Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (“Mabo case”) [1992] HCA 23

ON 3 JUNE 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (“Mabo case”) [1992] HCA 23; (1992) 175 CLR 1 (3 June 1992).

Upon the British Crown’s acquisition of sovereignty over parts of Australia since 1788, aboriginal native title survived and as such the doctrine of terra nullius does not apply to Australia.

Where validly asserted, native title entitles its holders as against the world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the particular land over which the title is claimed. It is ascertained according to the laws and customs of it’s indigenous inhabitants who have a connexion with the land through continued use and enjoyment by the group or clan since the Crown’s acquisition of sovereignty.

Native title is inalienable but is extinguished if the clan or group ceases to have a connexion with the land, or by a valid exercise of government power under the laws of the Commonwealth.

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