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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Indigenous Law Journal >
Fall 2002, Volume 1, No. 1 >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17104

Title: The Reign of the Kangaroo Court? Exposing Deficient Criminal Process in Australian Aboriginal Communities: Bush Court
Authors: Siegel, Natalie
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2002
Publisher: Indigenous Law Journal
Abstract: Most of Australia’s Aboriginal people live in communities far from urban population centers. ‘Bush Court’ is the name given to the justice system administered to Australian Aboriginal people by a magistrate who circuits such communities intermittently. As a result of the way Bush Courts currently operate in remote regions of Australia, excesses of justice administration go unchecked. This means many Indigenous Australians are subject to a sub-class legal system. Bush Courts effectively only exercise criminal jurisdiction and these inequities take the form of lack of due process. The sources of these problems are diverse, and include poor treatment of Aboriginal people by the Bush Court, the lack of interpreters, poor judicial education and the constraints under which legal counsel for the Aboriginal people must work. These sources are examined in detail in this article. The paper also reveals deficiencies that still exist despite government declarations that they have now ‘fixed the problem’. The author spent six months field-researching Bush Courts as they operate in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. This article details the chasm between justice delivery in Australian town-courts and Bush Courts. This research may answer some questions regarding the hugely disproportionate Indigenous over-representation in the Australian criminal justice system.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17104
ISSN: 1703-4566
Rights: Indigenous Law Journal
Appears in Collections:Fall 2002, Volume 1, No. 1

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