© 2017 ICCLAP

Legal Education Review - Special Topic - Indigenous Cultural Competency

Over the past twelve months the ICCLAP Project Team has been working with the Legal Education Review to produce a special topic issue on Indigenous cultural competency in legal education and practice. This special edition includes a rich and diverse range of scholarly articles on issues relating to the embedding of ICC in law. Thematically these articles outline the ICCLAP research process and outcomes; and reflections on changes in law schools and practice since 2005. The need for ICC is elaborated with a focus on Indigenous student experiences and a framework for ICC in an Aboriginal community controlled legal service. They also explore conceptual approaches to developing ICC in curricula; and practical examples of how ICC has been incorporated into law programs in different ways. The collection concludes with a call for reform to legal professional accreditation standards to include ICC to ensure that lawyers can meet their ethical and professional responsibilities to Indigenous peoples.

Together these contributions present a range of perspectives and approaches to embedding ICC in law, and in many ways highlight the complexity and challenges of engaging in this work. As a growing number of legal educators and practitioners take up this challenge, we move towards a more just and equitable society which values Indigenous peoples, cultures and laws, as an essential part of the legal landscape in Australia. The contributions to this special edition demonstrate what can be achieved with a little imagination, creativity and a commitment to bridge the existing gaps in legal education and practice. The ICCLAP Project Team would like to thank all the contributors to this special edition, which we hope will inspire more lawyers and legal academics to take up this challenging and rewarding work.

The special edition is available at Legal Education Review - Special Edition - ICC in Law.

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ICCLAP Final Report - now available

The Final Report for the Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program is now available, following release by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. The report provides an overview of ICCLAP including the project's aims and objectives, research process, key activities and a review of the literature on ICC in law. It also sets out ICCLAP's guiding principles for embedding ICC in law and suggested content for curriculum, together with the project's final recommendations and independent evaluation.

The evaluation of the project was overwhelmingly positive, finding that key stakeholders say the project as 'highly necessary' and if anything more time was needed to engage with the topic and with other people involved in this work. Importantly the evaluators found that:

A positive outcome not explicitly intended was the cathartic and liberating sharing of experiences, articulation of frustration, and in some cases, grievances, regarding the invisibility and marginalisation of Indigenous laws and values in legal education. This proved to be therapeutic for many participants.
The Project Team hopes that this report will provide valuable information for people already engaged in embedding ICC in law, and also for those wanting to promote ICC in legal education and practice. The final report is available on this link.


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Indigenous Cultural Competency in Law Workshop - 3 July 2019 - Southern Cross University - Gold Coast Campus

The Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program (ICCLAP) aims to promote the embedding of Indigenous cultural competency (ICC) in legal education, with a view to building the capacity of law graduates to work effectively with Indigenous peoples in their future careers and also to create more inclusive learning environments for Indigenous law students. One of ICCLAP’s goals is to foster a community of practice to support the incorporation of ICC in law curricula. This workshop is being held in conjunction with the Australasian Law Academics Association 2019 Conference, and will provide an interactive and supportive space for participants to discuss the opportunities and challenges that embedding ICC in law presents, in conversation with leaders in the field.

The workshop features presentations from legal academics and practitioners to share their approaches and experiences on developing ICC in law. Speakers for the workshop include:

  • Marcelle Burns, ICCLAP Project Leader, Lecturer, Law School, University of New England
  • Eddie Cubillo, Senior Indigenous Fellow, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne
  • Annette Gainsford, Lecturer, Law and Justice Studies, Indigenous Academic Fellow; Associate Professor Alison Gerard,Director, Centre for Law and Justice; Kim Bailey, Discipline Coordinator (Law); Marcus Smith, Senior Lecturer and Course Director in Law, Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University.
  • Dr Heron Loban, Senior Lecturer, Law School, Griffith University
  • Associate Professor Simon Young, School of Law and Justice, University of Southern Queensland
  • Professor Asmi Wood, ICCLAP Project Team, Director, National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Australian National University

Registration for the workshop is free. Lunch and morning/afternoon tea, and workshop materials will be provided. Numbers are limited, so please register for the workshop by COB Friday 28 June, 2019. The workshop commences at 10am, concluding at 4.30 pm. Register for the workshop on this link.

This workshop is sponsored by the Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program, University of New England Law School, and Southern Cross University, School of Law and Justice.

ICCLAP Q&A Forum now open

A popular request from the Indigenous Cultural Competency in Law: Future Directions Workshop was to establish an online community for legal academics and professionals to discuss issues relating to embedding Indigenous cultural competency in legal education and practice. The ICCLAP Q&A Forum has now been created to meet this need.

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ICCLAP Law School Survey

One of the key objectives of the ICCLAP project is to promote the incorporation of Indigenous cultural competency (ICC) in legal education. In order to establish a baseline by which to measure the impact of the project, a desktop survey of law schools was conducted in 2016. However the Project Team found that the relevant information was not always publicly available and therefore it was not possible to determine the extent to which ICC had been included in law curricula. Therefore the Project Team resolved to undertake a survey of law schools in 2017, to fills the gaps in our existing knowledge. The survey was distributed to law schools through members of the Council of Australian Law Deans.

The survey had a high response rate with 20 out of 39 of law schools completing the online survey form. Law schools were asked to report on the inclusion of ICC in core and elective units, institutional support for embedding ICC and the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students in their school. The key findings of the survey

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land and waters. We pay our respects to elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge that these have always been places of knowledge, teaching and learning.


School of Law, University of New England

Marcelle Burns, Project Leader (02) 6773-2686

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Funding Acknowledgement

Support for this project has been provided by the Australian Government Department for Education and Training. The views expressed by this project do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Department for Education and Training.