Navigate Up
Sign In


President and Members

The Hon. John Dowsett AM
Location:  Brisbane
27 April 2018 Five years
The Honourable John Dowsett AM has been appointed as the Full-Time President of the National Native Title Tribunal from 27 April 2018.
President 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. President Dowsett was then appointed a Judge of the Federal Court in 1998.
On 11 June 2012, President 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.

Ms Helen Shurven
Location:  Perth
29 November 2017      Five years
Ms Helen Shurven, who has been a Member of the Tribunal since 2010, is an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediator Standards. She conducts Tribunal mediations to assist parties make agreements toward resolution of future act matters, as well as Indigenous Land Use Agreements.
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 and 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, serving as President for three of those years 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.


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 Mediator Standards, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a member of the Bar Association of Queensland.