Evatt, Elizabeth (1933–)

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Evatt, Elizabeth (1933–)

Australian lawyer and judge. Born Elizabeth Andreas Evatt, Nov 11, 1933, in Sydney, Australia; dau. of Clive Raleigh Evatt (barrister) and Marjorie Hannah Andreas; niece of Dr. Herbert Vere "Doc" Evatt (influential Labor leader and president of UN General Assembly [1948]); sister of Clive Andreas Evatt and Penelope Alice Marjorie Evatt; University of Sydney, Law Medal, LLB, 1955; Harvard University, LLM, 1956; Inner Temple, 1958; m. Robert Joseph Southan; children: Richard Clive Evatt Southan (died 1984) and Anne Penelope Southan.

Known for working extensively with United Nations and other humanitarian organizations to advance the causes of women's rights and human rights, was the youngest student at University of Sydney Law School and the 1st woman to win a Law Medal (1955), passing the New South Wales Bar exam in the same year; passed English Bar (1958) and worked as barrister in Sydney and London (1958–62), focusing on family law; served as editor and librarian at British Institute of International and Comparative Law (1962–68) and as senior legal officer of Law Commission of England and Wales (1968–73); returned to Australia and was appointed presidential member of Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, dealing with industrial disputes (1973–75); presided over Royal Commission on Human Relationships, dealing with abortion, discrimination and family law (1974–77); served as 1st chief judge of Family Court of Australia (1976–88); served on United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, monitoring implementation of non-discrimination statutes (1984–92); served as president of Australian Law Reform Commission, advising commonwealth government on matters of federal law (1988–93); served a 4-year term on UN Human Rights Committee (1997–2001); was also a member of Australian National Commission for UNESCO starting 1993, as well as member of Advisory Board of Peace Research Centre at ANU Research School of Pacific Studies starting 1987; served on board of the Evatt Foundation and also as chancellor of University of Newcastle.

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Evatt, Elizabeth (1933–)

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