The purpose of the project is to investigate how the establishment of Indigenous courts – where Elders preside with judicial officers, bringing their cultural knowledge to bear on sentencing – has been a major justice system reform. This timely oral history, recording the experiences of key stakeholders, will demonstrate how the justice system can respond to cultural needs while preserving principles of fairness in sentencing. This legacy project will creatively document a critical turning point in Aboriginal self-determination.
The project will record the creation of an innovative culturally appropriate response to the over-representation of Indigenous people in custody. It will also document the turning point in Aboriginal, legal and Australian history, and a showcase of an inclusive justice system.
A major outcome of the research will be a touring exhibition including video interviews with Elders and significant key players involved in the establishment and expansion of the Koori courts in Victoria.
The SZCC is working in partnership with the Koori Unit at Court Services Victoria on this multi-disciplinary project. It will involve young Aboriginal scholars meeting and interviewing Elders and respected persons about the establishment of, and the significant moments in, the history of the Koori courts.