Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course will explore the history of law and contemporary legal issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the legal realm. Students will explore the principles underlying a history of British colonial law in Australia as an integral component of invasion. The course examines several legal cases, the doctrine of terra nullius, summary justice, and Black Deaths in custody through a critical analysis of 19th century colonial case law. The course will also address contemporary issues confronting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with the legal justice system including over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the justice system, circle sentencing and native title.

All ABOR courses are constructed with the Wollotuka Institute's Cultural Standards Framework.

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. A detailed analytical understanding of the historical legal sequences after Cook

2. A clear conceptualisation and practical application of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples and the results of foreign laws enacted upon them.

3. A foundational level of knowledge relating to the protection era and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues

4. An explanation of the foundations of legal inequity as it relates to social justice.

5. Evidence of a range of academic skills in relation writing, oral presentation, critical thinking, research and analysis.


Students will explore the principles underlying the introduction and application of English common law and the Australian constitutional law to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Several law cases will be critically reviewed along with the doctrine of Terra Nullius, Native Title and Racial Discrimination. Further discussion will examine issues of deaths in custody, over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the legal justice realm and Aboriginal legal services.

Assumed knowledge

ABOR1110 or equivalent introductory Aboriginal Studies course

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written Assessment

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study.PBL Exercises

Presentation: Oral Presentation or equivalent online task

Contact hours



Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Online 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 2

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.