Eatts V Gundy and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Adoptions
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Torres Strait Islander traditional adoption has been the subject of political and legal debate for decades. While the law has given consideration and limited recognition to Torres Strait Islander adoption, the case of Eatts v Gundy ('Eatts') in Queensland raises once more the unresolved conflict between state law and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander laws (traditions). In Eatts, the primary issue was whether a child traditionally adopted in accordance with Aboriginal law could be viewed as an 'issue' or 'child' under the Succession Act 1981 (Qld). Although Eatts involved Aboriginal law, the Queensland Court of Appeal's treatment of traditional adoption in Eatts acts as a precedent for the consideration of Torres Strait Islander traditional adoptions by Queensland's succession law. Critically, the decision sits in direct contrast to the efforts of the Family Court of Australia in recognising Torres Strait Islander traditional adoption. A recent example is the case of Beck v Whitby ('Beck').
Indigenous Law Bulletin
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law