Julian Burnside.


Why do good lawyers defend bad people?

One of Australia’s best-known and respected barristers, Julian Burnside, says it is an essential part of a strong and effective legal system to have lawyers ready and able to defend those who appear indefensible.

In his book, Watching Out: Reflections on Justice and Injustice, Burnside looks at the way the legal system operates in practice, pointing out the ways it does and doesn’t run true to its ultimate purposes.

Burnside, who is a high-profile human rights advocate as well as a supporter of the arts, will be speaking at the Old Castlemaine Gaol next month.

Organised by Bendigo Writers Festival, this “Justice at the Gaol” event at 11am on Sunday, May 20 is part of Law Week 2018, supported by the Victorian Law Foundation.

“When put to the test, most people have difficulty identifying what justice is, especially when there is tension between proper process and a desired result,” Burnside said.

“Due process is inherent in our conception of justice.

“But bad process can yield the right result, just as good process can produce the wrong result.”

This is the first Bendigo Writers Festival “Bookmark” event to take place at the Old Castlemaine Gaol, following events for Law Week in 2017 and 2016 at the Old Court House in Dunolly.

“One of our central Victorian assets is the re-use of gaols and courthouses for community events,” festival director Rosemary Sorensen said.

“We know how much people enjoy Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre in the old gaol, which is such a great venue now.

“A Sunday brunch event at the Old Castlemaine Gaol for Law Week with Julian Burnside as our speaker is going to be a treat.”

Tickets for Justice at the Gaol, 11am Sunday May 20, are $8, and available at the Capital box office: www.thecapital.com.au