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Indigenous Children and the Law - LAWS8123
 UNSW Library

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Pre-requisite: Academic Program must be 9200 or 9210 or 9230 or 5740 or 9211 or 5211 or 9220 or 5750 or 9285 or 5285.
CSS Contribution Charge:Band   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course, taught by two Indigenous academics, will be concerned with the historical and contemporary experience of Indigenous children within and beyond the constructs of law and society. Using United Nations human rights frameworks, the course will take an interdisciplinary approach to selected legal issues impacting upon Indigenous children within Australia and internationally. Topics to be covered include: theory of children’s rights; Indigenous children; the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle, Indigenous children’s engagement with the criminal justice system, family law, child protection and Indigenous children’s access, representation, and participation within the legal system

LLM Specialisations

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Aims

  • Develop an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the rights of the child;
  • Develop an ability to critically analyse the legal arguments around child rights;
  • Develop the ability to evaluate the opportunities and challenges in using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as effective ways of promoting and protecting Indigenous children’s rights;
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify the ways in which the law becomes a part of Indigenous children’s lives;
  • Develop an understanding of the major issues in Indigenous juvenile justice and the limitations of approaches to combating the problem;
  • Develop an understanding of the major issues relating to Indigenous child protection and be able to discuss ‘best interest’ options for intervention in specific contexts;
  • Develop a professional awareness of the type of work involved when working with Indigenous families including children;
  • Develop an awareness of and ability to apply interdisciplinary perspectives to their studies;
  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically and to justify ideas in a reasoned manner;
  • Identify and conduct appropriate legal research and writing.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this course should be able to:
  • demonstrate knowledge of the range of issues impacting on Indigenous Children's legal and political participation, including a critical understanding of the policy considerations informing the law in this area;
  • demonstrate the skills of analysis and evaluation which are required to engage in practical and scholarly legal research. This will include skills necessary to plan effective research strategies; collect, retrieve and collate relevant information; analyse, evaluate and interpret information apply and report on empirical research;
  • recognise and reflect on ethical and justice issues that are likely to arise in professional practice in this area;
  • identify and formulate legal issues in this area and engage in critical analysis of those issues;
  • be able to communicate their understanding and analysis of legal and policy issues in this area to others in both legal and non-legal formats.


Class participation 20%
Research essay 80%

Course Texts

To be advised


A full up-to date reading list will be provided in the course outline.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.