ms Burchill,” Dr Brasch said. “Cameron and Michelle are exceptionally talented law students who show great promise. I look forward to watching their professional careers develop over the coming years.”

Cameron Downey

Mr Downey is a proud Ghungalu man and is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Information Technology (Computer Science) at QUT. He also works as a law clerk at YFS Legal and volunteers as a First Nations Officer at QUT Law Society.


“To be a recipient of the 2022 John Koowarta Scholarship is a tremendous honour, not just for me personally, but my family, community, and university,” Mr Downey said. “This scholarship will serve as a useful foundation for my career in the legal profession and I hope that one day I can make a valuable contribution to the Australian legal landscape.”

He intends to use his double degree to design digital systems which would give remote Indigenous communities better access to the justice system. His article ‘Review of Roger Brownsword’s Law 3.0: Rules, Regulation and Technology’ was published in the academic journal, Law, Technology and Humans this year.

Michelle Burchill

Ms Burchill is a proud Kuku Yalanji woman and is in her first year of law as a mature student. She has worked as an enrolled nurse since 2012 and in 2020 decided to pursue law. Her legal interests include native title, environmental and planning law, human rights, international law, family law, medical-legal and criminal law.

“I am very pleased and cannot thank the Law Council enough with this generous scholarship, as this award will be of financial benefit towards my studies in becoming another Indigenous lawyer,” said Ms Burchill.

The John Koowarta Scholarship honours John Koowarta, a Winychanam Elder, who pioneered Aboriginal land rights in Australia during the late ’70s and early ’80s.

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