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Indigenous Legal Pathways

Bilata Legal Pathways Program

The Bilata Legal Pathways Program aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people practicing law in the Northern Territory (the Law Society NT ‘Balance’ publication 2/15 reports this number as 10 of 533 practitioners, approximately 2%). Qualifications in law also open up a wide range of career pathways outside of legal practice and with more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gaining qualifications in law there will be increased benefits for our communities.

The name ‘Bilata’

Bilata (pronounced, Bee-la-ta) is the Larrakia word for a wooden spear-throwing device, also commonly known as a woomera. The Bilata was traditionally used to guide a spear along a pathway and assists with direction, speed and accuracy. It is used for many purposes and is sometimes more revered and more valued than a spear.

Program Principles

The following principles underpin the program:

  • Knowledge is shared 2 ways
  • Encourage expectations, no shame in failing
  • Pushing boundaries, being culturally safe
  • Fostering connections

Reference Group Members

The program is guided by a Reference group comprising:

  • Honourable Trevor Riley (co-chair)
  • North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency CEO, Priscilla Collins (co-chair)
  • Chief Justice Michael Grant QC
  • Chief Judge John Lowndes
  • Law Society NT CEO, Kellie Grainger
  • Charles Darwin University, Prof Ned Aughterson
  • Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Sally Sievers
  • Barrister, Mr. John Lawrence SC
  • Department of Correctional Services, Ms. Amanda Nobbs

Forms

In 2016 the program will invite participants from the following groups:

  • In partnership with schools, years 10 – 12 students (youth participants)
  • Law students studying at Charles Darwin University
  • Law students from the Northern Territory studying a law degree interstate
  • Other adult participants interested in studying law at a university level

The program will provide opportunities for 3 sets of participant categories

Youth participants will have access to:

  • program days scheduled for semester 2.
  • mentor group arrangements as arranged
  • work experience connections with law firms, and
  • other activities such as a launch and an end of year event

pdfYouth participant (high school or college student years 10 – 12)

University student participants will have access to:

  • program days scheduled for Fri 9th Dec to Sat 10th Dec (sem 2). The December program days are programmed to allow for university students from the NT studying interstate to attend (set during the university holiday period)
  • one-on-one mentoring opportunities
  • mentor group arrangements as arranged
  • internships
  • other activities such as a launch and end of year event

pdfAn Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander University student studying a Bachelor of Laws (or a University study pathway leading to satisfying the criteria for admission as a lawyer)

Adult participants will have access to:

  • program days scheduled for Friday Fri 9th Dec to Sat 10th Dec (participants from outside of Darwin are particularly encouraged to attend the Dec 2016 program days).
  • other activities such as a launch and end of year event.

pdfAn Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person interested in or passionate about potentially studying law

Testimonial

“I’ve just spoken with my daughter and I want to thank you and all involved in this amazing program and the opportunities that have been presented to our kids. My daughter was very enthusiastic about the prospects (which is rare for a teenage girl), which shows the approach and direction being utilised is spot on. It is great to see an initiative encouraging our youth to strive, but also ensuring they take the responsibility for their journey. It takes hard work and it won’t be just handed to you.”

Mother of a Youth Participant

Contact

For more information about the Bilata Legal Pathways Program contact:

James Parfitt
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone (08) 8982 5100

Please note whilst the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) is currently managing the program. We work with the Reference group and are approaching schools and other select organisations to develop formal partnerships for the program.

Office Location

Level 3, 9 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800

Mailing Address

GPO Box 2388
Darwin NT 0801

Contact

Phone: 08 8981 5104
Fax: 08 8941 1623
Email: lawsoc@lawsocietynt.asn.au

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