ANU Law alumna headed for The Hague thanks to PCA Scholarship

Camilla Pondell

I am lucky to have this opportunity because it will no doubt broaden my legal and professional perspective and help shape my career.

ANU Law graduate Camilla Pondel (BMus LLB (Hons) ’16) will spend one year working as Assistant Legal Counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague after she was awarded the ANU College of Law PCA Scholarship for 2018.

The award provides financial support to a current student or graduate of the ANU College of Law, to undertake a 12 month Fellowship with the PCA in The Hague, Netherlands.

As Assistant Legal Counsel, Camilla will have the opportunity to work alongside the PCA’s Secretariat and international arbitrators, assisting with arbitrations under PCA auspices.

“I work at a large commercial law firm where I have great opportunities in many areas of law. However, it’s probably true to say that the exposure I’ll get at the Permanent Court of Arbitration is simply not available in Australia,” she said.

“I am lucky to have this opportunity because it will no doubt broaden my legal and professional perspective and help shape my career.”

Camilla noted two particular academics from ANU Law who she was grateful to receive encouragement from throughout and following her studies.

“During my degree, I studied international law in Geneva with Associate Professor Sarah Heathcote, who is incredibly and infectiously passionate about international law,” she said. “When I mentioned to Sarah that I was thinking of applying for the position at the PCA she really encouraged me.”

“Professor Peta Spender, who was my teacher and thesis supervisor, always encouraged thinking broadly and part of thinking broadly is taking the opportunity to learn new skills and put them in the toolbox. I think it was important to have leadership and encouragement from impressive women such as Peta and Sarah. Every bit of encouragement helps when you’re making these kinds of decisions.”

Camilla also thanked the proprietors of the scholarship and the ANU.

”It would not have been possible for me to spend a year in The Hague without the scholarship, so I am thankful to those who have made this possible. I am also thankful for the ongoing commitment that ANU has made to my professional development, even after having graduated. This is just one of several unique international opportunities that I have the ANU to thank for. Each one has helped me get to where I am today.”

Camilla initially planned to play to her strengths in science and engineering by combining a law degree with aerospace engineering. However, she decided that she could not abandon her love for classical music – she plays the viola – and instead combined her Bachelor of Laws with a Bachelor of Music majoring in Performance.

She said she wasn’t sure if she would take her viola to The Netherlands with her – changes in climate and altitude can damage musical instruments – however, she plans to continue playing music while she is there. “I have a lot of friends who have moved to Europe to play music, I’m sure someone has a spare viola I could borrow.”

“I think playing music is a great way to meet new people, whether it’s in orchestras or playing in quartets. You can assume that you have at least classical music in common with the other person, which is a good start to a friendship,” she said.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team