LAW4158 - Indigenous peoples and the law - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Not offered in 2017


The legislative control, 'protection' and disempowerment experienced by indigenous Australians and the historical, comparative and contemporary contexts of their experiences in and with the Australian legal system. Laws and policies concerning identity, dispossession, protection and assimilation are examined. Over-representation of indigenous people within the criminal justice system, Deaths in Custody and stolen generations. Land rights, the Mabo and Wik cases, and the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). Human rights and the role of international law, self determination, reconciliation and law reform.


Upon completion of this unit students should

  1. Define, interpret and reflect upon the common law, constitutional and statutory framework that has applied to indigenous peoples of Australia, and particularly of Victoria;
  2. Identify, analyse and elucidate the relevant principles, laws and precedents and apply them to resolve issues relating to indigenous clients;
  3. Critically assess policies and principles relating to Indigenous people in order to promote a fair justice system recognising past and present injustices
  4. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the intellectual and practical skills needed to interpret legal conclusions and professional decisions, as well as to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues
  5. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the legal research and writing, and legal argument skills by undertaking systematic research into legal policy, rules, procedures and comparative perspectives relating to indigenous peoples and interests; and
  6. Demonstrate developed skills of oral presentation of legal policy, rules and argument in an interactive learning context


The methods of assessment in this Unit are

  • Short reaction piece (response to texts) (1600 words): 20%
  • Research paper (2000 words): 40%
  • Examination (2 hours writing and 30 minutes reading and noting time): 40%


  • Short reaction piece (response to texts) (1600 words): 20%
  • Examination (3 hours writing and 30 minutes reading and noting time): 80%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students in the LLB Hons course: Foundations of Law, Criminal Law 1, Public Law & Statutory Interpretation, Torts, Contract A , Contract B, Property A, Constitutional Law;

For students in the LLB course: Pre-requisites: LAW1101 Introduction to Legal Reasoning; LAW 1104 Research and Writing.


For students in the LLB Hons course: Equity, Corporations Law