This on country intensive course, delivered through a collaboration between the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and the ANU College of Law, aims to equip students with knowledge to critically assess law’s history, characteristics and impacts from the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Central to the course is the examination of the adequacy of the current state of Australian legal education, legal practice, law and justice in relation to First Nations peoples, with a view to possibilities for reform.
The course acknowledges the multidimensional roles of law and explores connections between law, culture and identity and between law, legitimacy and resources. Additional issues include the roles of legal education, legal practice and the legal system concerning how lawfulness and justice are constructed and performed. The course incorporates consideration of substantive areas of law such as legal ethics, property, criminal and civil law.
The course presents principles and tools to support reappraisal and future leadership to better address legal and societal dimensions of justice, rights and empowerment for First Nations peoples.
The course covers issues relating to Indigenous world views, historical and contemporary Indigenous experiences of settler-colonialism, the phenomena of legacy relationships and legacy systems, and concepts of cultural safety and decolonisation. Students will critically assess the implications of issues for themselves, relating to Indigenous peoples, and relating to the future of law and justice in Australia. As such, the course builds on concepts introduced in Lawyers, Justice and Ethics, Australian Public Law, International Law and Property Law.
Students will complete orientation workshops (max 6 hours) prior to departure, complete the on country intensive (5 days), and submit reflective assessments. Students will have six weeks after completing the intensive to write a research paper on an aspect of decolonising legal education, legal practice, law and justice in Australia and present their findings.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Review how reflexive insights into personal and societal legacies of colonisation can relate to shifting power relations for Indigenous empowerment and Australian national building.
- Compare and contrast how concepts of cultural competency, cultural safety, cultural security and the like can operate to empower Indigenous people and improve social justice.
- Critically discuss how non-Indigenous settler-colonial knowledge systems construct their own identities and those of Indigenous peoples.
- Examine and critically evaluate conceptual and legal problems within substantive areas of law such as legal ethics, property, criminal and civil law relating to Indigenous peoples.
- Evaluate a variety of impacts of the cultural interface on legal education, legal practice, law and justice in Australia.
- Identify and evaluate a range of legal practice approaches having regard to the wishes and interests of Indigenous people and Indigenous peoples.
- Select and reflect on concrete and achievable ways in which they can promote Indigenous peoples access to justice and equality before the law.
- Conduct research into an aspect of decolonising legal education, legal practice, law and justice in Australia and present findings.
- Complete orientation (0) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
- Complete 5 day onsite on country intensive (0) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
- Reflective journal or report of experience (10% x 2 = 20%) 650 - 750 words each (20) [LO 1]
- Achieve approval for Research Project topic from Course Convener within 2 weeks of completing the on country intensive (0) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
- Research Project 4,550 - 5,250 words (70) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
- Project presentation (10-15 min) (10) [LO 8]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Students are required to complete group orientation (total 6 hrs), complete the intensive (total 35 hrs), gain approval for their research topic and access flexible coaching sessions with a Course Convener (total 2 hours) and participate in the research project presentation session (5 hrs).
The total contact time expectation is about 50 hrs. Preparation for the intensive and time required for research and preparation of the reflective writing assessments and the research project is additional.
Requisite and Incompatibility
You will need to contact the ANU Law School to request a permission code to enrol in this course.
Jonathan Lear, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation (e-book via ANU Library) (Harvard University Press, 2008)
Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture (e-book 2014 edition via ANU Library) or 2018 edition (Magabala Books, 2018)
Irene Watson, Aboriginal peoples, colonialism and international law. Raw law (e-book via ANU Library) (Routledge, 2015)
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.