Jurisdictional encounters and the meeting of laws
Any critical approach to law must engage with the effects and affects of sovereign territorial jurisdictions on an understanding of the engagement of lawful relations, In this chapter we think of legal place as a practice of jurisdiction. Place is not, as might be thought, a matter of legally bounded physical space, but rather it is the work of legal ordering and relationship. Jurisdictional practices create legal places through engaging with the material world. The jurisdictional form of the sovereign territorial state creates relations of place (in fact many) but as we saw in Chapter 3 these are not the only jurisdictional ways of creating places. In this chapter we approach jurisdictions of place by looking at the meeting of laws. We do so because it gives us a privileged and local site of lawful place-making. It allows us to talk about the particular ways in which the jurisprudences of jurisdiction create relations of place. This task could be huge since all laws – not just laws of war and laws of property and planning – address place. Here, however, we concentrate on the meeting of indigenous and non-indigenous jurisdictions in Australia. We do so to draw out the sense of the meeting of jurisdictions and the making of legal places are both a matter of technical ordering and of the conduct of lawful relations. To do this, we look at the meeting of common law and indigenous jurisdictions, first in the 19th century as a concern of personal jurisdiction, and then in the 20th century as a concern of territorial jurisdiction. From there we draw our concerns back into the quality of the meeting places of common law.