Community Law Fellow Dhilum Nightingale

Supporting Dhilum to examine employer accountability in relation to migrant exploitation within Aotearoa New Zealand.

Borrin Foundation - Community Law Fellowship

Dhilum’s plan

Dhilum’s research project will use legal analysis and design thinking methods to look at the cultural dynamics between exploiting employers and vulnerable migrant employees in Aotearoa New Zealand and see how existing enforcement mechanisms can be strengthened, including through community-based restorative practices.  Dhilum will hold a series of community engagement workshops with survivors of exploitation (who will be paid at least the living wage for attending the workshops), as well as advocates, regulators and people working in employment dispute resolution. Dhilum will also partner with other people and organisations to develop policy and law reform proposals and tools and strategies to improve access to justice and strengthen employer

About Dhilum

Dhilum has an LLM (Distinction) from Victoria University of Wellington and a BA/LLB (Hons) from Auckland University. She has practiced as a lawyer for over 20 years and has been involved with Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley (CLWHV) working in their refugee and immigration legal advisory service as staff rōia, then as a contractor since September 2019. Dhilum is passionate about public sector innovation and contracts to Creative HQ where she enjoys solving complex policy problems using design thinking tools. Dhilum has a strong sense of social and environmental justice, cultural awareness and sensitivity, guided by her Sri Lankan heritage and her place as tangata tiriti.  Dhilum’s mahi is shaped by the cross-cultural values of karunawa (kindness), yuktiya (justice), anukampawa (compassion), rangatiratanga (self-empowerment) and manaakitanga (caring for and supporting others). Dhilum enjoys biking, tramping and meditation and is training to be an Iyengar yoga teacher.  She has three tamariki.

Grant Amount

$69,700 in 2022-2023

“This project will explore the impacts of workplace exploitation on vulnerable communities and present practical options for reducing risks and improving employer accountability.  I hope the project will help to ensure a more just and inclusive society for all, where everyone, regardless of ethnicity and gender is able to thrive and achieve their aspirations.”

Dhilum Nightingale