Meet Yuill Scholar and ICJ Judicial Fellow, Sally O’Donnell

Sally O'Donnell (LLM '18)
Sally O'Donnell (LLM '18) will be a fellow to Judge Mohamed Bennouna at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

I have always been interested in international affairs, and international law was my favourite subject in my undergraduate degree.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) Judicial Fellows Programme gives recent law graduates experience working at the principal judicial organ of the United Nations in The Hague. The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law supports successful applicants of the programme through the Yuill Scholarship, worth $40,000 per year.

Our 2019-2020 Yuill Scholar and ICJ Judicial Fellow is Sally O’Donnell, who graduated with her Master of Laws (International Law) in 2018. She worked as a lawyer for two years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and previously worked for the Federal Government in Canberra, Geneva and New York.

What does it mean to you to be a Yuill Scholar and ICJ Judicial Fellow?

I’m pleased to be awarded the Yuill Scholarship, which will give me the opportunity to work in The Hague on cutting-edge issues of international law, and meet other Judicial Fellows from universities around the world. The ICJ hears cases on a wide range of international issues that have important consequences on the global stage – everything from border disputes and the financing of terrorism, through to nuclear disarmament and whaling in the Antarctic – and I’m looking forward to attending public hearings and contributing to the work of the Court behind-the-scenes.

What sparked your interest in international law and how did your ANU studies foster your passion in this field?

I have always been interested in international affairs, and international law was my favourite subject in my undergraduate degree. Studying at ANU gave me an opportunity to explore new areas of law including refugee law, the law of international organisations and the law of armed conflict.

What do you hope to achieve – personally and professionally – through your fellowship at the ICJ?

I hope that working at the ICJ will sharpen my legal skills, including research and drafting, and improve my knowledge of different legal disciplines. I have been assigned to assist Judge Mohamed Bennouna with his work, which means I’ll primarily be working in French. This will be a huge challenge for me, but is also an excellent opportunity to improve my legal French skills!

What are your long-term career goals?

The road of an international lawyer is usually a winding one, so for now I’m not planning too far ahead!


Learn more about our Yuill Scholarship to Support the International Court of Justice Fellows Programme here.

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