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Abstract from

My People's Courts as Agents of Indigenous Decolonisation?

Peter H Russell is Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto.

Russell examines the role of the judiciary in the process of indigenous decolonisation and determination of rights to self-determination in Canada, Australia the United States and New Zealand, with particular emphasis on the relationship between judicial decisions and political activity of governments. An historical account of relevant court cases is provided in order to contrast more recent judicial interpretations, most notably Mabo in Australia, and the Nisga Treaty in Canada in relation to self-government rights. Russell argues that the role of the judiciary in the decolonisation project is, at best, to act as a catalyst or prod for political action by government and that ultimately, justice requires political agreements where integration is balanced with autonomy although the judicial role in this process is important.

(2001) 18(1) Law in Context 50
Keywords: Indigenous issues; Judicial accountability

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