UNDA Awards Ceremony: Applying law studies to Christian life
By Josh Low
Some 40 students last month received awards for their academic excellence over varying fields of law at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s School of Law (Fremantle Campus).
The St Thomas More Academic Awards Ceremony was held on 23 May, with awards presented by the President of The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administrators, the Hon Justice Robert Mazza.
Vice-President of Young Christian Workers (YCW) at the university, Lauren Italiano was the recipient of two awards in Tort Law and Contemporary Legal Issues (CLI).
After taking on her role last year as Vice-President of YCW at the university, Ms Italiano has seen it develop into a key leadership role and hopes to apply what she has gained from her law studies to the movement.
The YCW movement began in 1912 in Belgium by a Cardinal Joseph Cardjin, who at the time was not a bishop, with the mindset to empower young people from all walks of life in taking positive action in their lives for the community.
Ms Italiano explained that Tort Law was one of the core areas of law necessary for graduation, with Contemporary Legal Issues being a broadening unit for law which examines key topics within contemporary society from a legal viewpoint.
“The broadening unit offers a very practical approach because it emphasises what actions are actually possible regarding the issues at hand.
“CLI are therefore quite relevant as they are considered issues of the time in society, although usually issues on a much larger scale than the grassroots ones YCW is generally concerned with,” she said.
“However, both the Christian perspective and legal perspective of CLI can be combined to tackle topics up for discussion.
Ms Italiano said that although what she learned from CLI was more technical, it aided in the ‘proper formulation of action’.
“For example, the topic of refugees in both CLI and YCW has been discussed and was acted on by YCW this year, through links with the Red Cross and St Vincent de Paul Society.
She added that seeing the impact of her work on the lives of those she encounters will be a major factor in determining her future plans.
“I would like to be in an area of law where I could see a genuine impact in the lives of the people I worked with.
“This objective is shared with YCW where members join to participate in social justice activities – quite often simple ones that can have a big impact on the people they help,” she concluded.