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WEBINAR: Courting Power: Law, Democracy and the Public Interest in Australia, with Isabelle Reinecke

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12pm AEST (QLD)
12:30pm ACDT (SA)
11:30am ACST (NT)
10am AWST (WA)


A healthy legal system is fundamental to democracy. All Australians should be able to rely on the courts to keep the powers that be accountable, but what pernicious forces seek to undermine this? 

Courts aren’t just there to settle divorces, sentence law-breakers and resolve corporate disputes. A healthy legal system, one that ensures access, transparency and accountability, is fundamental to democracy. When the system works, the courts act as a check on government power, holding our politicians and bureaucrats to account.

In Courting Power, Isabelle Reinecke, founder of Grata Fund, Australia’s first strategic litigation funder and incubator, takes us through the trials and triumphs of some of the public interest cases she has helped bring about—from one launched by Torres Strait Islanders to establish the federal government’s duty of care regarding climate change, to a High Court case on remote housing rights in the Northern Territory, and Doctors for Refugees’ successful challenge to government gag laws, among others. Isabelle praises transparency infrastructure like our freedom-of-information system, which underpins checks and balances such as the media, a dynamic political opposition and independent voices, while alerting us to how it can be undermined by governments of any colour. She also examines the pernicious forces seeking to influence Australian courts, hungrily eyeing the impact of the far right on the US Supreme Court, and why political attacks on the courts are always sharpest when First Nations people’s rights are at stake.

In a world of spin and puff, inattention and information overload, media deregulation and TikTok, evidence and accurate information have never been so important. The courts are perhaps the last remaining place where facts are primary and hyperbole is ignored. Courting Power is a timely reminder of how ordinary people can rely on them to keep the powers that be accountable.

Join Isabelle as she chats with Per Capita's Emma Dawson about this powerful essay. There will be an opportunity for audience questions. 


Want to buy the book before the webinar? Visit and use the code COURTING20 for a 20% discount.


In 2017 Isabelle Reinecke founded Grata Fund, a leading not-for-profit (NFP) based at the University of NSW that acts as a campaigner, litigation incubator and funder for people and communities challenging systemic gridlock across human rights, climate change and democratic freedoms. As Grata’s Executive Director, Isabelle leads collaborations with some of the nation’s top legal minds, civil society organisations and community advocates to advance and protect rights and freedoms. Grata has helped shape landmark cases that have shifted the dial on issues such as abuse in offshore refugee detention centres and humane housing in remote First Nations communities, and worked to facilitate almost $2 million in philanthropic funding.

Prior to Grata, Isabelle worked for more than ten years as a director and lawyer at organisations including GetUp!, and the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre, and as a solicitor at Clayton Utz. Isabelle was named the 2022 Emerging NFP Leader in Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards. She is also a Churchill Fellow and the 2021 Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia Fellow, the latter awarded to women ‘who are leaders in their respective fields, women who have innovative approaches and the courage, conviction and capacity to create real change’.

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