Native Title in Australia

Law of Australia
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9/22/2004
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In Australia, the common law doctrine of Aboriginal title is referred to as native title, which is "the recognition by Australian law that Aboriginal people have rights and interests to their land that come from their traditional laws and customs". The concept recognises that in certain cases there was and is a continued beneficial legal interest in land held by local Aboriginal Australians which survived the acquisition of radical title to the land by the Crown at the time of sovereignty. Native title can co-exist with non-Aboriginal proprietary rights and in some cases different Aboriginal groups can exercise their native title over the same land. The foundational case for native title in Australia was Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992). One year after the recognition of the legal concept of native title in Mabo, the Keating Government formalised the recognition by legislation with the enactment by the Australian Parliament of the Native Title Act 1993. The Act attempted to clarify the legal position of landholders and the processes to be followed for native title to be claimed, protected and recognised through the courts. The Federal Court of Australia mediates claims made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and hears applications for, and makes, native title determinations. Appeals against these determinations can be made to a full sitting of the Federal Court and then to the High Court of Australia. The National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT), established under the Native Title Act 1993, is a body that applies the 'registration test' to all new native title claimant applications, and undertakes future act mediation and arbitral functions.
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Australian Aboriginal land rights
Western Australia v Ward
Bodney v Bennell
Aboriginal title in Australia
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