Indigenous Legal Issues

2017/18 Annual Report

This year, the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee joined with representatives from the Law Society’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee and Access to Justice Committee to prepare a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The Committee continues to support the implementation of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the Law Society, which entered into the ‘Innovate’ phase. The Innovate RAP establishes the Law Society’s approach for advancing reconciliation within the organisation and outlines its reconciliation strategies and initiatives.

The Law Society’s Mentoring Programme for Indigenous law students completed its eighth year. The Law Society will be looking to further develop its relationships with each of the universities to ensure the success of this valuable programme and that students are properly supported.

As part of the Committee’s activities the Law Society co-hosted with the Chief Justice of Western Australia, the Hon. Wayne Martin AC, a panel discussion that also provided a networking platform for Indigenous law students and members of the profession as well as profile the work of the Committee.

The Committee continues to work closely with the Francis Burt Legal Education Programme to provide input and advice in relation to programmes and initiatives being developed by the Programme. This includes the Lore Law Project, an educational campaign targeting Aboriginal youth in both metropolitan and regional Western Australia and providing education about legal rights and responsibilities to school and community groups.

The Committee maintains its commitment to communicating on issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recommended to the Law Society’s Council a set of cultural protocols and guidelines for practitioners representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia. The Protocols for Lawyers with Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Islander Clients in Western Australia are available on the Society’s website.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au