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Australian Open: Nick Wood, Djokovic’s lawyer who managed to keep child soldier Omar from being deported from Australia

Australian Open: Nick Wood, Djokovic's lawyer who managed to keep child soldier Omar from being deported from Australia

He faces the most complicated case of his career: to get a judge to revoke the second cancellation of Djokovic’s visa, that his client is not deported and that he can defend the title at the Australian Open.

Nick Wood
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omar he lost his mother before he could even keep any memories of her. His father died when he was seven years old. He was adopted by his aunt. Shortly afterward, when civil war broke out in his country, Somalia, a group of militiamenclut as a child soldier. He spent a few years between bullets and sniffing gunpowder until a friend of his family rescued him. She fled with her aunt and cousins ​​to a refugee camp in Kenya.

The aunt ended up emigrating to Australia. Months later, she managed to take her children with her. And almost six years later, in 2001, he got an already adolescent Omar to travel to the Pacific country with a family reunification visa. The young Somali landed carrying war trauma and was diagnosed by Australian doctors with schizophrenia.

Omar managed to rebuild his life in Australia until he was notified in July 2016 that the authorities had canceled his visa on the grounds that he had a criminal record. According to the brief, at the time of the cancellation, he was serving a 12-month full-time prison sentence for “violating a community corrections order.”

To try to prevent him from being deported, a South Carolina state attorney was put on his case, Nick Wood, who had already been successful in defending other immigrants and refugees whose visas had been canceled by immigration authorities. Wood appealed and obtained a review of the decision in Federal Court, winning time that Omar had lost because the hearing was held in 2019.

Wood presented the judge with the situation of his client, with schizophrenia in addition to an intellectual disability with an intellectual quotient of cognitive functioning of 56, which placed him within the extremely low range. “There is evidence that the treatment of people with mental illness in Somalia is subject to serious and systemic discrimination, possibly equivalent to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in contravention of the obligations established in the Convention against Torture,” stated the lawyer to avoid Omar’s deportation.

After listening to the lawyer, the court judge revoked the cancellation of Omar’s visa. Wood won the case and got the refugee to continue living in Australia.

The name of Nicholas Wood has appeared mentioned this week in chronicles from all over the world for being the lawyer who heads the legal team that represents the tennis player Novak Djokovic in a legal battle against the Australian Government.

This Friday, after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke made the decision to cancel the Serbian champion’s visa for the second time, Wood faces the most complicated case of his career: get a judge to overturn the government’s decision, that your client is not deported and that he can defend the title at the Australian Open.

Although Australian public law experts maintain that the tennis player’s lawyers, who have the right to challenge Hawke’s decision, but with very limited elements to argue that the decision is unfair, this time they will have a much harder time getting a judge to overturn the determination of an elected public official.


Wood was already in charge of representing Djokovic last Monday in the Federal Court of Melbourne, achieving that the judge anthony kelly It would annul the border agency’s decision to cancel the visa and order the immediate release of the tennis player, who obtained a medical exemption from the country’s tennis governing body and the Victoria state authorities to compete in the Australian Open.

For the Australian Border Force agents who stopped Djokovic at the Melbourne airport, the Serbian champion did not have a valid exemption. PBut Wood appealed on the grounds that errors in the notice of intent to cancel his visa and in the decision of the delegate of the Minister of the Interior they meant that the visa had to be reinstated. Arguments that were well received by the judge.

The lawyer, adhering to the Australian Migration Law, said that the border officials did not adequately notify his client of his intention to cancel his visa, as the legislation establishes. Wood claimed that Djokovic was denied procedural fairness in the hours after he arrived at the airport on Wednesday night, as he did not have enough time to contact his lawyers and was pressured to continue an interview with Force officials. Border while having jet lag.

Wood has spent all of Friday meeting in his office at the Barristers firm, where Djokovic and the rest of the legal team made up of Paul Holdenson, Jim Hartley and Nikola Dragojlovic were. According to the Australian media, defending his court victory could have cost Djokovic around $50,000. They will try to get their appeal brief resolved in their favor in court before Monday, when the Australian Open begins.

They are street lawyers with court experience. Wood himself was an assistant to the Commonwealth Solicitor General and worked as an associate to a judge of the Federal Court. As a lawyer, he has previously handled several immigration cases. The most important of these was to get the cancellation of Somali Omar’s visa revoked.

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Reference from elmundo