Author(s): Akshaya Kamalnath
Australia introduced equity crowdfunding as a mode of financing in 2017. At the beginning of 2020, there are indications that a legal regime for social enterprises will be considered. The social enterprise movement shares some goals and ethos with the equity crowdfunding movement. This article will outline these shared goals and ethos, and argue that because of these shared goals and ethos, the legal regimes for both should be able to share infrastructure to ensure that both industries are able to develop.
Research theme: Law and Social Justice
Author(s): Faith Gordon
Serious concerns for the safety and well-being of children and young people are multiplying due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called for children’s urgent release from prison. Evidence demonstrates that incarceration can aggravate existing health conditions and result in new health issues, such as depression, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder. This paper draws on findings from a larger study involving 25 qualitative interviews with policy makers, practitioners and researchers working in youth justice and utilises Victoria in South East Australia as a case study. Victoria represents the Australian state worst affected by COVID-19 and has one of the highest levels of children and young people incarcerated. This paper recommends decarceration of children and young people, with alternatives built around principles of a public health model. It argues that this holistic approach can promote children’s rights and crucially attend to the physical and emotional well-being of children and young people, compared with the current arrangements.
Co-authors: Faith Gordon, Hannah Klose and Michelle Lyttle Storrod.
Author(s): Jessica Hambly
There is ongoing concern that Britain’s courts are places that are overwhelming, disorientating and confusing for court users. Asylum seekers are some of the most marginalised people in society and existing research highlights the difficulties they face in disclosing evidence throughout the legal process. Without an accessible process, appellants may be unable or unwilling to speak and participate in their appeal, and therefore important pieces of evidence may not be considered and justice may not be served. Although a lot of attention has been paid to asylum law by academics and policy makers alike, its day to day implementation often escapes critical academic scrutiny. This is arguably because relatively few non-legal scholars study the law, meaning that most analysis is focussed on substantive and doctrinal legal issues rather than questions of process, implementation and experience. It is also extremely time consuming to observe a sufficient number of hearings to be able to draw general conclusions about day to day issues.
Our project adopts an inter-disciplinary perspective on the day to day workings of asylum law within the UK’s asylum appeal hearings. In the following sections we report on a project which examined what happens during asylum appeals by closely observing them from the public areas of hearing rooms. Our observations ran from 2013 to 2019. We complement the perspective our observations offer with interview evidence from appellants as well as others involved in the process.
Co-authors: Nick Gill, Jennifer Allsopp, Andrew Burridge, Daniel Fisher, Melanie Griffiths, Jessica Hambly, Jo Hynes, Natalia Paszkiewicz, Rebecca Rotter and Amanda Schmid-Scott.
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
This research and evaluation report undertaken by Dr Liz Curran of the Australian National University (pro bono) looks at research over the two years of the life of a family violence project (with base line data collected in a First Phase Report in November 217) examining a Secondary Consultation (SC) service integrated with Training and Outreach program as well as capacity for strategic advocacy.
The Consumer Action Law Centre project (with part funding from the Victorian Department of Justice & Regulation) aims to overcome barriers for people experiencing family violence identified in previous studies. The research findings (detailed in this report) are that legal assistance services, such as this one of the Consumer Action Law Centre, working with trusted community professionals (to whom people experiencing family violence are likely to turn) if done in a holistic, integrated and seamless, respectful way can enable credit & debt legal issues to be addressed in a timely, creative and effective way. It does this by breaking down barriers that exist to those needing legal help. The report provides some universal insights into the plight and impacts of family violence and ways for effective service delivery without ignoring the challenges for both individuals and a variety of services in providing critical support for victim/survivors of family violence and their family.
The relationship between corporate law and corporate practice is complex. So too is the relationship between the different types of corporate law rules — from primary and delegated legislation, through listing rules and ASIC orders to corporate constitutions. Corporate lawyers tend to respond to this complexity and diversity by implicit understanding than by conceptual framework. This article offers one way of conceptualising the complexity of corporate law rules and their relationship to corporate practice. Drawing on Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ influential 1987 article ‘Law: A Map of Misreading. Toward a Postmodern Conception of Law’, the article looks to cartography as an unexpected source of ideas to assist in understanding the shape of modern corporate law rules.
Author(s): Jeremy Farrall
This article reassesses how members of the UN Security Council exercise influence over the Council’s decision-making process, with particular focus on the ten elected members (the ‘E10’). A common understanding of Security Council dynamics accords predominance to the five permanent members (the ‘P5’), suggesting bleak prospects for the Council as a forum that promotes the voices and representation of the 188 non-permanent members. The assumption is that real power rests with the P5, while the E10 are there to make up the numbers. By articulating a richer account of Council dynamics, this article contests the conventional wisdom that P5 centrality crowds out space for the E10 to influence Council decision-making. It also shows that opportunities for influencing Council decision-making go beyond stints of elected membership. It argues that the assumed centrality of the P5 on the Council thus needs to be qualified and re-evaluated.
Author(s): Stephen Bottomley
Recent concerns about the need for improved corporate accountability raise questions about the role of shareholders in corporate governance. One aspect of these discussions is the capacity of shareholders in general meetings to propose non-binding advisory resolutions concerning governance or social matters. Since Automatic Self-Cleansing Filter Syndicate Co Ltd v Cuninghame in 1906, courts have held that if a company’s constitution gives directors the power of company management, shareholders cannot interfere with the exercise of that power. The Federal Court affirmed this in Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility v Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This paper re-examines the case law, particularly in its application to advisory resolutions, and recommends the introduction of a broad statutory authority for non-binding advisory resolutions. The paper argues that this is an important step towards improved corporate accountability and responsible shareholder engagement.
Author(s): Kate Ogg
Australia sends many of those who come in search of refuge to regional processing centers in Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Most of these asylum seekers and refugees want to continue their journey to Australia but the Australian Government has vowed that none will be given protection in Australian territory. However, there have been recent developments in the Federal Parliament and Federal Court that have paved the way for certain asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru and Manus Island to come to Australia. In this chapter, I investigate these legislative and judicial developments and argue that they indicate that the place of human rights and international law is becoming increasingly peripheral in Australia’s refugee law and policy and instead transfers to Australia have become medicalized. Australia’s parliamentarians and courts have moved to protect asylum seekers’ physical and mental health but not the rights flowing to them as people, children, and refugees. Asylum seekers and refugees must be moribund before they can use legal processes to transfer to Australia and they come as sick people in need of medical care—not as bearers of legal rights. These developments hamper larger efforts to end or fundamentally reform Australia’s offshore processing regime.
New Directions in Article 1D Jurisprudence: Greater Barriers for Palestinian Refugees Seeking the Benefits of the Refugee Convention
Author(s): Kate Ogg
This chapter investigates new issues that have arisen in relation to article 1D of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), resulting from decisions by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal (NZIPT). These judgments break away from earlier article 1D jurisprudence but there has been little analysis of the alternative approaches adopted. In theory, these precedents provide greater opportunities for Palestinian refugees to obtain the benefits of the Refugee Convention but in fact threaten the principle of continuity of international protection for Palestinian refugees. This is because the judgments adopt a skewed and narrow understanding of the meaning of ‘protection or assistance’ in article 1D and impose an evidentiary paradox by necessitating that Palestinian refugees prove that their decision to flee was involuntary. Further, the CJEU’s approach favours those who have heroic or intrepid narratives and this can serve to disadvantage Palestinian women and girls. Consequently, these decisions create additional and often-insurmountable barriers to Palestinian refugees seeking the benefits of the Refugee Convention not supported by article 1D’s ordinary meaning or the Refugee Convention’s object and purpose.
Martyrdom, Antinomianism, and the Prioritising of Christians - Towards a Political Theology of Refugee Resettlement
Author(s): Matthew Zagor
This article considers the approaches taken in the United States (US) and Australia to prioritising the resettlement of Christians from Syria and Iraq. Focusing ﬁrst upon respective models and the immediate political factors that lead to their adoption, it analyses in depth the speciﬁc role played by the evangelical constituency in the US, and their theologically-infused concern for the “persecuted church” in “enslaved” lands. Recognising this movement enjoys less inﬂuence in Australia, the article considers the ways in which Australia’s resettlement policies and political narratives have nonetheless increasingly participated in tropes familiar to classical antinomian political theology, not least that resettlement is tied to a redemptive generosity of the State that works to denigrate and undermine the legal obligations demanded by those who arrive irregularly by boat. The article also critiques the use of “vulnerability” as a touchstone principle for the fair allocation of scarce resettlement places, and its propensity to be used for cherry-picking purposes. Finally, as part of the argument that resettlement is susceptible to being used as a vehicle for those motivated by more explicit theological concerns, the article explores the leveraging for political, redemptive, and eschatological purposes of images and narratives of the “martyred” middle-eastern Christian.
Overcoming the Invisible Hurdles to Justice for Young People the Final Research and Evaluation Report of the Invisible Hurdles Project: Integrated Justice Practice - Towards Better Outcomes for Young People Experiencing Family Violence in North East Victo
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
The three-year “Invisible Hurdles Project” was trialled in southern NSW and northern Victoria and successfully broke down intractable mistrust of lawyers and provided legal help to people who usually can’t be reached.
The pilot saw lawyers embed themselves into youth, health and other services reaching 101 people with 198 legal matters which may not have come to light otherwise.
Associate Professor Liz Curran, led the research and evaluation of the project with Pamela Taylor-Barnett assisting - both of ANU School of Legal Practice.
The pilot saw the Hume Riverina Community Legal Service (HRCLS) provided lawyers free of charge who embedded themselves into three partner organisations: The Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS), a school for vulnerable young people, Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre and North East Support and Action for Youth (NESAY).
The report makes many findings and recommendations including The data revealed that non-legal staff responding to clients were also initially distrustful of the lawyers, but now find them a responsive ally which has boosted their capacity to respond effectively. It’s had the knock-on effect of reducing stress and anxiety in themselves and their clients. It can inform other models, policy and funding frameworks as well as future service delivery in multi-disciplinary practices including, health justice partnerships.
Equal Consideration and Informed Imagining: Recognising and Responding to the Lived Experiences of Abused Women Who Kill
Author(s): Anthony Hopkins
Equality is a fundamental concern of human existence. Expressed in the principle of equality before the law it requires that those who come before the law are entitled to be treated as being of equal value and to be given ‘equal consideration’. In circumstances where those who come before the law are marked by their differences, giving of equal consideration requires that difference be understood and taken into account. The identification of difference does not of itself determine the question of whether different treatment is warranted in the interests of equality. However, this article argues that understanding difference is a precondition for the promotion of true equality and that, in pursuit of understanding difference, it is necessary for us to acknowledge the limitations of our capacity to understand the lived experience of ‘others’ and to actively work to engage with these experiences. In the context of the criminal justice system, we over abused women who kill as illustrative of this need, focusing upon the availability and operation of self-defence in England/Wales, Queensland and Victoria. In doing so, we consider the capacity of the law, legal process and legal actors to engage with the lived experiences of these women, highlighting the im portance of ‘informed imagining’.
Author(s): Molly Townes O'Brien
To combat the complex problem of world poverty, the United Nations General Assembly set out eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but as poverty decreases, energy consumption and pollution increase. Largely due to this complication, the MDGs were replaced in September 2015 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include new priorities such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, and peace and justice. Successful development involves more than avoiding poverty. To achieve the sustainable development goals, we have to know what they are and why they were introduced. We need to teach them to our students, who will carry the goals into their future work places.
First Research and Evaluation Report Phase One Consumer Action Law Centre Project – Responding Effectively to Family Violence Dimensions of Debt and Credit Through Secondary Consultations & Training with Community Professionals
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
The Report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised that the family violence victim’s financial security impacts on their wellbeing. Beyond the role of the perpetrator of violence, many problems interact in relation to family violence related debt: 1. The considerable difficulties victims face in asserting and enforcing their financial rights alone; 2. A systemic failure by financial and utility service providers “to understand, identify and respond to economic abuse”; and 3. Inadequate legal and regulatory protections. This Research and Evaluation Report Phase One, evaluates whether the aim of this project to provide a Secondary Consultation (SC) service integrated with Consumer Action’s Training and Outreach program providing training, resources and support to community workers (‘community professionals’) to overcome barriers identified in previous studies by working with trusted community professionals to whom people experiencing family violence are likely to turn to enable their credit & debt legal issues is being addressed in a timely and effective way. The data discussed and analysed for this report including the proxies or benchmarks, set for this research evaluation are being achieved namely engagement, capacity, collaboration and empowerment however there are still some areas for improvement, which is only natural when this project is in its infancy and the issues as the Royal Commission highlights are so vexed and complex. The in-depth interviews reflect that trust and reliability are critical in gaining secondary consultations and referrals. The former being identified (as in other studies ) as critical if the latter are to flow. The qualitative data suggests that Consumer Action is starting to build trust and relationships but there are notes of warning from the interview participants about a need for clarity around the extent and resources and types of matters Consumer Action can assist with and offer support on. This the research participants 5/6 noted can also give them confidence and greater certainty as they support their clients through family violence and debt and credit related issues. The research data consistently highlights the value of secondary consultations (5 out of 6 of the participants strongly agree to its value) in providing efficient, effective and responsive timely secondary consultation to community professionals especially where clients may: not be emotionally ready to see a lawyer, have too many issues weighing on them, or have had poor experiences of lawyers. The latter is consistent with other research but seems to be addressed, as the participants noted in the in-depth interviews with the style of community lawyering that is approachable and practical and considers context. Consumer Action has delivered training sessions which double the number which the funding requires. This is a critical part of building the awareness not only of the service but of the range or problems capable of a legal solution, building trust and relationships and capacity to respond of agencies and other community professionals into the future beyond the extensive reach that Consumer Action already has, to financial counsellors. Noted by all interview participants was that secondary consultations are invaluable as they build trust, provide a form of instant on the spot training, especially for professionals and their clients in rural locations, which are being used to extend the reach of Consumer Action to clients beyond those for whom the initial consultation is sought as the information has wider utility. It can be timely and there is no intake process that for other services can present barriers.
For reasons of effectiveness, efficiency and equity, Australian law reform should be planned carefully. Academics can and should take the lead in this process. This book collects over 50 discrete law reform recommendations, encapsulated in short, digestible essays written by leading Australian scholars. It emerges from a major conference held at The Australian National University in 2016, which featured intensive discussion among participants from government, practice and the academy. The book is intended to serve as a national focal point for Australian legal innovation. It is divided into six main parts: commercial and corporate law, criminal law and evidence, environmental law, private law, public law, and legal practice and legal education. In addition, Indigenous perspectives on law reform are embedded throughout each part. This collective work—the first of its kind—will be of value to policy makers, media, law reform agencies, academics, practitioners and the judiciary. It provides a bird’s eye view of the current state and the future of law reform in Australia.
Research theme: Law and Social Justice
'Envisioning Student Learning in a Multi-Disciplinary Student Clinic Future Practitioners Learning About Working Collaboratively Across Disciplines to Better Help Community’ (Presentation Slides)
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
In this paper, the author examines the imperative for interdisciplinary student clinics where law, nursing, social work and other disciplines work together in joint classes at undergraduate levels to learn collaborative and client skills to overcome barriers and professional stereotypes that impede the solving of clients problems holistically. Then they can work towards delivering a real life advice clinic to clients in most need and undertake systemic reforms to avert problems.
The paper defines interdisciplinary student clinics and multi-disciplinary practice given the nomenclature in literature is contradictory and confusing.
The presenter’s research and practical experience as a clinical legal education supervising solicitor within a health service has led to the idea for the development of an interdisciplinary student clinic as an important way of building better and more responsive future practitioners in health, law and allied health disciplines.
The paper outlines some initiatives undertaken by law students under her supervision that could if further developed be done in collaboration and co-cooperatively alongside other colleagues in different fields and in student learning to ensure respectful and reciprocal learning. It can also lead to an appreciation of different professional roles and differing ethical obligations. In this paper, the author identifies why there is a need for such an approach to break down barriers between professionals to improve social justice and health outcomes based on her recent empirical research.
She will explore research and new approaches to lawyering and health services provision that works across silos to enable more seamless navigable service options for real life clients of the clinic and new approaches in a work place.
The author has been asked to advise (pro bono) on the establishment of such an innovative clinic at Portsmouth University in the UK for nursing, law and social work students.
This initiative by way of a pilot aims to see work across academic disciplines and with clinical supervisors from different fields designing and teaching together in such a IDSC.
The author notes that a further paper is being developed in collaboration with the Head of Law and Head of Nursing at Portsmouth University that explores these issues in more details.
An Interdisciplinary Student Clinic at University of Portsmouth (UoP): Future Practitioners Working Collaboratively to Improve Health and Wellbeing of Clients (Presentation Slides)
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
Our paper fits into all the themes ● The clinician and community needs ● The clinician and research into the impact of clinic ● The clinician and academic identity ● The clinician and curriculum and student learning
This paper examines the value in students, academics and clinical supervisors learning and working together across different disciplines through an interdisciplinary student clinic (IDSC) to deliver legal and public health education to people who experience social exclusion by reason of vulnerability or disadvantage (including poverty)– the ‘Health Justice Partnership Student Clinic’.
This paper situates the discussion firstly within the context of author one’s research on multi-disciplinary practices (MDP) including Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) which have led to this decision at University of Portsmouth to set up a IDSC. MDP in this context is where a number of professionals work together in a practice to assist the client using their different skills but in the one place and setting. One subset of an MDP is the HJP which sees lawyers working alongside nursing and allied health professionals to reach clients with a range of problems capable of legal solutions e.g. debt, family violence, poor housing, consumer issues, care and protection, human rights, access to services. It is about going to where people in need of help are likely to turn.
This paper firstly identifies the evidence-based research that has led the authors to see the need, not just for multi-disciplinary practices in a service context but also interdisciplinary practice and teaching opportunities through clinical learning that brings greater collaboration for students, supervisors and academics across the professional divide to improve outcomes for clients. The authors see a critical need in universities to better prepare the emerging professionals to learn about collaboration with other disciplines and demonstrate influence and impact in the wider community. Author one’s empirical research into effective practice also suggests that such collaboration leads to better outcomes for clients and patients especially those experience some form of vulnerability or disadvantage.
Secondly, as there is some literature on IDP and IDSC, (mainly from the United States and Australia) this paper will explore other models, the reasons and rationales for their emergence and the benefits and challenges and how this has informed the development other new pilot IDSC at the University of Portsmouth. The paper then discusses why the IDSC has emerged as an important way of building better and more responsive future practitioners in nursing, law and allied health disciplines.
The paper also discusses aims of the three-year University of Portsmouth pilot IDSC and the joint learning opportunities for students of different disciplines, their supervisors and across departments which are envisioned so as to break down barriers between professionals, enable future practitioners to collaborate across different fields and thereby improve social justice and health outcomes for clients and community. These include fostering and increasing understanding and respect for different professional roles and approaches, breaking down stereotypes, enhancing student employability and working together to better reach and meet client/patient needs by being more responsive to legal and public health needs.
The proposed trial IDSC HJP student clinic course will teach new approaches to students studying nursing, dentistry and law in a joint learning environment that includes problem solving, relationship-building, communication and collaboration skills in a clinic which will provide live client legal and public health advice. It will discuss how this is being undertaken and the challenges and approach of the course and its curriculum.
The paper finally discusses the embedded evaluation of the pilot study. It is embedded as the authors are keen to enable good practice, share lessons learned and inform replicable models in other university settings. The embedded evaluation being undertaken will inform as to the projects impact on students, academic staff, partner agencies and clients.
A Research and Evaluation Report for the Bendigo Health–Justice Partnership: A Partnership between Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre and Bendigo Community Health Services
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
The Bendigo HJP Research and Evaluation (HJPRAE) was undertaken over three years with an evaluative process embedded in the service from service start-up. At the time it was challenging research as it examines impact and grappled with the internationally renowned challenge of measuring the social determinants of health.
Qualitative and quantitative data have been collected using multiple tools and specific questions.
Findings: 1. The clients of the HJP are complex and more often than not have more than one legal problem and a multitude of other health and social welfare problems. They often feel judged and lack trust in services. They will seek help when they feel they are not judged, where they are respected and where there is service responsiveness. Appointments are problematic – time and place can be critical to engagement, especially for people who have experiences of trauma or negative previous experiences of the legal system. 2. During its life, the Bendigo HJP has provided a significant amount of legal service to clients on a range of matters, often where one client has a significant number of legal issues. The clients’ lives are complicated and building trust takes time. Given the project has only one lawyer co-located at the HJP, the number of clients and client problems tackled is significant in view of the limited staff, funding and resources. 3. The Bendigo HJP is reaching clients who would otherwise not have sought legal help. The role of their trusted health or allied health professional in facilitating that reach has been overwhelmingly critical – 90% of clients interviewed in the HJPRAE said that without the HJP they would not have sought legal help. 4. Clients who have multiple and complex problems reported they were anxious and frightened as they did not know their rights/position. They reported this impacted on their health and wellbeing. The effectiveness and quality of the HJP service and its impact as reported by health/allied health professionals delivered the following relevant responses: • confidence in engaging with services in clients to have increased by 90.9% • knowledge of rights and responsibilities in clients to have increased by 72.7% • knowledge of options and more skilled over time in clients to have increased by 90.9%. 5. The capacity of professionals, due to the HJP, to respond to legal issues with confidence has increased; that is, they have become ‘empowered’.
General Application to Other Replicable Models of HJP Clients turn to ‘trusted’ health/allied health professionals but may not turn to lawyers without the facilitation and transferral of trust. Some clients will not turn to a lawyer as they are not emotionally ready (e.g., due to trauma, fragility, fear) and so the health/allied health professional that they trust becomes an important intermediary for them to gain legal help and information at salient times. A service which is a HJP needs to be ‘opportunistic’ in taking advantage of clients’ health appointments to provide legal assistance – due to complexities of their lives and confusion, lack of confidence and being overwhelmed etc. The capacity of professionals, both lawyers and non-lawyers, as well as client service staff, is key/critical to being able to support clients in a timely way, when in crisis or ready for help. Legal Secondary Consultations (LSCs) ‘are pivotal’; ‘it would not work if we did not have LSCs’. A significant majority of research participants noted that the LSC enables quick, efficient and targeted building of knowledge which can ‘save time’ in the long run. The type of lawyer used has been critical to the success of the Bendigo HJP and should be considered when hiring and recruiting staff. Lawyers can’t ‘just sit in their office’ but need to interact, integrate, not be ‘too stuffy’ or ‘too hierarchical’, ‘avoid jargon’ and show ‘respect’. The type of person used in the role is key to the HJP’s success. Trust and relationships take time to demonstrate an impact and their effectiveness as they are predicated on relationships, human experience, confidence and positive interactions and cannot be driven by a ‘top down’ approach.
Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
This is a report of the Consumer Action Law Centre. Dr Liz Curran was an adviser on the project.
The focus of this evaluation sits within a quality framework of continuous development, reflection and improvement of that service.This evaluation report and the quality framework recognises the extent of unmet legal need in Victoria and the critical role non-legal agencies can play in helping meet that need.
In addition to providing free legal assistance to individuals, Consumer Action Law
Centre (CALC) provides legal secondary consultations (LSC) to Victorian financial counsellors and other community workers through a dedicated telephone legal advice service.
Legal Secondary Consultations (LSC) are defined as where a lawyer offers a non-legal professional (such as a doctor, nurse, youth worker, social worker or financial counsellor) legal advice or information on legal processes (such as what happens at court, and how to give evidence or structure reports for a court to provide the required considerations), or on their professional and ethical obligations, or guides the non-legal professional through tricky situations involving their client or their work for clients. Critically, LSCs can build capacity in non-legal professionals likely to come into contact with the most challenging problems, so as to be able to identify or quickly verify that a problem is capable of a legal solution.
This orientation towards collaborative, holistic and joined-up service delivery is reflected in CALC’s current strategic plan, which includes actions to explore relationships with other community support agencies and catalyse new approaches to meeting unmet need and ‘hard-to-reach’ communities.
Dr Curran was adviser on the project and the report and data collection was undertaken by the Consumer Action Law Centre who have given the author permission to place the report on SSRN, so as to share with others how LSC can enable non-legal professional support, enhance multi-disciplinary practice and reach more clients who are currently excluded from gaining legal help for due to a number of barriers.
Author(s): Anthony Hopkins
Indigenous offenders are heavily over-represented in the Australian and Canadian criminal justice systems. In the case of R v Gladue, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sentencing judges are to recognise the adverse systemic and background factors that many Aboriginal Canadians face and consider all reasonable alternatives to imprisonment in light of this. In R v Ipeelee, the Court reiterated the need to fully acknowledge the oppressive environment faced by Aboriginal Canadians throughout their lives and the importance of sentencing courts applying appropriate sentencing options. In 2013, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Bugmy v The Queen. The Court affirmed that deprivation is a relevant consideration and worthy of mitigation in sentencing. However, the Court refused to accept that judicial notice should be taken of the systemic background of deprivation of many Indigenous offenders. The High Court also fell short of applying the Canadian principle that sentencing should promote restorative sentences for Indigenous offenders, given this oft-present deprivation and their over-representation in prison. In this article, we argue that Bugmy v The Queen represents a missed opportunity by the High Court to grapple with the complex interrelationship between individualised justice and Indigenous circumstances in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders.