Queensland Law Society

Human Rights Working Group - member bios

Joanne Rennick

Joanne Rennick is the Managing Partner at MurphySchmidt Solicitors and practises exclusively in the area of accident compensation.

Joanne has a long-standing interest in, and commitment to the provision of pro-bono and community legal services. She is a past president of the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH). She is also a past member and Chair of the QLS Personal Injury Specialist Accreditation Committee.

James Farrell OAM

James Farrell OAM is the director of QAILS, the peak organisation for Queensland’s community legal centres. James has worked in paid, volunteer and governance roles at community legal centres for over a decade. At QAILS, James leads a small team that provides support and advocacy for Queensland’s 34 community legal centres, and the 50,000 clients they help each year.

James is a fellow of the Centre for Regional Rural Law and Justice, a director of Relationships Australia Queensland and the National Association of Community Legal Centres, a member of the QLS Access to Justice and Pro Bono Committee, and chairperson of the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum.

Mark Fowler

Mark Fowler is a Director of Neumann & Turnour Lawyers, Brisbane and supervises the property and commercial sections of the practice. His areas of legal practice include property, with a particular focus on the affordable, community and social housing sectors, commercial law, and not-for-profit and charity law, including the law applying to international aid organisations, schools, retirement villages and aged care.

He is an Appeals Panel member for the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and a doctoral candidate in law at the University of Queensland, with his research focusing on religious freedom and tax.

Previously Mark practised in native title and indigenous community development within Australia and prior to that in human rights law in Malaysia. Through the Centre for International Environmental Law, Washington he was involved in a consultation process with indigenous communities in Borneo and the drafting of submissions to the Malaysian Government concerning access to genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity. He was also a consultant to Supreme Court proceedings that sought to establish a precedent for recognition of common law native title within the Malaysian State of Sabah.

George Williams AO

George Williams AO is the Anthony Mason Professor, a Scientia Professor and the Foundation Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. He has written and edited 34 books, appeared as a barrister in the High Court in a number of cases over the past two decades, appeared in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Fiji, and has served on a number of public inquiries.

As chair of the Victorian Human Rights Consultation Committee in 2005, he helped to bring about Australia’s first state bill of rights, the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. In 2007 he chaired a NSW Government inquiry into Options for a New National Industrial Relations System that produced the historic referral of state industrial power over the private sector to the Commonwealth. He also served on a high-level advisory group on Federal-State Relations to Kevin Rudd MP.

More recently, he was a member of the NSW Government’s Panel to Examine Recall Elections and assisted the Northern Territory in its renewed attempt to become Australia’s seventh state as a member of its Constitutional Convention Committee.

Dr Susan Harris Rimmer

Australian Research Council Future Fellow

Susan Harris Rimmer is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow appointed as Associate Professor to Griffith University Law School. She is an Adjunct Reader at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University, and a Research Associate at the Development Policy Centre in the Crawford School.

Susan is an expert in women's rights and international law, and has a track record in influencing government to adopt progressive policy ideas, including the creation of the position of the Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, support for the W20 in Turkey, and the C20 in Australia (civil society grouping giving policy advice to the G20). In 2014 she was named one of the Westpac and Australian Financial Review's 100 Women of Influence in the Global category.

In 2014 Susan was awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellow for her project Are We Trading Women's Rights in Transitions? to examine the role of gender in diplomatic negotiations for the next four years. She is the author of Gender and Transitional Justice: The Women of East Timor (Routledge 2010) and over 30 academic works.

Karen Simpson

Attorney-General’s Nominee

Karen Simpson has extensive experience practising as a solicitor in Queensland, including rural areas, and works exclusively in the area of personal injury applying State Legislation and Common Law.

Her experience managing the Queensland personal injury business for a listed company and international law firm has provided her with extensive business management experience.  directly managed the consolidation of the Slater and Gordon businesses in Queensland requiring the implementation of a highly structured changed management program. She is a member of the Slater and Gordon Australian Executive, allowing her to actively participate in the strategic planning and operational decision making to be delivered to Board for approval.

Karen is also a director of the Schultz Toomey O'Brien business and has gained valuable experience dealing with a number of acquisitions and mergers in Queensland. As General Manager she has overseen the firm's growth from three offices to 18 offices across the state.

The Honourable Richard Chesterman AO RFD QC

Arbitrator and mediator; retired Court of Appeal Judge

Richard Chesterman was admitted as a barrister in December 1968, appointed Queen’s Counsel in December 1983 and then as Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland in March 1998.  Between 1998 and 2002 he constituted the Mental Health Tribunal, a division of the Supreme Court.  He was a Judge of the Commercial List of the Supreme Court between 2002 and 2008, until appointment to the Court of Appeal on 8 December 2008.  He retired from the Court of Appeal in April 2012.

Richard was appointed as an inaugural member of the Misconduct Tribunals in 1989 as a result of a commission of inquiry into systemic police corruption. In 1991, he was retained by the Tasmanian Government to appear as Senior Counsel assisting a Royal Commission of Inquiry into an attempt to bribe a Member of Parliament.  He was appointed an Officer of The Order of Australia in June 2011 for distinguished service to the Judiciary and for services to the Cancer Councils at a National and State level. He was also appointed Commissioner of Inquiry by the State Government in 2013 to investigate the Queensland Health Payroll System.

Since his retirement from the Court of Appeal, Richard has practised extensively in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Dan Rogers

Legal Director, Robertson O’Gorman Solicitors

Dan is the legal director at Robertson O’Gorman, and has been with the firm since 2005. He has a long association with Caxton Community Legal Centre where he offers pro-bono legal services to disadvantaged groups, and is currently the secretary of that organisation. Dan regularly presents to other solicitors at Queensland Law Society conferences and seminars on criminal law and conducts guest lectures on criminal law at the University of Queensland.

He has been published in various law journals and has contributed to legal texts on criminal law. In 2013, he started his own blog, where he regularly posts about current criminal law and social justice issues.  In 2012, Dan worked at the International Criminal Court (The Hague, Netherlands) in the Office of Public Counsel for Defence. As a solicitor advocate, Dan regularly argues his own cases in the higher courts instead of briefing counsel. He is ambitious and confident in his representation of clients at all court levels.

Dan is a member of the QLS ethics committee, the chair of the QLS Human Rights Working Group, and was named as a leading criminal lawyer in Queensland by Doyle's Leading Lawyers List.

Shahram Dana

Senior Lecturer, Griffith Law School, Griffith University

Shahram Dana has extensive experience in human right as a United Nations legal officer, criminal trial lawyer, law professor, and special advisor to working groups. He has worked with international organizations, government officials, academic institutions, lawyers associations, and non-profit groups on the role of human rights in society.

In 2015, Shahram served as a Commissioner to investigate allegations of torture by police officers. He was selected by The Hague Forum for Judicial Expertise to train judges, prosecutors, and government officials on crimes against humanity, human rights, and the International Criminal Court. In 2013, the International Law Initiative and the African Center for Legal Excellence invited Shahram to be the lead facilitator and speaker in their training program for lawyers from more than fifteen African countries. In 2012-2013, at the invitation of the Vietnamese government, Shahram lead a human rights delegation to Vietnam. Two weeks after this historic visit, the Vietnamese government opened its doors to Amnesty International for the first time since the Vietnam War. 

Shahram’s expertise includes international law, criminal law, human rights, and international criminal justice. His scholarly interests focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the extent international order in delivering prosperity, security, and justice for humanity. His current research explores the law and politics of international criminal justice mechanisms in protecting human rights and shaping world order.