The Changes That Court Decision Brought to the Australian Land Laws

71750 The landmark decision of the court in the case of Eddie Mabo and Ors v The State of Queensland is one of the most celebrated cases is the history of Australia. Brought to court in 1982 by Eddie Mabo, David Passi, and James Rice, this action was meant to be a test case to determine as to whether or not the Meriam people have legal rights to the islands of Mer, Dauer, and Water in the Torres Strait. These islands have been annexed to the state of Queensland in 1879 in the early days of the British occupation. History tells us that before the British came to these islands, the Meriam people have already established a system of their own. In this system, the lands on the island were considered as properties of individuals or groups rather than belonging to the community as a whole.&nbsp.In an attempt to terminate the proceedings of this case, the Queensland government enacted the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985. The act declared that the annexation of the islands in the Torres Strait in 1879 transferred the ownership of the lands therein to the state of Queensland. According to the act, the fact that the title of the island was already vested to the state, the land is now “freed from all other rights, interests, and claims whatsoever” (see Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985).In deciding this case, the High Court of Australia said that the Meriam people have rights over the lands they occupied. According to the judgement of the court, common law accepts the concept of native title and this native title is traditionally connected to the occupation of the land. The court further said that native title may be extinguished through a valid exercise of governmental powers provided that it was clearly and plainly manifested that the government intends to claim title to the land.The decision of the High Court, in this case, has many legal implications that can change the way Australians deal with land issues. Some of the issues involved in this case are quite complex that it will take time before we can fully appreciate their impact on the legal system.