The Honourable John Dowsett AM KC is a retired Judge of the Federal Court of Australia and Supreme Court of Queensland. He now accepts appointments as arbitrator but does not provide legal advice or representation.
He was a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland from 1985 until 1998. From 1998 until 2018, he was a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia. He was engaged in the full range of the respective jurisdictions of the two Courts. He was also an additional Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.
From 2018 until recently, he has been President of the National Native Title Tribunal. During his time with the Tribunal, he has conducted several major projects, including a study of the effect of European settlement upon traditional owners of the land in the Cairns area. At the request of the Federal Court, and under his reference, the Tribunal assisted the Court in the resolution of disputes amongst native title groups concerning entitlement to moneys payable by a mining company pursuant to an Indigenous Land Use Agreement. Mr Dowsett also conducted determination proceedings concerning the proposed exploitation of gas reserves near Narrabri in New South Wales. That matter attracted considerable public interest.
Prior to his appointment, Mr Dowsett practised at the Queensland Bar, primarily in commercial litigation in its many forums. As an arbitrator, he will continue to engage in that broad range of cases.
He has been active in Judicial affairs, including the establishment of the body now called the Australian Judicial Officers Association and the National Judicial College of Australia. He has delivered numerous papers over the years, some of which can be found here.
2012 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."
Life Member of the Bar Association of Queensland
2018-2023 President, National Native Title Tribunal
1998-2018 Judge, Federal Court of Australia
1985-1998 Judge, Supreme Court of Australia
University of Queensland (B.A.,LL.B.)