Land Law Reform

Decent Essays

Indigenous people have long been denied the entitlement of land rights by Australia. Law reform has been both effective as well as ineffective in achieving genuine access and control of land for the indigenous people. Law reform aims to reinforce and strengthen justice, through the process of first examining existing laws, and by then revoking, amending or creating the necessary changes to a law. This procedure is acted in accordance with judicial bodies, by the result of case law along with statutory law. The Native Title Act of 1993 was achieved through statutory reform. This act took place by cause of the High Courts settlement of the second Mabo case of 1992. Although law reform has not been exclusively effective, it has been relatively …show more content…

The significance of this decision amended the base of land law in Australia. The most significant issue of the case was if Queensland’s 1879 act of annexation of the Murray islands extinguished native title, by empowering the Crown with control of all Murray island land. The case involved the consideration and judgment of the High Court and the Queensland Supreme Court. After Justice Moynihan of the Supreme Court recommenced the hearing of the case facts, the proceedings reconvened on Murray Island as well as on the mainland as requested by the plaintiffs. Mabo and the people of Meriam requested it to be held on the island its self, as they believed it would be convenient in taking evidence from witnesses, as well as to provide the court a better understanding of the island and its people. As Justice Moynihan researched and investigated the aspects of the island, he discovered many things about the island and its people. It was found that the Murray islanders had an elaborate social structure, no concept of public land ownership and that the people had a clear awareness of identity as well as powerful and abiding links to their land. The determination of the case depended on the legality of the declaration of Terra Nullius; if Australia was determined Terra Nullius at the time of settlement, this would result in the islanders case being invalid as English law applied, however, if it was decided that the English had invaded Australia, then the initial occupants would therefore be recognised. The High Court concluded the issue by deciding that Australian lands were not terra nullius at the time of settlement and that native title had existed wherever indigenous people were settled before European settlement. The court therefore granted the islanders with native title and the

Get Access