The Law of Sorcery in Madayin

Danial Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the sources and purpose of authority in relation to sorcery in the Madayin Aboriginal legal system of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. In the Madayin system, sorcery may be considered legally authorised or not legally authorised. While Australian (and English) law has sometimes outlawed sorcery and sometimes allowed it, Madayin has always allowed the authorised forms of sorcery. Acts of sorcery may even be approved as legal punishments in the Madayin system. The article draws upon recognised authors, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to introduce the reader to this topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Law Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


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