Issue 1
Monday, 26 February 2018
Charles Darwin University
The law beckons: (from left) May Mooka, Erica Harvey, Ben Grimes, Kacie Winsley and Tamara Espie
The law beckons: (from left) May Mooka, Erica Harvey, Ben Grimes, Kacie Winsley and Tamara Espie

Course recognises more Indigenous lawyers needed

By Andrew Hall

Six women have graduated from a new course that aims to grow the numbers of Indigenous lawyers in the Northern Territory.

The four-week intensive Pre-Law course, run by the College of Business and Law, has been designed specifically to measure the ability of Indigenous candidates and prepare them to successfully undertake a Law degree at CDU regardless of their educational backgrounds.

Law lecturer and course coordinator Ben Grimes said: “Currently, out of the 530-plus lawyers in the Territory less than two per cent are Aboriginal.

“There is a great imbalance in these numbers, given that Indigenous people make up 30 per cent of our population.”

The Pre-Law program was born out of extensive discussions with local legal professionals, especially established Indigenous lawyers.

“Most of the participants in the course were already working in some capacity for legal services, so they were attracted to working in that area before they came to the course,” Mr Grimes said.

The course culminated earlier this month with the students giving a mock court presentation before former NT Chief Justice Trevor Riley of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.

Pre-Law student Erica Harvey said: “The most important thing I achieved from this course was gaining confidence within myself and acknowledging that I have the capacity and skills to pursue a Law degree. I learned my strengths and weaknesses from the course and that’s something I embrace.

“It was an honour to do the debate in front of Justice Riley in the Supreme Court and a great experience. I would do it all again.”