For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Justice Group members, the Murri Court program demonstrates a potential stepping-stone to creating a more just criminal justice system for Australian Indigenous peoples. However, these specialist courts also illustrate, through Deborah Bird Rose’s notion of ‘deep colonising’, how colonial conquest continues to permeate initiatives that aim to decolonise settler-colonial institutions. Let justice flow like water is an anthropological study of power relations between the state and First Nations peoples in the juridical field of Indigenous sentencing courts that operate in South East Queensland, Australia. The presentation will discuss the main points of a prospective monograph, which draws on archival research, ethnographic observations, and interviews with Elders and respected persons of Community Justice Groups, Australian Indigenous defendants, service providers, and criminal law practitioners to investigate the global and local processes that facilitate alternative approaches to ‘justice’ in settler-colonial societies. The central question of the monograph investigates to what extent Community Justice Groups can resist the deep colonising practices that permeate the criminal justice system to facilitate substantive equality for Australian Indigenous peoples.


Dr Amelia Radke is a postdoctoral research fellow in digital human rights at the University of Queensland (UQ) Centre for Policy Futures. She attained a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours (anthropology), where she was the recipient of the Bruce Rigsby Prize in Anthropology; and awarded her PhD from the School of Social Science and School of Law at UQ. She is a member of the UQ Indigenous People and the Law Research Cluster; and is the early career researcher representative for the Law, Ethnography and Society Collaborative Research Network, which is part of the Law and Society Association in America. In addition to her research in academia, she was also the chief investigator for a community-based criminal law initiative called ‘Transport2Court’ with Bryony Walters and the Queensland Council of Social Services.

About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.


Online. We have updated our security settings to reduce the chances of 'Zoom Bombing.' If you would like to attend this seminar please email Tyler Riordan for access information: t.riordan@uq.edu.au