© 2017 ICCLAP

NSW Department of Justice recommends minimum standards for teaching of cultural competency for all law students

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.

A number of universities were represented at the roundtable, where there was broad support for the inclusion of Aboriginal cultural competency in legal education. Participants at the roundtable were also keen to distinguish between cultural awareness and cultural competency, with the later including the ability to reflect on their own ‘culture and professional paradigms in order to understand its cultural limitations and effect positive change.’ (Universities Australia, 2011, Guiding Principles for Developing Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities).

The ICCLAP Project Team support these recommendations, which highlight the need for the inclusion of Indigenous cultural competency in legal education. A further roundtable to review the implementation of these recommendations is to be held in early 2017.

The NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice’s report on The family response to the murders in Bowraville is available at. https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inqui...

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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.

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School of Law, University of New England
ARMIDALE NSW 2351

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.