THREE COURSES AIMED at training indigenous people for paralegal work have just been reaccredited, offering the flexibility to choose and tailor course modules for the needs of different community groups.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma said he hoped that more training organisations would begin delivering the courses across Australia.
He said the National Indigenous Legal Advocacy Courses (NILAC) developed by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by building their capacity to work in legal environments and increasing their understanding of human and legal rights protection systems.
The courses also provide a pathway to further study options, including law courses.
“NILAC is the only course of its kind in Australia — it provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the competency and skills to work in a white man’s legal environment,” Calma said.
Developed after the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody called for improvements in legal skills, capacity and training opportunities for Indigenous people, the course has been completed by hundreds of people in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia.
“One of the interesting features of the course is that modules can be adapted from the syllabus to suit the needs of the organisation requesting it,” Calma said. “In 2008 HREOC, with funding support from the federal Attorney-General’s Department, developed one such module on family violence prevention for paralegal education workers across Australia.
NILAC — which was originally developed in 1997 as the National Indigenous Legal Studies Courses — is available to indigenous students across Australia through accredited training organisations.