In April 1994, the Miriuwung and Gajerrong People filed an application with the National Native Title Tribunal seeking recognition of their native title rights. As mediation between the groups proved unsuccessful, the application was referred to the Federal Court in 1995.
In 1998, the decision handed down by Justice Lee applied the common law principles set out in Mabo (No. 2) as well as those applied in Canadian cases. Justice Lee set out the grounds on which native title could be proven. His Honour held that despite the interference, and subsequent impact of European settlement, the necessary degree of connection with the area claimed was maintained by the Applicants and their ancestors.
The decision was appealed to the Full Bench of the Federal Court.
The Full Bench decision was handed down in 2000.
The Full Court rejected by majority the appeals of the WA State and NT Governments but upheld many of their appeals in relation to extinguishment.
The Full Bench decision of the Federal Court was appealed to the High Court.
In this case, the High Court concentrated on the nature and principles of extinguishment in its decision. The two questions it considered were: (1) whether there can be partial extinguishment; and (2) the principles for determining extinguishment.
The High Court determined that the operation of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) provides for the partial and permanent extinguishment of native title rights and interests; affirmed and elaborated on the principles for extinguishment established in Wik, including the principle that native title rights and interests can co-exist with other interests; and returned to the characterisation of native title used in Mabo (No. 2).
The effect of the orders appeared to set Justice Lee's original determination on foot, subject to the matters finally determined by the majority of the High Court. The remaining matters were addressed by the Federal Court in the consent determination of native title that settled the claim (Attorney-General of the Northern Territory v Ward  FCAFC 283). This decision was handed down as a consent determination of native title. It set aside the determination originally made by Justice Lee to the extent that it affected land in Western Australia, and set out the terms of a consent determination of native title. The parties agreed that native title existed in some parts of the area and did not exist in others. The determination is recorded in two entries on the National Native Title Register.