What were the legal issues that the court had to answer in the case Hackett (a pseudonym) v. Secretary, Department of Communities and Justice (2020)?

The main legal issue involved in this case was whether the child in question is an Aboriginal child and whether the applicant received procedural fairness.

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The case Hackett (a pseudonym) v. Secretary, Department of Communities and Justice was focused on the legal question of whether a child is an Aboriginal child with regard to the Adoption Act of Australia. At the initial hearing on adoption, the child's adoptive mother and biological father contested the adoption. There was a question as to whether a child was an Aboriginal child, which would require additional procedural considerations, and specifically whether Aboriginal child placement policies needed to be applied in this case. At the initial adoption proceeding, the parties agreed that the child was Aboriginal, though all parties where aware that a separate pending decision to be released could shift this determination.

The pending decision, when released, determined that a child could only be considered an Aboriginal child if it was possible to identify an ancestor who met the definition of Aboriginal using the three limb test. This test requires the identified individual be of the Aboriginal race, identify as Aboriginal, and be accepted as Aboriginal by the Aboriginal community. The judge in the hearing allowed the parties to submit arguments regarding the classification of the child at issue as Aboriginal. The applicant submitted their document late and the judge made a decision without reviewing it. The child was determined to not meet the set definition. The court determined that the child was of Aboriginal descent and that the appeal for procedural fairness should be dismissed.

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