Social scientists such as anthropologists, linguists and historians play an important role in researching and producing genealogies, reports and other claim materials which are submitted as evidence in native title claims. Being expert witnesses for Aboriginal claimants (or any other party) means that they may also be cross-examined on their evidence by opposing counsel. The recent Federal Court decision Daniel v State of Western Australia (the ‘Daniel case’2) highlights the need to carefully manage communications which occur in the course of researching, documenting and conducting native title claims; the case raises the issue of avoiding (or delaying) the loss of the protection of ‘client privilege’3 for confidential documents such as anthropological field notes and other primary research materials. The central issue is whether various documents can be kept confidential, and if so, for how long.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.