Ruth Barson is director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre. She previously worked as a senior policy lawyer at the Centre for Innovative Justice, under the directorship of former attorney general and deputy premier, Rob Hulls. In this role, Ruth was responsible for delivering a Commonwealth Government funded report detailing innovative reforms for improving the criminal justice system’s response to sexual assault. Ruth is currently on the board of the Women’s Legal Service Victoria, a community legal centre providing services to women experiencing violence and relationship breakdown.
She has also worked as a criminal lawyer with Victoria Legal Aid, and spent a number of years working with the Aboriginal Legal Services in the Northern Territory. In Alice Springs, Ruth managed the youth justice practice and also led projects helping to establish and maintain Aboriginal courts in specific desert communities. In Darwin, she worked as an advocacy lawyer where she focused on parole and prisoner rights. She also spent a short period of time as a policy advisor to the Northern Territory Department of Justice.
Ruth has interned in the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; the United Nations backed court responsible for prosecuting senior members of the Khmer Rouge. She has a Masters of International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. At the HRLC, Ruth focused on Indigenous peoples’ rights and issues relating to imprisonment, detention centres and the criminal justice system.