The Acquisition of Indigenous Property on Just Terms: Wurridjal V Commonwealth
33 Sydney Law Review 119
19 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 5, 2017
Wurridjal v Commonwealth challenged the Northern Territory intervention legislation, alleging there had been an ‘acquisition of property’ without ‘just terms’, contrary to s 51(xxxi) of the Commonwealth Constitution. This case note addresses four matters. First, whether there had been an ‘acquisition of property’ within s 51(xxxi); second, whether ‘just terms’ had been provided; third, whether s 51(xxxi)’s requirement of ‘just terms’ applied to an exercise of Commonwealth legislative power in the territories; and, fourth, whether the High Court’s earlier decision in Teori Tau v Commonwealth was overruled. Three issues for the future are identified: the potential for ‘just terms’ to apply differently to Indigenous property rights; the significance of the court’s recognition of the evolving position of the territories within Australian constitutional arrangements; and the adoption by the court of a new approach to determining whether a previous decision has been overruled.
Keywords: compulsory acquisition, just terms, Indigenous
JEL Classification: K1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation