Embedding Indigenous cultural competence: A case study

Alison Gerard, Annette Gainsford, Kim Bailey

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In 2016, Charles Sturt University (CSU) established the Centre for Law and Justice to begin offering an accredited Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree alongside other criminology undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Charles Sturt University is one of the few universities across Australia to include Indigenous cultural competence as a Graduate Learning Outcome. Embedding Indigenous cultural competence into higher education entails producing graduates that have an understanding of Indigenous cultures, histories and contemporary social realities. For law graduates specifically, it involves equipping the students with a legal education that analyses law as a form of knowledge and ensure they have evaluated the role played by the legal profession in dispossession and other policies of colonisation that have a lasting impact on the present. It also enables students to explore Indigenous cultures as a rich source of knowledge, wisdom and resilience. Building upon a community of practice that is emerging at a national and international level around embedding Indigenous perspectives, this paper explores how CSU’s LLB incorporates Indigenous cultural competence into the traditional law curriculum at three key stages. First, the design stage where curriculum development processes are deployed to map curriculum across the LLB program. Second, the delivery of content using authentic learning interactions with Indigenous Australians and Indigenous content including explicit teaching and learning from faculty/Centre academics and through CSU’s ‘Elders-in-Residence’ program. Third, the continuing evaluation of learning and teaching in the LLB through critical reflexivity with staff, students, and community stakeholders. This paper examines the incorporation of Indigenous cultural competence in law curriculum at a course level, showcasing CSU’s Bachelor of Law. In particular we analyse incorporation in a foundation level subject and in doctrinally applied content of the law of torts prescribed area of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe future of Australian legal education
Subtitle of host publicationA collection
EditorsKevin Lindgren, Franco̧is Kunc, Michael Coper
Place of PublicationPyrmont, NSW
PublisherThomson Reuters (Professional)
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780455241357
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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