The Law Society of NSW Reconciliation Action Plan
The Law Society of NSW has served the legal profession and the community of New South Wales for over 125 years. The Society is dedicated to working for a just and fair legal system.
The Society acknowledges the traditional owners of the lands across New South Wales. The Law Society particularly acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, traditional owners of the land on which the Law Society is built. The Law Society pays its respects to Elders past and present.
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The Society acknowledges that there is an unacceptable gap in life expectancy between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia and other Australians. We believe that closing the gap is of critical importance both for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and for the well-being of our nation. Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians is both necessary for closing the gap and for the well-being of Australia as a nation.
Having regard to our mission and vision, we have developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Our RAP is a two year program, and is a product of extensive and in-depth consultation with Reconciliation Australia and key Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders. We are grateful to the many people who have generously shared their time and expertise with us throughout this process.
Our RAP makes a strong commitment to building respect and relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. We have also committed to improving the opportunities available to Indigenous peoples. The Law Society's RAP will be a living document that evolves with our experiences and understanding.
The Law Society’s RAP constitutes a formal program to develop policy, and to create and implement programs within our sphere of influence.
Our focus will include:
- supporting Indigenous lawyers and improving the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyers in the legal profession;
- protecting and promoting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW;
- addressing the legal needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in NSW by supporting those who provide legal services to Indigenous clients and by engaging with relevant law reform issues;
- developing partnerships and initiatives to address needs identified where appropriate;
- raising awareness of the complexity and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture; and
- countering existing misunderstandings and misinformation.
A copy of the Society’s 2012-2014 RAP can be found here.
Our key committments are:
- Provide financial and in-kind support to Ngalaya Aboriginal Corporation, the NSW Indigenous Lawyers and Law Students Association. The Society recognises the depth of expertise that Ngalaya’s membership represents and determined that providing support to Ngalaya to assist with its operational functionality would further our mutual aim of improving the representation of Indigenous peoples in the legal profession. Ngalaya is now housed in the Law Society building.
- Establish an Indigenous Issues standing policy Committee. This Committee was established in 2012 and is already considering law reform and policy development in relation to issues that affect Indigenous peoples and the legal profession in NSW.
- Establish an Indigenous Solicitors Trust as a tangible symbol of the Society’s commitment to reconciliation that will allow our members to show their support. Indigenous law students and young lawyers will be able to apply to the trust to assist the advancement of their studies and careers.
- Develop the capacity of Indigenous support staff. The Society aims to address the need for alternative pathways into the legal profession by exploring ways in which it can provide better opportunities for Aboriginal peoples through the Society’s existing Legal Support Training Program.
- Develop and adopt a protocol for Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country. The Society has adopted a Protocol for Welcome to and Acknowledgment of Country. By doing so, the Society recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have an ongoing relationship with, and obligations to, traditional lands and waters. Country remains integral to Aboriginal law, identity, culture and well-being, and a Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country remains an essential practice. A copy of the Protocol can be found here. The Society welcomes the adoption of this Protocol, (or of an appropriately modified version of the protocol), by its members.
If you have any questions or comments about the Law Society’s RAP, please contact Vicky Kuek on 9926 0354 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Vicky Kuek
- Policy Lawyer
- Law Society of NSW
- 170 Phillip Street
- Sydney NSW 2000
- T: (02) 9926 0354
- E: email@example.com
- NSW Reconciliation Council
- The Australian Human Rights Commission's Community Guide to the UN Declaration on the RIghts of Indigenous Peoples
- Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation
- NSW Government Small Business NSW Success Stories
- Indigenous Business Australia
- Stolen Generation Fact Sheet
- Stolen Wages Fact Sheet
- Contact 2011 - walk & talk with traditional owners