• Offered by The Australian National University
  • ANU College The Australian National University
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest English, Gender Studies, Human Sciences, Immunology and Microbiology, Forest Science and Management
  • Work Integrated Learning Placements
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

The Kimberley Aboriginal Justice Clinic is part of a collaboration between Kimberley Community Legal Services (‘KCLS’) in Western Australia and the ANU College of Law

which aims to increase positive justice impacts by, for and with Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people in the Kimberley are striving for social, economic, legal and political advancement and over 90% of the Kimberley is determined Native Title land. However,

barriers to justice include extreme disadvantage, gross under-resourcing of non-profit legal services in the region and enormous lacks relating to law and justice across the

cultural interface.

In this course student learning is driven by involvement in law in action justice work. The course is structured around students undertaking paralegal work at the KCLS

Aboriginal Justice Clinic at the Law School. The clinic is incorporated real-time in the KCLS legal practice and students are supervised by KCLS lawyers. This is an immersive

and challenging context for guided exploration about how law has been instrumentalized in relation to First Nations peoples, and the impacts. Also, whether and how laws,

legal institutions and legal practice can become forces for empowerment.

The course includes consideration of substantive areas of law, public policy, and critical Indigenous legal theories and presents principles and concepts which are pressed by

First Nations peoples in pursuit of justice, rights and empowerment. The course emphasises the voices, lived experiences and authority of Aboriginal people of the Kimberley

and engages and supports students in exploring how theory works in step with practice and reflection.

Accordingly, students will complete a workshop program which incorporates familiarization with KCLS and the Hotdesk, key skills, self-care, cultural protocols, and the

concepts of reflection, reflexivity, settler-colonialism, epistemic injustice and approaches to empowerment. Students also complete a minimum of 10 x 1 day (7 hour)

paralegal sessions at the KCLS-ANU Hotdesk and assessments consisting of reflective case studies which critically explore readings and themes in the course, and a

research paper related to themes in the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Synthesise their reflections on concepts such as personal and societal legacies of colonialization, cultural security, and voice to develop insight into Indigenous perspectives, and integrate this into their professional and ethical capabilities,
  2. Evaluate how self-determination can empower both Indigenous and non-indigenous people to improve social justice outcomes,
  3. Reflect on and critically evaluate the idea of epistemic injustice as a tool to critique settler-colonial law in Australia and consider how this may be applied to critique legal education, legal practice and justice
  4. Examine and critically evaluate legal problems within substantive areas of law impacting on Aboriginal people in the Kimberley using doctrinal and social policy approaches and approaches applying critical Indigenous legal theories,
  5. Critique a range of legal practice approaches, having regard to an ethos of service and the wishes, interests and rights of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley,
  6. Plan and execute a research project independently and/or collaboratively. 

Work Integrated Learning


Clinical courses allow students to engage with real clients, real problems and real deadlines in a real-world environment. Placements are undertaken with Kimberley Community Legal Services (‘KCLS’). The course is structured around students undertaking paralegal work at the KCLS Aboriginal Justice Clinic based here in Canberra. The clinic is incorporated real-time in the KCLS legal practice and students are supervised by KCLS lawyers. Students explore law reform and social justice issues relevant to First Nations peoples, develop professional skills and get work experience.

Other Information

Enrolment is limited with selection based on a competitive process. Application information can be located on the ANU College of Law Website.

Indicative Assessment

  1. The proposed means of assessment for this course will provide students with at least two pieces of assessment, including one piece during the semester. This course is a JD capstone course and will include a research project in a professional practice context. More information about the means of assessment, including the relationship between the assessment and the learning outcomes of the course, will be available in the Class Summary and on the course WATTLE page. (null) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
  • Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program course list

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4313 Kimberley Aboriginal Justice Clinic.

You will need to contact the The Australian National University to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.

Preliminary Reading

Allan Ardill, 'Non-Indigenous Lawyers Writing About Indigenous People: Colonisation in practice' (2012) 37(2) Alternative Law Journal 107.

Maggie Brady, ‘Law reforming lawyers and aboriginal social controls: The case of the Western Australian Aboriginal Communities Act’ (2013) 17(1) Australian Indigenous Law Review 38.

Marcelle Burns, 'Towards growing Indigenous culturally competent legal professionals in Australia' (2013) 12(1) The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives 226

Mick Dodson, ‘From 'Lore' to 'Law': Indigenous Rights and Australian Legal Systems’, (1995) 20 (1), Alternative Law Journal, 2

Kim Mahood, 'Kartiya are like Toyotas: White workers on Australia’s cultural frontier ' (2012) 36 Griffith Review 43.

Martin Nakata, 'The Cultural Interface' (2007) 36 Australian Journal of Indigenous Education 7

Nicole Watson, 'Indigenous People in Legal Education: Staring into a Mirror without Reflection' (2005) 6(8) Indigenous Law Bulletin 4

Irene Watson, 'Buried alive' (2002) 13(3) Law & Critique 253

Mandy Yap and Eunice Yu, ‘Community Wellbeing from the Ground Up: A Yawuru Example’ (2016), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Report 3/16

Peter Yu, ‘Reconciliation, Treaty Making and Nation Building’ (2018 ANU Reconciliation Lecture, ANU Canberra, 23 February 2018) 


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $7080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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