The generosity of the scholarship has meant I can afford to take this incredible opportunity. It is nothing short of life changing.
An ANU Law alumna who specialises in international law is heading to The Hague for an internship in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after receiving what she calls a “life-changing” scholarship funded by the Gordon John Yuill Endowment.
Kirsten Storey (LLM, International Law ’16) is the 2018 recipient of the $25,000 Yuill Scholarship and will head to the Netherlands in September to be an associate to Her Excellency, Judge Sebutinde for 10 months.
The international law enthusiast, who works in the international law team in Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), says she’d considered applying for the Yuill Scholarship since she began her Masters at ANU in 2014.
“I finally worked up the courage to throw my hat in the ring in February this year,” she recalls.
“I was happily surprised to have been awarded the scholarship, knowing there were many highly qualified candidates.
“I have been interested in working in international courts and tribunals for a number of years- particularly since I interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2015, which I loved.
“Working at the ICJ will be an unparalleled opportunity to experience life as a part of the primary judicial organ of the UN. This will stand me in good stead in pursuing a career in the UN judicial system.
“I understand the exact substance of the role will depend on my individual judge, but I look forward to participating in court proceedings, drafting legal papers and undertaking legal research.
“I also look forward to gaining an in depth understanding of the inner workings of the court and observing some of the great international legal minds of our time, both on the bench and at the bar table.
“I greatly appreciate this unique opportunity. International law is a difficult profession to break into, and anyone who has interned or tried to get a job with the UN or any of its organs or tribunals will know that it is very rare to be paid in any way for many months or years of work.
“Unpaid internships are the norm. The generosity of this scholarship has meant I can afford to take this incredible opportunity. It is nothing short of life changing.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to my colleagues at DFAT who have been so encouraging and enthusiastic about this opportunity, and my friend and mentor, Judge Sharron Norton SC.”
Kirsten completed her Master of Laws while working full-time, first while a Judge's Associate to Judge Norton of the District Court of NSW, and then while on her internship to the ICTY.
After she graduated from ANU, she commenced her current role at DFAT.
Among the many things Kirsten enjoyed about studying law is learning how the rule of law is fundamental to a functioning society.
“It is the same at the domestic level as it is at the international level, although enforcement at the international level can be more difficult,” she says.
“In the end, though, law is the rules citizens and international citizens opt in to, in exchange for stability and protection.
“Studying law, gaining a deeper understanding of how it underpins everything from our civic rights to how airplanes are able to fly through the airspace of different countries, has made me realise that it is the core element of every interaction in society.”