The United Nations recognized this problem in its defense as early as 1947, when it established the International Law Commission to «examine ways to make evidence of customary international law more accessible.» Over the past seventy years, the International Law Commission has made undeniable progress in seeking to «codify» (register) customary international law.13 However, these efforts are inherently retroactive and ephemeral. Even if all aspects of customary international law were codified today, it would only be a snapshot of opinio juris. As soon as the behavior of the state changes, which is inevitable in the face of social and state change, the opinio juris is reformulated by definition. Any codification of opinio juris therefore tends to be outdated and to create even more confusion. Recognizing Indigenous customary law means recognizing our competence – and recognizing the strength that comes from our culture: the heart of our identity.  Recognition of Aboriginal customary law, Dr William Jonas AM, Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) Shortly thereafter, however, the ICJ reversed its position and has since frequently ruled that states cannot withdraw from customary international law in whole or in part. Instead, the rules of opinio juris are equally and fully binding on all States (North Sea Continental Shelf16, Canada/United States17), even in disputes in which both parties believe otherwise (Nicaragua v. United States).18 State consent is clearly not required. The Senate`s Committee on Legal and Constitutional Law met on 28 September. In September 1995, it submitted its report on the Administrative Decisions (Effect of International Instruments) Bill 1995. The majority recommended the adoption of the law to preserve what was considered the status quo before the Teoh decision. The recommendation was that once a «review of the impact of contracts on administrative decision-making» had been completed, the legislation «should be reviewed and evaluated.» On May 10, 1995, Secretary of State Senator Evans and Attorney General Lavarch issued a joint statement clarifying the government`s understanding of the implications of concluding an international treaty. The declaration made it clear that in concluding an international treaty, the government did not intend to make it appear that government decision-makers would act in accordance with the treaty if domestic legislation was not implemented.
On 28 June 1995, the Government introduced the Administrative Decisions (Effect of International Instruments) Act 1995 in the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to overturn the above-mentioned decision of the Teoh Supreme Court. [For a discussion of the implications of this bill, see Digest Bills No. 115/95 by Dr. Max Spry.] Other commentators attacking the «directly applicable» position are Professors Bradley and Goldsmith. They argue that although U.S. courts have applied something like the British rule of automatic inclusion in the past, this regime has not survived Erie v Tompkins.  According to this decision, the courts have applied customary international law «only if and to the extent that they consider that they have the power to do so through the federal political branches.»  One of the disadvantages is that there may be a delay between signature and ratification, leaving treaties «in uncertainty.» In the absence of Parliament`s assent to the text of the Treaty, it is conceivable that objections could be raised to the provisions of the Treaty. However, the contract would have already been signed, and it can be difficult to enter a reservation later, as this usually happens at the time of signing. If ratification does not take place, there is a practical problem with the status of the text of the unratified treaty.
Former Prime Minister Whitlam strongly believes that there should be consultations with states before ratification, but that a deadline should be set. (27) Judge Evatt is not in favour of Parliament`s consent being a precondition for the ratification of the Treaties. (28) In general, delays between signature and ratification are not desirable. I would also like to draw your attention to the work of the Western Australian Law Reform Commission, which this year recommended that customary law be taken into account when Aboriginal people are convicted of crimes. The Law Reform Commission noted that the coexistence of two legal systems in Washington State means that Indigenous offenders, particularly in remote areas, are essentially punished twice, unless the Australian legal system takes due account of customary law in sentencing. Judge Merkel accepted the dismissal of the appeal in the Nulyarimma case and the annulment of the Buzzacott action, but for different reasons. After reviewing the case law, it formulated an approach whereby a generally accepted rule of customary international law should be considered incorporated into national law if it is not inconsistent with the law or with the common law rules promulgated by the courts.  We need to look at issues related to Indigenous customary law from a broader perspective. While Indigenous customary law has great potential in terms of sentencing options in the context of the criminal justice system, it has great potential to ensure the self-determination of Indigenous peoples […].