Blind legal aid lawyer awarded posthumously

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The South Australian Law Society has posthumously awarded a legal aid lawyer who lost her eyesight as a child an ‘Access to Justice’ award.

Selvie Demiri, whose cancer battle caused her to lose her eyesight as a young child, died from cancer last year at the age of 34.

Demiri was awarded for her efforts to provide justice access to all people while she was employed by the Legal Services Commission of South Australia, the ABC reported.

“She recognised that not everybody could afford to pay for a private lawyer and that there are many people in the world who need a bit of a leg-up and a bit of help,” said commission director Gabrielle Canny.

“Perhaps she recognised that, for her, every now and then she needed a bit of help so that she could do what she needed to.”
Canny said that her blindness presented a challenge but never compromised the quality of her work, describing Demiri as ‘remarkable’.

“She worked in many roles where she was required to get around, get to the courts, get down to the cells, address magistrates and litigate on behalf of her clients ... and she was amazing to watch,” she said.

Demiri spoke out about the accessibility of the legal industry for disabled people.

“The law is a career that anyone should be able to participate in,” she said back in 2014.

“There are always ways that employers can ensure that anybody with a disability can do a just as good job as anybody else.”