Embedding Indigenous cultural competence in a Bachelor of Laws at the Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University: A case study

Alison Gerard, Annette Gainsford, Kim Bailey

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-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 Conference 2017
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Academy of Law
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe Future of Australian Legal Education Conference 2017 - Federal Court of Australia , Sydney, Australia
Duration: 11 Aug 201713 Aug 2017
http://www.academyoflaw.org.au/Conference (Conference website)
http://www.academyoflaw.org.au/lec2017 (Conference proceedings)


ConferenceThe Future of Australian Legal Education Conference 2017
OtherTo mark the 10th anniversary of the Australian Academy of Law (AAL), the 90th anniversary of the Australian Law Journal (ALJ), and the 30th anniversary of the Pearce Report on Australian Law Schools, the AAL and ALJ are presenting a national conference on the future of Australian legal education.

Presented by Australia’s leading legal education experts and high ranking judicial members, the conference will provide a forum for an informed, national discussion on the future of legal study and practice in Australia, covering practitioners, academics, judges and students.
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