Melbourne Law School is currently undertaking a review of the compulsory Juris Doctor curriculum to increase the representation of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives.
The review responds to the following statements:
- the recommendations of the 2019 Review of MLS Indigenous Studies Programs
- MLS’ Strategic Priorities on Indigenous Programs
- The Council of Australian Law Deans' (CALD) Statement on Australian Law’s Systemic Discrimination and Structural Bias Against First Nations Peoples.
A working group comprised of Dr Eddie Cubillo, AD (Indigenous Programs), Associate Professor Arlen Duke, AD (JD), Emeritus Professor Ian Malkin and Professor Kirsty Gover has been established to work with subject coordinators to develop curriculum and teaching methods that showcase and support Indigenous law and knowledge. The review is driven by the research work of Sharmera Kesavan and Jaynaya Dwyer.
The first subjects to be part of this ongoing (and necessarily iterative) process are Legal Method and Reasoning, Principles of Public Law, Constitutional Law, Property and Criminal Law.
For enquiries about the curriculum review contact Jaynaya Dwyer (Research Fellow at the Indigenous Law and Justice Hub).
Indigenous elective subjects at MLS
The following elective subjects in the Juris Doctor and program centrally concern the Indigenous law and experiences in settler legal systems. Please note that not all elective subjects run every year. We encourage you to consult the subject handbook for more information on electives and course planning.
- Treaty: Indigenous-settler Agreements
Addresses treaty-making as a practice of comparative law and agreement-making between Indigenous nations and settler institutions, considering what is required if Indigenous-settler agreements are to be legitimate and robust.
- Law and Indigenous Peoples
Provides a broad overview of key legal issues impacting Indigenous peoples in Australia and present debates
- Indigenous Law in Aotearoa and Australia
Taught intensively in Aotearoa- New Zealand, aiming to equip students with expert knowledge on current Indigenous legal issues in Aotearoa and Australia.
- Indigenous Legal Advocacy Clinic
Student support Indigenous organisation or campaigns by providing research support on a law or advocacy issue impacting First Nations people.
- Public Interest Law Clinic - Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Placement
Support lawyers in delivery of legal services to the community.
The following masters elective subjects are generally available to both masters and Juris Doctor students as elective offerings, if eligibility requirements are met:
- Comparative Indigenous Rights
A comparative rights subject looking at Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand when discussing Aboriginal title, treaties, land rights, self-determination and Indigenous families and justice.
- Indigenous Peoples, Land and Resources Law
Focusing on Indigenous peoples’ land and resource rights, with particular attention to Native Title and comparative legal regimes.
Opportunities to complete research with an Indigenous law and justice focus are also often available to Juris Doctor students through streams in the Legal Research subject.
Culture at MLS
The Indigenous Law and Justice Hub is committed to building an inclusive, respectful and engaging culture at Melbourne Law School.
Students are encouraged to contact us if they want to learn more about our work, and Indigenous students are also encouraged to join us for our weekly drop-in coffee sessions.
The changes to LMR form part of a wider program that MLS is undertaking to increase the representation of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in the compulsory JD curriculum. This work responds to the recommendations of the 2019 Review of MLS Indigenous Studies Programs (Tehan and Ewen) and to MLS’ Strategic Priorities on Indigenous Programs.
A working group comprised of Dr Eddie Cubillo, Associate Dean (Indigenous Programs), Arlen Duke, Associate Dean(JD), Emeritus Professor Ian Malkin and Professor Kirsty Gover has been established to work with subject coordinators to find and include materials and teaching methods that showcase and support Indigenous law and knowledge.