Customary Law


  1. Sovereignty and pluralism – Discuss whether a treaty/ies with Indigenous Australians is an effective and necessary step for reducing the legal and social disadvantage experienced by Many Aboriginal people in the NT. (Note, you may replace NT with another state/territory in Australia). Discuss with as much precision as possible, what form and what parties would be involved in possible treaty/ies. In your discussion, include historical and legal reasons for and/or against treaty/ies. Discuss whether a treaty would grant sovereignty and/or legal power to Indigenous peoples, and whether this would violate the concept of rule of law in Australia. Discuss what limitations, if any, should be included in relation to the power or sovereignty granted in a treaty/ies.


  1. Implementation – The Northern Territory (NT) Attorney General has announced a new policy to ‘bring white law and black law together.’ She seeks advice on models for incorporating and recognising the practice of Aboriginal law in the NT. Provide a detailed model for implementation in the NT. Be as precise as possible in terms of any legislative changes that need to be made in order to implement the model you propose. Be sure that your model can account for the diversity of Aboriginal law and history in the NT. Include a discussion about any perceived risks, and whether any safeguards are needed to account for those perceived risks. You may choose focus on either criminal law or family law and child protection.


  1. Positivism and Madayin – compare and contrast a positivist approach to law and law as reflected in the Madayin system. Include a discussion of what areas of difference you think cause the most confusion and tension between the two systems. What concepts are most important for non-Indigenous lawyers to learn in order to remove potential confusion about the Madayin system? Be sure to also include discussion of similarities you see between the two systems.

Sample Solution