Inquiry into Customary Law and Aboriginality
The Law Council of Australia and the Law Society Northern Territory (LSNT) provided input to the Northern Territory Law Reform Committee’s (NTLRC) inquiry into Customary Law and Aboriginality (the inquiry). The Law Council and the LSNT were pleased to attend a virtual consultation with the NTLRC on 2 September 2020.
The organisations understand the NTLRC has been asked to look into the following issues, after the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passed a motion requesting the Northern Territory Government petition the Federal Government to review section 16AA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth):
- whether section 16AA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) should be repealed;
- what, if any, laws should be passed to give effect to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) Pathways to Justice report, which recommended that when sentencing Aboriginal offenders, courts should take into account the unique systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal people; and
- the operation of section 104A of the Sentencing Act 1995 (NT), which provides a procedure for presenting information regarding customary law in sentencing backgrounds.
The Law Council and LSNT welcome this renewed consideration of section 16AA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and continues to support its repeal. More generally, this submission provides a preliminary overview of the Law Council and LSNT’s views regarding customary law and sentencing. While the Law Council and LSNT generally support the recognition of customary law in sentencing, both require substantial additional consultation with relevant constituent bodies, committees and sections before coming to a present position on the detail of what this might involve.
You can read the full submission below.