The Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program (ICCLAP) aims to increase the inclusion of Indigenous cultural competency in legal education. This will improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student outcomes in law as well as developing Indigenous cultural competency in all students. This will lead to better legal service delivery for Indigenous communities in the long term.
ICCLAP is a cross institutional project involving five universities including the University of New England, University of Technology (Sydney), RMIT University, Australian National University, and Queensland University of Technology. The project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.
On 3 December 2020, the Council of Australian Law Deans issued a statement on systemic discrimination and structural bias against First Nations Peoples. This statement is a positive affirmation of the role that law schools can play in contributing to addressing institutional racism through their core activities of teaching, research and service. The statement is available at
The Australian Law School Standards, developed by the Council of Australian Law Deans, have recently been updated to include new areas of knowledge required for law degrees. In 2020 this includes a statement that curriculum will ‘develop knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on and the intersections with the law.’Read more
ICCLAP Project Leader, Marcelle Burns and Associate Professor Jennifer Nielsen (SCU) recently presented for Southern Cross University’s Law and Justice research seminar series on their experience of using theory as practice to challenge the wicked problem of racism in the law classroom. The presenters also reflect on the value of team teaching in this complex and dynamic teaching space and the significance to engaging students in critical learning on race and whiteness for legal institutions and the profession. An audio-visual recording of the seminar is available at
ICCLAP hosted a workshop on ICC in law in conjunction with the Australasian Law Academics Association 2019 Conference. The workshop provided an interactive and supportive space for participants to discuss the opportunities and challenges that embedding ICC in law presents, in conversation with experienced practitioners in the field.Read more
In 2019 Winkiku Rrumbaingi NT Indigenous Lawyers Aboriginal Corporation hosted the 14th National Indigenous Legal Conference, True Justice: Integrating Indigenous Perspective – held in conjunction with the 1st Indigenous Health Justice Conference. Joining the two conferences provided an excellent opportunity to explore the intersections of health, law and justice issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia, and also to showcase First Peoples expertise and excellence in the delivery of community controlled legal and health services.Read more
The Indigenous Cultural Competency in Law: Deliberating Future Directions Workshop was held in September 2017 to bring together legal academics and key stakeholders to develop guiding principles and strategies to promote the embedding of ICC in law curricula. Presentations from leading Indigenous lawyers and legal academics were featured at the workshop to stimulate reflection and discussion. The Workshop Final Participant Report (2017) outlines critical success factors and barriers to incorporating ICC in curriculum, together with guiding principles and priorities for action to incorporate ICC in legal education.
The ICCLAP Final Report was released by the Department of Education and Training in June 2019. The report outlines the project’s aims and objectives, literature review and research process, together with key findings including guiding principles for embedding ICC in legal education, and suggested content for curriculum. The report is available at https://ltr.edu.au/resources/ID14-3906_Burns_FinalReport_2019.pdf
Universities Australia (UA) have renewed its’ commitment to support Indigenous student success with the recent launch of its Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020, developed in consultation with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC).Read more
Project Leader, Marcelle Burns, has been invited to speak at the Association of Continuing Legal Education conference in Vancouver in August 2017 (via Skype). Marcelle will talk about ICCLAP and initiatives in Australia to incorporate Indigenous cultural competency in legal education. This will be a great opportunity to share information and learn about the Canadian experience in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) ‘Calls to Action’ on Indigenous cultural competency for lawyers and law students.Read more
In May 2016, Marcelle Burns and Professor Larissa Behrendt from the ICCLAP Project Team participated in a roundtable convened by the NSW Department of Justice to discuss the department’s response to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice’s report on The family response to the murders in Bowraville. The report made a number of important recommendations regarding the need for greater Aboriginal cultural awareness in the legal education including that the Department of Justice request that all universities offering legal training offer Aboriginal cultural awareness as a compulsory element of their courses.Read more
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Support for this project has been provided by the Australian Government Department for Education and Training. The views in this project do not necessary reflect the views of the Australian Government Department for Education and Training.
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