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President and Members

President
Raelene Webb QC
Location:  Perth
1 April 2013 Five years
 
 
Ms Raelene Webb QC was appointed President of the National Native Title Tribunal in Australia in 2013 after a distinguished career as a barrister. Just prior to her appointment Raelene was named as one of the leading native title silks in Australia.
 
She has appeared as lead counsel in many native title and Aboriginal land matters and has advised upon and appeared in the High Court of Australia in most land-mark cases on the judicial interpretation and development of native title/Aboriginal land law since the decision of Mabo v Queensland.
 
Raelene became a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in August 2013. She was a recipient of the 2014 Law Council of Australia President's Medal, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the legal profession in Australia. Raelene has presented at many forums in Australia, including delivering the Southern Cross University’s 2017 Annual Michael Kirby Lecture, the 2016 Sir Frank Kitto lecture at the University of New England and the 2013 Richard Cooper Memorial lecture for the TC Beirne School of Law and the Federal Court of Australia.
 
Internationally, she has presented a number of public lectures at Canadian universities, being guest speaker at the University of Northern British Columbia’s Global Fridays Speakers Series in April 2015 and at World Bank Conferences on Land and Poverty in the USA. As President, her work promotes collaboration in the native title space in line with the organisation’s vision, ‘Shared country, shared future’.
 
Ms Raelene Webb QC holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an alumni of the Cranlana Programme.
 

 
Helen Shurven
Member
Helen Shurven
Location:  Perth
29 November 2010 One year
03 November 2011 Reappointed until 28 November 2012
29 November 2012 Reappointed until 28 November 2017

Ms Helen Shurven is an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediation Standards. She conducts Tribunal mediations to assist parties make agreements toward resolution of future act matters, as well as Indigenous land use agreements.
 
As a Member, Ms Shurven also arbitrates future act matters.
 
Previously she worked in senior roles in the Government of Western Australia. Ms Shurven has practiced law in Western Australia, and has researched and lectured at Universities in the fields of education and law.  Ms Shurven has also been a mediation supervisor and trainer in the community sector.

She is a member of the Australian Mediation Association, Women Lawyers (WA) and the Law Society of WA. She has been an adjudicator for the National Schools Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program since 2003. She was a Board member for Relationships Australia (WA) from 2008-2016, and has also been a Board member for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Senator at Murdoch University.

Ms Shurven has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology from the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Education from Murdoch University.

Ms Shurven was admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor by the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1997.

Dr Valerie Cooms
Member
Dr Valerie Cooms
Location: Brisbane
4 February 2013 Five years

Dr Valerie Cooms is a full-time Member of the Tribunal. She was appointed on 4 February 2013 for a five-year term.

 
Dr Cooms belongs to the Nunukul people of North Stradbroke Island. She has extensive experience leading Indigenous affairs organisations in the community and government sectors.
 
Dr Cooms was a Director of Indigenous Business Australia. Between 2003 and 2008, she was Chief Executive Officer of both Queensland South Representative Body Aboriginal Corporation and Queensland South Native Title Services.
 
Dr Cooms managed the WA Native title Unit within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and is the Chairperson of the Quandamooka Yoolooburabee Registered Native Title Body Corporate for Quandamooka people.
 
Dr Cooms has a doctorate in political history from the Australian National University, and was a visiting research fellow in the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) from 2009 to 2012.
 
From 2015, Dr Cooms was offered and accepted Adjunct Professor appointments at Griffith University and University of the Sunshine Coast.

Member
Mr James McNamara
Location: Brisbane
31 March 2014 Five years
 
Mr James McNamara was appointed a Member of the National Native Title Tribunal on 31 March 2014.
 
He has 25  years professional experience in native title law and policy, land rights, cultural heritage, land administration and land management.  Since his appointment Mr McNamara has mediated, facilitated, and, provided information sessions and other assistance, throughout the country, to parties confronting challenging native title and land access and use issues.  He has conducted numerous inquiries and hearings and delivered arbitral determinations.
   
He holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland University of Technology, a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and is admitted as a legal practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland and the Commonwealth Courts. Mr McNamara is an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediation Standards, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of the Bar Association of Queensland.