Unit description

Introduces students to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customary laws, including religious, family and land laws. Examines the conflict between Indigenous customary and Australian laws in the context of social control. Influential cases in both criminal and civil law will be reviewed. International comparisons will be used to highlight the potential for future legislative recognition.

Unit content

1. Introduction - definitions, principles and concepts (2 weeks)
2. Maintaining social control and compliance under customary laws - pre-invasion and post-invasion
3. The content of Aboriginal customary laws
4. Dispute management
5. Recognition by the mainstream Australian system (2 weeks)
6. Torres Strait Islander customary laws
7. Reform proposals: frameworks for recognition
8. International comparisons
9. Reform proposals: further issues and unit conclusion (2 weeks)

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 2

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Tutorial online 2 (3)
Structured online learning 1 (12)
Discussion board50%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2014 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 1

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.