Date: 
Tuesday 1 January 2008 to Wednesday 31 December 2014

 

National Indigenous Legal Advocacy Courses

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The National Indigenous Legal Advocacy Courses (NILAC) are a series of nationally accredited training courses which aim to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the competency and skills to work in a legal environment and to understand their human rights.

The NILAC program, which replaces the National Indigenous Legal Studies Curriculum, has been developed to meet revised national accreditation standards.

An important outcome of the NILAC program is to improve the legal skills, capacity and training opportunities for Indigenous people, in response to Recommendation 212 of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Qualifications

Three qualifications can be offered to students who enrol in institutions licensed to deliver the courses:

a) Certificate III in National Indigenous Legal Advocacy: This provides students with competency in general office and administrative duties in a legal environment;

b) Certificate IV in National Indigenous Legal Advocacy: This provides students with the skills to work as Indigenous Legal Advocates or as Field Officers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services; and

c) Diploma of National Indigenous Legal Advocacy: This provides students with skills in office administration and management, and detailed knowledge of legal matters necessary to work as a Senior Field Officer or Senior Indigenous Legal Advocate in a law related workplace.

Outcomes

The courses are specifically designed to meet the needs of Aboriginal Field Officers (or Legal Advocates) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

They are also designed to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples with an interest in criminal justice issues who are:

  • employed in Indigenous community organisations;
  • employed in Government departments and agencies such as juvenile justice, corrective services or care and protection;
  • participating in Indigenous community justice mechanisms (for example, community justice panels, night patrols, circle sentencing or Aboriginal courts);
  • participating in advisory panels or agencies such as Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees or police or court liaison roles; or
  • participate in other similar roles.

The courses do not provide students with legal qualifications or enable them to dispense legal advice. Instead, they seek to improve the level of skills and knowledge training available for Indigenous peoples working in legal environments or participating in community justice mechanisms and advisory positions. They provide the opportunity to study the operation of the law from the perspective of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, aspirations and social context.

The courses recognise that Field Officers (or Legal Advocates) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services possess the skills and knowledge about local Indigenous communities which are vital to the provision of culturally appropriate legal representation. Field Officers are, however, severely restricted in the performance of their duties by the lack of legal training available to them.

The courses are intended to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by building their capacity to understand and access government services and mechanisms for the protection of their human and legal rights.

Course delivery

The courses have been developed for the vocational training sector. They can be offered by Institutes of TAFE and Indigenous community-controlled education organisations. It is envisaged that the courses will be delivered by a network of training institutions across the country, most with regional coverage and others offering the course nationally.

Education providers must obtain a licence from the Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) to deliver the courses, or individual units of competency within the courses. In order to obtain a licence, intending trainers must show that they meet a range of criteria which maintain the cultural integrity of the courses.

These include ensuring that training institutions have consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services about delivering the courses and have established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Advisory Board for the course. Information about the licensing process, and an application form to deliver courses, are available from the Commission at the website and address below.

The NILAC training courses were developed by the Indigenous Studies Product Development Unit of TAFE Queensland on behalf of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Development of the courses was primarily funded by the Commission, with substantial assistance provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Australian National Training Authority.

For further information about the courses see the following fact sheets:

Download the Fact Sheet
You can also download the National Indigenous Legal Advocacy Courses Facts Sheets in PDF or Word Format.


Additional information can be obtained by contacting:

The Director, Social Justice Unit
Australian Human Rights Commission
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001

Ph: (02) 9284 9600
Fax: (02) 9284 9849
E-mail: communications@humanrights.gov.au