Australian Institute of Criminology

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Indigenous courts

The aim of specialist Indigenous courts is to make court processes more culturally appropriate, to engender greater trust between Indigenous communities and judicial officers, and to permit a more informal and open exchange of information about defendants and their cases. Indigenous people, organisations, elders, family and kin group members are encouraged to participate in the sentencing process and to provide officials with insight into the offence, the character of victim-offender relations, and an offender's readiness to change.

The first Indigenous court to operate in Australia was at Port Adelaide in South Australia in 1999. This Nunga Court was established by the magistrate, Chris Vass, who had a long experience in the administration of western law in indigenous communities in Australia and Papua New Guinea.


Circle sentencing