ANU Law student joins DFAT delegation to UN after internship

Jessica Elliott

It was an incredible privilege to be a part of this at such a formative stage of my career.

Undertaking an ANU Law clinical program is a great way to earn course credits while you gain experience in a professional law setting.

If you show initiative and ask the right questions, it can open a world of opportunities.

That was how Jessica Elliott, in her penultimate year at ANU Law, earned a place in a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade delegation to the United Nations last month.

She travelled to New York as an academic observer in the Fourth Session of the Preparatory Committee established by General Assembly resolution 69/292.

“It was so exciting being there and being immersed in it,” she said.

“It wasn’t just a passive role, it was a small delegation so I was definitely involved and I relished the opportunity to be at the coalface of the development of international law.”

Her role included attending delegation meetings of the Preparatory Committee working group and plenary sessions, as well as taking notes and summaries.

The opportunity came about after Jessica completed a semester-long internship with DFAT’s Sea Law, Environmental Law and Antarctic section. Her supervisor had her prepare a paper to assist the Australian delegation in negotiating the design of a benefit-sharing regime to govern marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

“It was thrilling to be involved in the culmination of my research and proposals, and to witness negotiation of these very ideas on the world stage,” she said.

“I observed the highly political side to the negotiations and the use of law in a very strategic and calculated manner to suit national interests.

“It was an incredible privilege to be a part of this at such a formative stage of my career.”

Jessica aspires to work in international litigation or negotiation after she graduates from ANU College of Law next year.

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