Native title is a concept in the law of Australia that recognises the continued ownership of land by local Indigenous Australians.
Native title can co-exist with non-indigenous proprietary rights and in some cases different indigenous groups can exercise their native title over the same land. In this way, it represents a local example of the fragmentation of proprietary interests. More particularly, it is also an example of two distinct systems of law operating within the same geographic, national and jurisdictional space. It is a recognition by the common law of customary Aboriginal law. However, to the extent of any inconsistency between Australian law and customary Aboriginal law, non-indigenous rights will generally prevail.
The National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) is the body that investigates and mediates claims made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Native title determinations are made by the Federal Court of Australia. Appeals against these determinations can be made to a full sitting of the Federal Court and then to the High Court of Australia. The National Native Title Register (NNTR) is a register of approved determinations and is maintained by the NNTT.
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