From Australian courts to Aboriginal courts in Australia : bridging the gap?


Within the last few years there has been an increasing trend in Australia towards the recognition of what can be loosely called ‘Aboriginal courts’, more specifically called ‘Nunga courts’, ‘Murri courts’ and ‘Koori courts’ in their respective jurisdictions. These courts are characterized by a general requirement that the Indigenous offender pleads guilty. The court is generally assisted in its sentencing by the advice or representations of Aboriginal elders. It is also important to note that these courts only have application to a narrow range of offences. This article examines the particular characteristics of the different Aboriginal courts and reflects upon the implications of this trend for Indigenous offenders and, more broadly, whether it has any ramifications for the increased involvement of Indigenous communities in the sentencing process of the Australian legal system. (Author abstract).

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