This unit (LLW2009) examines indigenous people of Australia and their culture in the context of historical and contemporary Australian law and society. The unit examines laws and policies concerning indigenous identity, including recognition of rights under the Australian Constitution and rights, native title, and customary law are examined, from both a historical perspective, and a present one. Particular focus is given to territorial issues, equality and the interaction of indigenous people with the criminal justice system and international law and comparative perspectives. Some comparisons are made of other Indigenous peoples, including Canada, the Nordic countries and New Zealand. The unit also considers law reform in the areas of human rights, the criminal justice system, issues of self-determination, and reconciliation.

Unit details

Online Real Time
Study level:
Credit points:
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse and apply knowledge and understanding of the common law, constitutional and statutory framework as it currently applies to indigenous Australians.  
  2. Examine and assess human rights issues that have historically and in more recent times affected indigenous Australians in order to formulate appropriate legal responses;  
  3. Communicate effectively, on multifaceted issues affecting indigenous Australians and by comparing the approaches taken in overseas jurisdictions such as Canada and New Zealand and Norway.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Dissertation Quiz - 10 Multiple Choice Questions. 10%
Assignment Essay on a contemporary or past legal issue 40%
Examination Final Examination 50%

Required reading

Indigenous Legal Relations in Australia 2nd edn
Behrendt et al, 2019
Oxford University Press

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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