Bond University

Article Title

The Participation of Indigenous Australians in Legal Education


Daniel Lavery


This paper is based on a survey of Australian law schools in 1990–91 which sought to investigate the interface between indigenous Australians and law studies. The survey was prompted by similar recent research conducted in Canada. The focus of this paper is the Australian data but a review of the Canadian scene will be given to show the depth of field which exists. The Australian survey results will be first presented. A survey of the Canadian scene will follow with the interest being on the special entrance schemes available to Indian, Metis and Inuit peoples and the existence and operation of pre-law programmes in Canada. Although this paper cannot purport to be truly comparative, comparisons and contrasts will be drawn where possible. Some general conclusions will then be drawn with a particular emphasis on one aspect of the legal education of aboriginal peoples which is not present in the Australian analysis, that of an intensive nationally-based pre-law preparatory programme. It will be argued that, as a matter of priority, efforts should be directed to the establishment of such a programme in Australia. A note of caution should also be firmly struck at the outset. This paper is from the perspective of a Euro-Australian lawyer within the dominant legal culture. This writer cannot, and does not purport to, give the indigenous perspective.

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