Why aboriginal law should be recognised in Australia?

Essay by cjonesy87University, Bachelor'sA-, September 2009

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Cultural pluralism is a term used when small groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities. Legal pluralism goes one further to incorporate multiple legal systems within one geographic area. Plural legal systems are particularly common, where the law of a former colonial authority may exist alongside more traditional legal systems. The following paper will look into whether or not two legal systems can co-exist and if they can co-exist in an equitable way acknowledging that both are valid 'law' and what makes up the 'law.'In anthropological circles it is accepted that all societies (human) have law consisting of some form of legal principles and legal processes, and whether or not they have codified laws and law courts. Social Scientist John Metge argues that all societies chase maintenance of order except in times of exceptional crisis. This maintenance of order includes the reinforcement of accepted values and the punishment of breaches.

It can be said that all societies equally depend on the maintenance of social norms, whether or not they are in the form of codified law or not, and social norms have the same aim, which is to maintain order within their society.

If the statement by Mete is true it would be very difficult to argue that Aboriginals do not have a legal system in place. Berndt RM and Berndt CH in an article on 'law and order, in World of the First Australians' highlights different punishment systems employed for particular crimes and who has the authority and power to enforce the punishments and the system of punishment that occurs within a community. For example the article discusses in the event that a mother kills her baby or abandons him or her, the mother will be punished by her husband or her co-wives. From the example...