'The difficulties of communication encountered by Indigenous peoples’: moving beyond Indigenous deficit in the model admission rules for legal practitioners

Article


Burns, Marcelle, Young, Simon and Nielsen, Jennifer. 2018. "'The difficulties of communication encountered by Indigenous peoples’: moving beyond Indigenous deficit in the model admission rules for legal practitioners." Legal Education Review. 28 (2), pp. 1-27.
Article Title

'The difficulties of communication encountered by Indigenous peoples’: moving beyond Indigenous deficit in the model admission rules for legal practitioners

ERA Journal ID17315
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsBurns, Marcelle (Author), Young, Simon (Author) and Nielsen, Jennifer (Author)
Journal TitleLegal Education Review
Journal Citation28 (2), pp. 1-27
Number of Pages27
Year2018
Place of PublicationQueensland, Australia
ISSN1033-2839
1839-3713
Web Address (URL)https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/legedr28&id=35&men_tab=srchresults
Abstract

The Law Admissions Consultative Committee’s Model Admission Rules 2015 require new practising lawyers to have an ‘awareness’ of the difficulties of communication attributable to cultural differences, including ‘the difficulties of communication encountered by Indigenous peoples’ (LACC: 31). While there is no doubt that effective cross-communication is essential to providing ethical legal representation for clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, this paper will argue that in the context of the First Peoples of Australia greater regulatory attention to these issues is urgently needed and that the ‘difficulties of communication’ need to be framed differently. Numerous reports and inquiries have shown that First Peoples’ encounters with the Australian legal system are fraught with a lack of cultural understanding on the part of non-Indigenous legal actors. Given the ongoing and systemic over-representation of First Peoples in the criminal justice system and child protection regimes, there is a critical need for lawyers to develop Indigenous cultural competency as one step towards addressing this gross injustice, and making the Australian legal system more responsive to the needs and aspirations of First Peoples. Canadian developments, particularly in the wake of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, underline the scale and significance of this need, and provide some broader context for a reconsideration of legal education and professional admission requirements in Australia. This paper will argue that Indigenous cultural competency should be a mandatory requirement for admission to legal practice in Australia, and that the ‘deficit discourse’ on First Peoples’ engagement with the legal system must be discarded, to ensure that legal ethical and professional responsibilities are inclusive of the needs of First Peoples.

KeywordsLegal education Indigenous cultural competency Deficit discourse Legal ethics Professional responsibility Regulation of law schools Admission rules Canadian legal education
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020480505. Legal practice, lawyering and the legal profession
450599. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community not elsewhere classified
480302. Comparative law
480499. Law in context not elsewhere classified
480501. Access to justice
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of New England
School of Law and Justice
Southern Cross University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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