The Bilata Legal Pathways Program aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the legal profession in the Northern Territory.
In 2015 the NT Law Society ‘Balance’ publication 2/15 reported that out of the 533 practitioners, only 10 identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (approx. 2%). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise appox. 30% of the population, 0% of the judiciary and are significantly over-represtented across the justice system.
The program idea started when an employee at NAAJA had a coffee with a CDU law lecturer and discussed establishing a mentoring program. This idea was raised internally at NAAJA and Aboriginal staff with backgrounds in law talked about the need for a program to engage the community more holistically. The program was then established to cater for youth participants (high school students), university law students and other adults who may be interested in studying law.
Whilst the aim is for more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal practitioners, qualifications in law also open up a wide range of career pathways outside of legal practice. With more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gaining qualifications in law, there will be increased benefits for our communities.
The name "Bilata" is the Larrakia word for woomera and was provided by a senior Larrakia person.
The logo was designed by Kootji Raymond.