Friday, 1 January 2021

These resources aim to provide practical information for solicitors to effectively meet their professional obligations when providing assistance to First Nations clients.

Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients

The Law Society of NSW, in consultation with the Indigenous Issues Committee, has developed Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients: resources for solicitors in NSW

This resource is intended to support legal practitioners to meet their professional obligations as solicitors when acting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, including effective communication. The responsibilities of solicitors in assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in any legal setting are no different from those which apply in relation to non-Aboriginal people. However, there are many particular attributes of Aboriginal societies, culture and history that may be relevant to your client, which should be borne in mind in order to provide culturally safe, and therefore effective assistance. This resource provides practical advice to enable better communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. This includes verbal and non-verbal communication and includes some considerations about staying in touch and managing the relationship between meetings. 

Indigenous Protocols for Lawyers in the Northern Territory

The Law Society Northern Territory has developed the Indigenous protocols for lawyers.

Many lawyers in the NT act for and provide advice to Aboriginal people. For many lawyers, especially those who do not identify themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, those who do not have Indigenous heritage and those who are new to the Territory, communicating with Indigenous clients poses some special challenges.

The first edition of Indigenous protocols for lawyers was introduced more than 10 years ago and it continues to be a relevant and important publication and a key aid in legal practice. With the Society’s consent, the Law Society of South Australia recently adapted the first edition to provide guidance for lawyers practicing in South Australia.

The second edition provides a set of six protocols, some related discussion and tips for a legal practice that is culturally attuned to the special requirements of communicating with and representing Indigenous people. It is intended to be a guide for lawyers providing services to Indigenous people in the Northern Territory whose first language is an Australian Indigenous language. However, these protocols will be of assistance to lawyers across the country.

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