The Civil and Family Law Needs of Indigenous People Forty Years after Sackville: The Findings of the Indigenous Legal Needs Project

Durbach, A., Edgeworth, B. & Sentas, V. (eds), Law and Poverty: 40 years after the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, Federation Press: Sydney, pp.231-248

19 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2018

See all articles by Fiona Allison

Fiona Allison

James Cook University - Cairns Campus

Chris Cunneen

Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research,University of Technology Sydney; University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences; James Cook University - Cairns Campus

Melanie Schwartz

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Date Written: January 31, 2017

Abstract

There has been a great deal of focus on the criminal law needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in the context of the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. Less attention has been paid to the civil and family law needs of Indigenous people. This paper will report on the findings of extensive research that has been conducted over several years across Australia which set out to examine the priority areas of civil and family law needs and issues of access to justice for Indigenous people. The research was funded by the ARC and conducted with partners from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions.

While there are substantial problems of unmet need across the broad range of civil and family law, the research identifies the areas of housing; discrimination; credit, debt and consumer; social security and child protection as priority areas. Other key findings include the complexity of Indigenous legal needs, and the way various legal problems intersect and escalate for Indigenous people. Many of these problems are exacerbated by social and economic disadvantage, and highly restricted access to legal advice and legal services. The paper identifies a range of areas where access to justice can be improved.

Keywords: indigenous peoples, access to justice, civil law, family law

Suggested Citation

Allison, Fiona and Cunneen, Chris and Schwartz, Melanie, The Civil and Family Law Needs of Indigenous People Forty Years after Sackville: The Findings of the Indigenous Legal Needs Project (January 31, 2017). Durbach, A., Edgeworth, B. & Sentas, V. (eds), Law and Poverty: 40 years after the Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, Federation Press: Sydney, pp.231-248. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3093723

Fiona Allison

James Cook University - Cairns Campus ( email )

Cairns, Queensland 4870
Australia

Chris Cunneen (Contact Author)

Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research,University of Technology Sydney ( email )

15 Broadway, Ultimo
PO Box 123
Sydney, NSW 2007
Australia

University of New South Wales, School of Social Sciences ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

James Cook University - Cairns Campus ( email )

PO Box 6811
Cairns, Queensland 4870
Australia

Melanie Schwartz

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
24
Abstract Views
138
PlumX Metrics