Indigenous Barristers & Law Students
The Victorian Bar recognises that Indigenous Australians, their cultures and experiences, have an important part to play in the legal profession. The first Indigenous barrister at the Victorian Bar was Professor Mick Dodson AM, 2009 Australian of the Year, who signed the Bar Roll in 1981 and has spent his career campaigning to improve the lives of Indigenous people.
Victorian Bar Reconciliation Action Plan
Click here to read about the Victorian Bar Reconciliation Action Plan.
A list of Indigenous barristers currently practising is shown below.
Our programs to attract and retain Indigenous barristers, as well as to generally increase the participation of Indigenous Australians in the legal profession, include initiatives such as:
- the LIV / Victorian Bar Indigenous Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy
- the Summer Clerkship Program for Indigenous law students
- the Indigenous law students and graduates mentoring program
- the Indigenous Barristers Fund
- access to the Bar Reader's Course
- subsidised chambers for Indigenous barristers
Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy - Indigenous Barristers
The LIV and Victorian Bar have a joint policy to promote genuine consideration to briefing of Indigenous barristers.
The Indigenous Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy has been developed in cooperation with Indigenous members of the Victorian Bar. The briefing of Indigenous barristers will assist present and future Indigenous Australians to participate in the legal profession.
The Briefing Policy is available here.
Indigenous clerkship program
The Victorian Bar conducts a clerkship program for Indigenous law students on an annual basis each February / March (depending on student availability). The 3 students selected for this program obtain a total of 3 weeks paid work experience at the Bar, the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Federal Court of Australia. Applications for the 2013 clerkship close on 23 November 2012. Applications can be found here.
Indigenous barristers and law students mentoring program
The Bar organises a legal mentoring program that is open to Indigenous law students or graduates. Each participant is linked up with a barrister and a Judge (Supreme Court, Federal Court or County Court) to facilitate long term career assistance.
To join this program, please complete this expression of interest form.
Work experience opportunities for Indigenous secondary school students with barristers
If you are an Indigenous secondary school student in Year 9 onwards and would like to do work experience for five days with a barrister, this offer may be of interest to you and your school. If you are interested please complete and submit this form.
Indigenous Barristers Fund
Necessitous circumstances fund for Indigenous Barristers
The Victorian Bar Council established the Indigenous Barristers' Fund as a major initiative of, and an expression of its commitment to, assist Indigenous barristers in needy financial circumstances remain in legal practice at the Bar. The purpose of the trust under which the Fund is established is "the relief of Indigenous persons where necessitous circumstances constitute an obstacle to them being able to practise at the Victorian Bar".
The Fund has been in operation since 2007. On-going support for the Fund is sought from barristers and other members of the legal profession, as well as from foundations and corporations, in order to meet the demands on the Fund as the number of Indigenous barristers in Victoria continues to grow. Please note that donations to the Fund are tax deductible.
The Indigenous Barristers Fund brochure and donation form is available here.
Indigenous Barristers’ Development Fund
In 2012, the ILC received a grant from the Victorian Bar Foundation of $10,000pa for 3 years for the Indigenous Barristers' Development Fund. The Development Fund aims to provide funds to Indigenous barristers to engage in professional development activities to enhance their networks and skills in order to progress their careers as barristers at the Victorian Bar. The Guidelines and Application Form for grants from the Development Fund are available here.
Subsidised chambers for Indigenous barristers policy
This policy is intended to assist Indigenous barristers financially during the start-up phase of their professional careers.
The subsidised chambers policy is available here.
Access to Bar Reader's Course
The ILC seeks to assist Indigenous lawyers who wish to come to the Bar. The Bar waives the course fee for an Indigenous Bar Reader. For general information for all persons wishing to come to the Bar please click here. To enquire about coming to the Bar, please contact Wendy Pollock, Co-ordinator, Professional Development or Daniel Star, the Chair of the Indigenous Lawyer Committee.
A list of members of the Bar's Indigenous Law Committe is shown below.