Indigenous People, Issues and The Law

Course code LAWS5024
Available in 2016
2015 Course Timetables


Deals with the laws and legal issues relating to and effecting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia (Indigenous peoples of Australia) from colonisation to the modern day.



  • Semester 1 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

1. To understand particular issues faced by Indigenous peoples and to sensitise students to these issues.

2. To equip students with knowledge and understanding of the laws that govern the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the legal system, including such issues as self-determination, citizenship and sovereignty.

3. To critically examine the impact of government policies and laws on Indigenous peoples.

4. To explore notions of social justice, restorative justice and reconciliation for Indigenous peoples in contemporary legal systems.

5. To analyse and critique polices and laws affecting Indigenous peoples from a socio-legal perspective.


The topics to be covered include:

  1. Legal encounters:
  • Pre-contact Indigenous society and laws, the impact of colonisation and post-contact history
  • Government polices
  • customary law
  1. Race theory: Race, crime and welfare, with reference to children and Aboriginal deaths in custody;
  2. Land and other property: Land Rights, Native title; and examples of land returns and acquisitions post-Mabo.
  3. Unfinished business: criminal justice issues; self determination and citizenship issues (eg. reconciliation, treaty, constitutional recognition)


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed Knowledge

LAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A and LAWS3004B

Assessment Items

Presentation: Presentations - Individual

Participation: Group/tutorial participation and contribution

Written Assignment: Essays / Written Assignments

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term