Indigenous Peoples and Criminal Justice (LAWS6985)


This unit will focus on how the criminal law and its institutions are inextricably connected to the process of colonisation. The place of contemporary criminal justice in NSW and other States will be reviewed against the background of colonisation and introduced law. There will also be some comparison with other settler states including the US and Canada and New Zealand. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of understanding history in order to provide a context for viewing the current relationship between indigenous Australians and non-indigenous Australians involved in the criminal justice process (including police, lawyers and the judiciary). Students will analyse reasons for the over-representation of indigenous Australians in all stages of the criminal justice process. Specific areas for consideration include juvenile justice, policing and police discretion, alternative court process such as the circle sentencing, and issues around Aboriginal customary law and the extent to which it is, or should be taken into consideration.

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Further unit of study information


Jul 17, 18 & 24, 25 (9-5)


class participation/presentation (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.