Castan Centre Writing for Human Rights Essay Competition

If you are a Victorian year 10, 11 or 12 student, this competition gives you the chance to write about important, topical human rights issues. The competition is staged annually by the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, based at Monash University, and is proudly supported by the Victoria Law Foundation.

2011 Writing for Human Rights essay topic

The topic for the 2011 competitions was:

"Social media is free speech gone mad"

This topic refers to the many ways in which social media is having an impact on freedom of speech and expression. With increased social media outlets comes the ability to reach more audiences with your thoughts and opinions. Are there any limitations to this? Is all free speech in social media aceptable?

You may chose to write generally on the issue of social media and free speech, or you may choose to write on one or two specific examples or aspects of the topic that interest you. You may argue for or aginst the statement.

The 2011 Writing for Human Rights Essay Competition will be officially launched at the Monash University Law Faculty's Great Law Week Debate, on 18 May 2011 from 6-7:30pm. The debate will be held at the BMW Edge, in Federation Square, Melbourne. We encourage students to attend the debate where they will see esteemed members of the legal community, in this often humorous debate, address the same topic as the essay competition.  Please rsvp for the debate by Friday 13 May to or 03 9905 2630.

2011 Information Kit

For everything you need to know about the essay topic, download your copy of the 2011 Writing for Human Rights information kit here.

Submission process and deadline

Essays must be submitted, with a signed official application form (electronic signature is fine), by 5pm on Monday 27 June 2011 and sent to:
orHuman Rights Essay Competition
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Building 12
Monash University, Vic 3800

Essays must be accompanied by an official application form available below. Please write clearly when filling out the form.

Official application form

Download your copy of the official application form here.

Essay guidelines

Students must meet the following guidelines to be eligible for the competition:

  • Essays must be written by a single Victorian year 10, 11, or 12 school student.
  • Essays must be between 750 and 1000 words.
  • Essays must be typed with a font no less than 10pt.
  • Essays must be double spaced.
  • Essays must be the original work of the submitting student.
  • Only one essay may be submitted per student.
  • If using or citing sources such as books, journals, newspapers and websites, essays should be correctly referenced.
  • Applications must include the full name of a nominating teacher from your school.

Prizes and judging

Short-listed essays will be assessed by a panel of judges from the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. The Centre anticipates notifying everyone of the results by the end of August.

Individual Awards

  • 1st Prize: an iPad 2 (64gb wifi/3G)
  • 2 runners up will also receive an iPad 2 (32gb wifi/3G)
  • Certificates of Commendation will also be awarded to a small number of students who contribute outstanding submissions.

Award Ceremony

Winners, their families and nominated teachers will be invited to attend the awards ceremony to be held during  the 2011 Costello Lecture being held at the Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street on Thursday, 15 September from 6:00pm to 7:15pm. Come here Brian Walters SC speak on 'Enlarging our vision of rights'. Please click here for more details.

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, based in the law faculty at Monash University, is the pre-eminent human rights teaching and research centre in the Asia Pacific. The centre is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation committed to the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the world. The centre uses research and public education to develop innovative approaches for understanding and implementing human rights law.

The centre is named after Ron Castan AM QC (1939-1999), who was a passionate advocate for the recognition and protection of human rights and a distinguished member of the Victorian Bar. The centre is the coordinator of this event and is committed to the development of human rights education.

Monash University 2011 Great Law Week Debate

Check out argument ideas from the 2011 Great Law Week Debate where a team of prominent Monash Law Alumni battled it out with current Monash Law students.

Affirmative Speaker 1 - Damien Bruckard, 2009 MAD president and finalist of the Australiasian Debating Championships (Law/Arts)

Negative Speaker 1 - Shivani Pillai, Barrister (BA, LLB)

Affirmative Speaker 2 - Kiran Iyer (Law/Arts)

Negative Speaker 2 - Liberty Sanger (BA 1998, LLB (Hons) 1998) Principal and Director of Maurice Blackburn

Affirmative Speaker 3 - Fiona Prowse, 2010 World Debating Championship winner (Law/Arts)

Q&A Session

Click here for audio recording of the debate or the Q&A session (To listen to this recording using Mediaplayer you will need to download the plug-in)

Previous Essay Competition Winners

2010 Essay Competition
2009 Essay Competition
2007 Essay Competition
2006 Essay Competition