Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


The course deals with the law of native title in an Australian context. The period 1788-1992 will be treated briefly, however the period since 1992 will be covered in depth, including case law, statutes, and constitutional and policy considerations. Preparation, pursuit and litigating native title claims will also be considered.


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Knowledge and understanding of the common law and statutory features of native title in an Australian context.

2. A capacity critically to evaluate the state of native title law, policy and practice in Australia, including reference to foreign jurisdictions.

3. An appreciation of the relationship between statute and common law and the relative influences of the courts and parliament over the law.

4. An awareness of how issues such as time, resources and politics have an impact on native title law and litigation.

5. A more specialised knowledge of native title law, policy and practices.


  1. Introduction Pre-contact law and customs, colonisation
  2. 1788 to 1992 Terra nullius to Mabo No 2.
  3. The politicisation of native title and the Native Title Act
  4. Comparative analysis of Native title (Canada, USA, NZ)
  5. Native title, the Constitution and the Racial Discrimination Act
  6. The ramifications of the Wik decision 1996
  7. Amendments to the Native Title, Breaches of ICERD and the UN Report
  8. The 2002 Native Title cases and the 'tide of history'
  9. Further amendments, extinguishment, agreement making and future Acts
  10. Rights to Water - Yammir and Blue Mud Bay
  11. Preparing, pursuing and litigating native title claims
  12. 2009 amendments to native title
  13. Review


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&B, LAWS1003A&B, LAWS2004A&B, LAWS3004A&B, LAWS4011

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentations - Class

Written Assignment: Seminar paper

Written Assignment: Research Paper

Presentation: Seminar presentation

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.