Gordon Syron's famous work 'Judgement by his Peers' is on the front cover of a new book about key legal decisions affecting Indigenous Australians, which have been re-imagined so as to be inclusive of Indigenous people’s stories, historical experience, perspectives and worldviews.

Indigenous Legal Judgments Bringing Indigenous Voices into Judicial Decision Making

Judgement By His Peers

Gordon Syron’s famous work ‘Judgement by his Peers’ is on the front cover of a new book about key legal decisions affecting Indigenous Australians, which have been re-imagined so as to be inclusive of Indigenous people’s stories, historical experience, perspectives and worldviews.

In this groundbreaking work, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars have collaborated to rewrite 16 key decisions. Spanning from 1889 to 2017, the judgments reflect the trajectory of Indigenous people’s engagements with Australian law. The collection includes decisions that laid the foundation for the wrongful application of terra nullius and the long disavowal of native title.

Contributors have also challenged narrow judicial interpretations of native title, which have denied recognition to Indigenous people who suffered the prolonged impacts of dispossession. Exciting new voices have reclaimed Australian law to deliver justice to the Stolen Generations and to families who have experienced institutional and police racism. Contributors have shown how judicial officers can use their power to challenge systemic racism and tell the stories of Indigenous people who have been dehumanised by the criminal justice system.

The new judgments are characterised by intersectional perspectives which draw on postcolonial, critical race and whiteness theories. Several scholars have chosen to operate within the parameters of legal doctrine. Some have imagined new truth-telling forums, highlighting the strength and creative resistance of Indigenous people to oppression and exclusion. Others have rejected the possibility that the legal system, which has been integral to settler-colonialism, can ever deliver meaningful justice to Indigenous people.

Published by Routledge

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