Indigenous People and the Law

Indigenous Australians have a complex relationship with law. On the one hand, law is associated with the most oppressive aspects of colonisation. On the other hand, Indigenous people have a long history of using law to achieve their goals. Since the 1970s, legal scholars have cast a lens over Indigenous people's multi-faceted experience of law. Work has been published on the protectionist legislation (Nettheim 1973), systemic racism in the criminal justice system (Cunneen 200 I), native title jurisprudence (Bartlett 2015), and the long held aspiration for constitutional recognition (Wood 2012). In spite of such important contributions,  Indigenous legal research remains a nascent area, which has considerable scope for expansion.


The aim of the UQ Indigenous People and the Law Research Cluster is to respond to this gap. and as a result, create a foundation for UQ to become the national leader in the field. This aim will be achieved through the following:

  • innovative multi-disciplinary research in areas that include law, anthropology, conflict resolution and health
  • the establishment of an international Indigenous legal research network
  • high quality publications
  • a commitment to nurturing the next generation of scholars in the field
  • increasing the number of options for undergraduate students to engage with Indigenous legal research
  • relationships with leading practitioners and indigenous communities.