NSW legal profession welcomes Walama List pilot
The Law Society of NSW has welcomed the announcement that the Walama List pilot will commence in February 2022 at the Sydney Downing Centre District Court.
President of the Law Society of NSW, Juliana Warner, said the Law Society has long supported the establishment of a Walama Court within the criminal jurisdiction of the District Court.
“The Law Society believes that the Walama List pilot is an important step towards the establishment of a Walama Court and will play a significant role in reducing re-offending by engaging Indigenous offenders with community-based programs that address the causes of offending,” Ms Warner said.
“This is crucial if we are to address the unacceptable, long-standing issue of Indigenous over-incarceration.
“It is a great tragedy that Indigenous people, who comprise approximately three per cent of the Australian population, represent 25 percent of all adults in custody.
“Our support for Indigenous community engagement in sentencing, like the Walama List pilot, is also underpinned by evidence that there are significant benefits to returning some level of ownership of, and community engagement with, this aspect of the justice system to Indigenous communities.
“The Walama List pilot has the capacity to make a significant difference to the lives of Indigenous people and have a positive and lasting impact on our criminal justice system.”
Ms Warner also acknowledged the role of Chief Judge of the District Court, Justice Derek Price AO, and her Honour Judge Dina Yehia SC, who have championed efforts to establish and fund a Walama Court.