The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


This course empowers students to critically evaluate the relations between Indigenous peoples in Australia and the Australian legal system, from colonisation to the present day. It uses critical race theory as a lens through which to view the operation of law in a range of areas, including criminal law, land law, constitutional law and international law. Indigenous People, Issues and the Law is the only stand-alone course in the Law curriculum to centralise the study of Indigenous-related content, perspectives and law.


Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Apply critical race theory principles to a body of knowledge regarding the interactions between Indigenous peoples and the Australian legal system;

2. Critically evaluate, through research and analysis, the operation of Australian law and legal institutions in relation to Indigenous peoples;

3. Interpret contentious issues affecting the legal status and experiences of Indigenous peoples in Australia, and apply legal doctrine and other conceptual tools to solve problems;

4. Demonstrate well-developed communication skills to transmit knowledge and ideas regarding key legal issues affecting Indigenous peoples in Australia.


The topics in this course include:

  1. Critical race theory
  2. Colonisation and dispossession
  3. Development of government policies in relation to Indigenous peoples
  4. The Stolen Generations and child welfare
  5. Anti-discrimination law
  6. Land rights and native title
  7. Indigenous peoples and the criminal justice system
  8. Self-determination and international law
  9. Sovereignty and the Treaty debate


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A and LAWS3004B

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentations - Individual

Participation: Seminar Participation and weekly written learning summaries

Written Assignment: Research Brief

Written Assignment: Curated bibliography and opinion piece

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Online 20 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Five online learning modules - 4 hours per module.


Face to Face On Campus 16 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Condensed term - 16 hours across five seminars.