Monday, 02 April 2018

Appointment of National Native Title Tribunal President

Media release

I am pleased to announce that the Honourable Justice John Dowsett AM has been appointed as the Full-Time President of the National Native Title Tribunal. 

Justice Dowsett has been appointed as President for five years from 27 April 2018 - the day after he retires as a Federal Court Judge. For the intervening period, current NNTT Member, Ms Helen Shurven, will act in the position.

As President, Justice Dowsett will be responsible for managing the administrative affairs of the Tribunal.

Justice Dowsett will replace current Tribunal President, Ms Raelene Webb QC, whose appointment expires on 31 March 2018. I would like to thank Ms Webb for her significant contribution as Tribunal President since her appointment in 2013, and I wish her well for her future endeavours.

Justice Dowsett brings extensive native title experience and expertise to this role. I am confident that he will perform these functions to a very high standard and in a manner that is appropriate to the diverse needs of the native title system and its stakeholders.

Justice Dowsett was appointed to the Federal Court on 14 September 1998 and will retire on 26 April 2018. Prior to this time, Justice Dowsett served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland from 1985. He practised at the Queensland Bar and was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 1982.


Justice Dowsett has a distinguished legal career. He first became a barrister in 1972, shortly after graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). He was appointed Queens Counsel in 1982 and appointed a Judge of the Queensland Supreme Court in 1985. Justice Dowsett was then appointed a Judge of the Federal Court in 1998.

On 11 June 2012, Justice Dowsett was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the law and to the judiciary, to professional associations and to legal education in the area of litigation and dispute resolution.