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Key decisions

  • Northern Land Council & Anor v Quall & Anor [2020] HCA 33


Delegation and agency – what’s the difference? Quite a lot according to Nettle and Edelman JJ 

In Northern Land Council & Anor v Quall & Anor [2020] HCA 33 (7 October 2020) the High Court was required to consider whether the North Land Council (‘NLC’) has the power to delegate to its Chief Executive Officer (‘CEO’) the function, conferred on it by s 203BE(1)(b) of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), of certifying applications for registration of Indigenous land use agreements (‘ILUAs’).

ILUAs are voluntary agreements between a native title group and others on the use of land or waters. Future acts that affect native title rights and interests (such as, for example, the grant of a mining tenement or the compulsory acquisition of land) are invalid unless they are permitted under an ILUA that is registered on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements. One requirement for the making of an application for registration of an ILUA concerns the identification of people who may hold native title rights, in respect of the area affected by the ILUA, and the authorisation, by those people, of the ILUA.

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