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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines legal encounters and legal relations between Indigenous peoples in both Australia and New Zealand and the British Empire. It looks at court decisions as a source of historical material in order to suggest two contact points between jurisdictions through which to think about indigenous laws and settler laws. It focuses on only two instances of contact: the colonial and the present. In many ways this choice reproduces ongoing gaps in tracing and thinking about legal encounters with Aboriginal law in Australia and, to a lesser extent, in New Zealand. Scholarship on legal encounter has tended to be centred on the colonial period to the detriment of the later nineteenth century and much of the twentieth century. The chapter looks at the ways in which colonial and modern law engaged/s with aboriginal law from the perspective of the colonizer, not the colonized.

Keywords: legal history, court decisions, indigenous laws, settler laws, Aboriginal law, Australia, New Zealand

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