Indigenous Legal Issues

2018/19 Annual Report

This year, the Indigenous Legal Issues Committee has seen a change of Convenor, with some new appointments to the Committee as well as previous Committee members staying on. There are a number of Committee members currently representing the Committee on Law Society Working Groups, and representing the Law Society on other groups outside the organisation.

The Committee continues to support the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) of the Law Society, with two representatives from the Committee sitting on the Law Society’s RAP Working Group. The Working Group has responsibility for progressing the initiatives of Law Society’s Innovate RAP 2017 to 2019 and is now finalizing the Innovate RAP report to Reconciliation Australia. An initiative of the Innovate RAP included implementing cultural awareness training for all staff and providing information to members on incorporating cultural awareness training as a component of continuing professional development.

Following the release of the Law Council of Australia’s Justice Project Report in August 2018, the Committee reviewed the recommendations arising from the Report and is currently assisting the Law Society’s Justice Project Working Group, with identifying the key recommendations for implementation in Western Australia as well as the availability and utility of protocols for lawyers with
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

The Committee is also responsible for monitoring the Law Society’s Mentoring Programme for Indigenous law students and a priority is to ensure the processes designed to facilitate the mentoring of Indigenous law students operate effectively. This will be an ongoing focus in the next 12 months.

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 liaison with other relevant committees with representation on the UWA Indigenisation of the Juris Doctor Project Reference Group and the Law Council of Australia Indigenous Legal Issues Committee.

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