Indigenous Dispute Resolution

Indigenous dispute resolutionEffective Indigenous dispute resolution and conflict management services assist people to achieve a range of social, cultural and economic goals and improved access to justice.  However, traditional Indigenous practices have been weakened over time and mainstream services are under-utilised by, and often ineffective with, Indigenous people.

The AMA recognises that Indigenous people at the local level need to be involved in the design and delivery of dispute resolution and conflict management services directed to them, and services need to take into account Indigenous perspectives on disputes and their resolution.

Customary and western practices overlap and, although customary processes can be supported in some instances, new Indigenous-specific services and practices are required to address contemporary problems.  Mainstream agencies also need to address the barriers faced by Indigenous people in using their services.

Indigenous dispute resolution practices should take into account:

  • additional intake and preparation issues.
  • the selection of practitioner(s).
  • differing concepts of time and place.
  • attendance and representation at ADR sessions, and
  • changes to conventional processes and ground rules.

Evaluation methods and performance indicators need to take into account the complex and overlapping natures of many Indigenous disputes, and the fact that conventional methods may not provide a reliable or valid picture of effectiveness.

Promising dispute resolution and conflict management practices have and are being developed to address Indigenous needs.  The above information was originally produced  by The National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC) in their report titled “Indigenous Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management (January 2006)”.

The AMA has worked with many Indigenous communities and organisations to assist in the resolution of issue and concerns specific to our Aboriginal people, and offer these services to all Indigenous Australians.

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