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This clinic will engage with current law and policy issues impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Students will work in partnership with an Indigenous organisation or campaign on a range of law and policy issues. Students will receive a research memo or brief from the partner organisation/s and will work to produce this major project over the course of the semester . Major projects may include: legislative submissions, amicus briefs, case notes, desktop research, speech writing, website materials, petitions, open-letters, op-eds and explainers, and law and policy analysis.
Students will undertake 12 days of clinical work at Melbourne Law School under the supervision of the clinic supervisor and subject coordinator. Students will be taught lawyering skills in persuasive writing, organisational collaboration, and advocacy. The clinical work will be complemented by a seminar series (held across the semester during the clinic day) where they will hear from a range of perspectives on Indigenous advocacy and campaign work.
At the end of semester, students will present their completed work to their partner organisation. Students will also take part in debrief sessions, where they will evaluate their progress and reflect on the role and impact of law and practice on Aboriginal communities and organisations. Students will be required to maintain a reflective journal during semester to facilitate these discussions.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who successfully completes this subject will:
- Have an enhanced understanding of the history and ongoing legacy of government and legal institutions' interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities;
- Have an advanced and practical understanding of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal issues in Australia;
- Have a sophisticated understanding of the techniques and methods of public interest lawyering with a focus on influencing legal policy development;
- Be able to reflect critically and meaningfully on their learning in the subject, as well as on the capacity and role of law and lawyers to create social, economic and political change;
- Have an enhanced understanding of, and capacity to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.
A student who successfully completes this subject will develop:
- applied research skills, including the ability to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues in the context of a complex area of law and policy;
- legal practice skills, including critical legal analysis, legal writing and drafting of policy documents;
- personal and professional skills, including learning autonomously, being accountable for one's work, self-reflection on performance and ethical professional conduct and development;
- skills required for effective workplace performance, such as communication, time management, co-worker collaboration and office organisation;
- research and reflection skills, the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical reflection, and to develop and articulate legal reform ideas for social change based on theoretical and empirical knowledge of the operation of the law; and
- the practical, interpersonal, technical skills and ethical awareness needed to practise effectively in a team of legal researchers, including in the areas of collaborative work, research, communication, and management of briefs for external stakeholders.
Last updated: 31 January 2024