Indigenous Law Centre

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The Indigenous Law Centre, part of the Law Faculty at the University of New South Wales develops and coordinates research, teaching and information services in the multi-disciplinary area of Indigenous peoples and the law. The Centre publishes two major journals the Australian Indigenous Law Review and the Indigenous Law Bulletin.

History[edit]

The Indigenous Law Centre was previously the Aboriginal Law Research Unit which was established at University of New South Wales on 23 April, 1981. Emeritus Professor Garth Nettheim was the first chairman of the Unit. The origins however go back to early 1970 when the first Aboriginal legal service was established. Professor Hal Wootten was its first President and he operated the ALS from the UNSW Law School in its early years. When the Whitlam Government funded Aboriginal Legal Services, the ALS’s found their time taken up with criminal representation and had no time for law reform advocacy. Thus UNSW Faculty of Law members found themselves still being contacted to give advice on legal issues such as land rights claims, environment law and administrative law matters. A small group of academics – Professor Garth Nettheim, Richard Chisholm, Pat O’Shane and Neil Rees established a “back-up centre” or legal research centre that could assist the frontline Aboriginal Legal services and Aboriginal Land Councils. Thus in 1986 the Aboriginal Law Research Unit became the Aboriginal Law Centre. The ILC has worked with the Indigenous community and has been involved in High Court cases such as Koowarta v Bjelke-Peterson (1982) 153 CLR 168, Mabo v Queensland [No 2](1992) 175 CLR 1[1] and international indigenous rights advocacy such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Publications[edit]

The Indigenous Legal Centre publishes two journals:

  • The Australian Indigenous Law Review
  • The Indigenous Law Bulletin

Research[edit]

The Indigenous Law Centre undertakes research in a number of areas:

Indigenous peoples and public law[edit]

  • Focusing on legal issues related to the recognition of Indigenous rights and constitutional reform; extra parliamentary representation of Indigenous peoples; critical engagement with the idea of a bills of rights; legislative developments affecting Indigenous rights; native title and land rights; stolen wages; “democracy” and Indigenous peoples; intellectual property reform; the nexus between public law reform and health; human rights impact of climate change on Indigenous communities.

Indigenous peoples and international law[edit]

  • Focusing on Indigenous legal issues in international law; United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous peoples advocacy at the UN; UN human rights treaties, treaty bodies and indigenous specific jurisprudence; Convention on the Rights of the Child and Indigenous children; Indigenous peoples, trade and WTO; Indigenous peoples and WIPO.

Indigenous women and Australian democracy[edit]

  • A study of how Indigenous women fare in contemporary democracies, in particular Aboriginal women in Australian democracy; Indigenous women’s issues and Australian public institutions; Aboriginal women, human rights and aboriginal law; Indigenous women and the right to self-determination; Indigenous women and extra-parliamentary representative structures.

Staff[edit]

  • Director - Professor Megan Davis
  • Centre Fellows - Dr Kyllie Cripps and Mr Leon Terrill
  • Coordinator - Dr Melanie Simpson
  • ILB Editor - Ms Rebecca Gallegos
  • AILR Editor - Ms Marie Iskander

Centre Associates[edit]

  • Dr Thalia Anthony, A/Prof Sean Brennan, Ms Lauren Butterly, Ms Neva Collings, Ms Rachel Davis, Mr Russell Goldflam, Dr Brenda Gunn, Prof Marcia Langton, Mr Dylan Lino, Mr Greg Marks, Prof Bradford Morse, Prof Tim Rowse, A/Prof Jacinta Ruru, Ms Louise Taylor

The Director[edit]

Megan Davis is the Director of the Centre and is a Professor of Law, UNSW. Megan's published scholarship includes Indigenous issues in public law, in particular, Indigenous peoples and Constitutional issues and Aboriginal women's issues in Australian democracy. Megan's research also includes Indigenous peoples and international law, in particular examining UN treaty body jurisprudence and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the WTO. Megan is also an Australian member of the International Law Association’s Indigenous Rights Committee.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Griffith Review Essay on the reshaping of Indigenous politics (Megan Davis, Griffith Review)
  2. Megan Davis at the Sydney Writers' Festival