Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 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, property, constitutional law and international law. Indigenous Peoples, 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.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in 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, in a range of contexts for professional practice;

2. Critically evaluate, through research and synthesis of complex concepts, 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 in preparation for professional practice;

4. Demonstrate advanced communication skills to justify conclusions on key legal issues affecting Indigenous peoples in Australia, to specialist and non-specialist audiences.


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 constitutional reform


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program, or in a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) combined program.

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentation: Oral presentation in seminar

Written Assignment: Written Assignment - Law reform submission

Written Assignment: Written Assignment: Case note or advocacy submission

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.