Terra Nullius, Mabo V. Queensland (1992)

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On the 6th of June 1992 The high court of Australia made the decision to overturn the doctrine of Terra Nullius, Mabo v Queensland (No2) (1992) 175 CRL 1, this decision caused a very significant impact on Australia’s Law and legal History. It was the first time since British settlement in 1770 that native title was recognised in Australia for Indigenous Australians. Native title refers to land title rights indigenous Australians have with land that has cultural significance to them. The decision ruled in favour of the common law doctrine of Aboriginal title.

Captain cook first applied Terra Nullius in Australia in 1770 when he claimed the East Coast of NSW for Britain. Terra Nullius is a Latin term meaning “Land belonging to no one” and was …show more content…

The Torres Strait Islands were annexed by the crown in 1879. Mabo argued that since the Meriam people had occupied the islands for thousands of years the land should be recognised as theirs and not recognised as Crown land per the Land Act 1962 (Reynolds, Henry: The Law of the Land, Penguin, Melbourne, (2nd ed.), 1992). The case went on for 10 years being heard in the High Court and the Queensland Supreme Court. On the 3rd of June 1992 the high court made its decision with in favour to Mabo and the Meriam people, under the common law of Australia that native title did exist (Pelczynski, Stan (1993). The High Court Recognition of Native Title - The Mabo Judgement and Its …show more content…

Year Book Australia). The Native title Act was significant as it provided a legal doctrine for Indigenous Australians to claim ownership of land that had a significance to their tribe and culture. Currently 15 percent of Australia is under ownership of Indigenous Australians which is Native Title land (Reconciliation Australia (2014). The Mabo Decision). It was a significant impact as now Indigenous Australians had the legal rights for the first time to claim back land by taking issues to court. In 1994 the National Native Title Tribunal was established and it dealt with legal matters concerning native title. The tribunal’s procedures took in account the cultural and customary concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and had the power to determine uncontested native title and compensation claims which had never been seen in Australia

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the high court of australia overturned the doctrine of terra nullius, mabo v queensland (no2) (1992) 175 crl 1, which had a significant impact on australia's law and legal history.
  • Explains that captain cook first applied terra nullius in australia in 1770 when he claimed the east coast of nsw for britain.
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