Her Honour, Retired Chief Judge Antoinette Kennedy was born and educated in Western Australia. Her legal career began by winning the top academic prize for her year and becoming the only woman in her graduating class at the University of Western Australia to gain articles of clerkship. Antoinette ran her own practice in Perth for some time before leaving WA to travel and work overseas returning in 1975 to join the bar and practice as a barrister.
In March 1985, at the age of 39 years, she became the first woman Judge (and one of the youngest) in Western Australia, when she was appointed to the District Court. In 2004 Antoinette was appointed Chief Judge of the District Court of WA, one of only three women to head up a court in Australia.
Antoinette was a founding member of the Women Lawyers of WA and a member of the Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce in 1993-94.
In 2010 Antoinette Kennedy hung up her judicial robes to move on to other interests and ventures. She was made an officer of the Order of Australia (A.O.) after her retirement and the following year was elected to the Western Australian “Women’s Hall of Fame.”
Antoinette has always taken a keen interest in the rights of women and the proper and helpful treatment of migrants and refugees.
Among her many other interests, Antoinette has agreed to become Ishar’s Patron.
Rabia is a human rights and criminal lawyer, a retired British Army officer, a former terrorism and war crimes prosecutor, a humanitarian, a professional speaker, trainer, MC, facilitator and published author. In 2006 Rabia was awarded a Queen’s commendation for her human rights work in Iraq and in 2009 was the Runner Up for Australian Woman of the Year UK.
Through her incredible experiences and unique perspective, Rabia brings an authenticity, energy and humanity to her speaking. She uses her very personal experience of being a hostage, sexual abuse and PTSD survivor to teach her audience about resilience, courage under fire, finding one’s voice and the qualities that make a truly great leader. Rabia is obsessed with adding value to the lives of everyone that she speaks to, and to providing the knowledge and tools to help people escape from the things that are holding them hostage and in turn to realise their full potential.
After starting life as a criminal defence lawyer and youngest ever Federal prosecutor in Perth, Rabia moved to the UK in 1998 where she eventually commissioned as a Legal Officer in the British Army in 2001.
In a terrifying ordeal that garnered worldwide attention, along with a male colleague, Rabia assisted with the rescue of two SAS soldiers from Iraqi insurgents in Basra. Her male colleague received a Military Cross for outstanding bravery, while Rabia’s part in the incident was covered up by the British Army and Government. In a fight for justice she brought a landmark discrimination case against the UK Ministry of Defence, and won.
Rabia went on to become a Crown Advocate in the British Counter Terrorism Division, which saw her prosecuting Al Qaeda terrorists, hate crimes and advising on war crimes prosecutions in The Hague.
Rabia has recently written and published her memoir, ‘Equal Justice’, which is a story about strength, resilience, courage, conviction and determination. An Australian/UK feature film is shortly to be made about her life.
Rabia is a Board Member of Kids Are Kids! Therapy and Education Centre Inc and an Ambassador for 100 Women. She is also a member of Australian and British Red Cross, UN Women, Law Societies of WA, England and Wales, Women Lawyers WA, the International Institute for Humanitarian Law and is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.
Rabia speaks English, French, Spanish and Arabic, has run the London marathon for charity, undertaken human rights and community aid work in the Middle East, South America, United Kingdom and Australia, and is a mother to triplet boys – her biggest challenge yet!