Philip Hunter

Philip Hunter has been a partner since 1996 and advises on liability claims in the marine, aviation and road transport sectors including claims arising from cargo or property damage, crew, third party and passenger injuries and regulatory compliance. Philip also advises on contracts of carriage, charter parties and related disputes.

Philip is also a prominent native title practitioner who has assisted and advised native title representative bodies, registered native title bodies corporate, native title holders, native title claimants and Commonwealth and State Government agencies on native title and cultural heritage law since 1994. Philip has been involved in many high profile native title cases – including the successful High Court appeals for the Wik Peoples and Waanyi Peoples in 1996 – and has assisted in the negotiation of numerous consent determinations of native title and indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs), native title agreements and cultural heritage management plans (CHMPs) for major resource and infrastructure projects.

Philip has been recognised as a leading lawyer in Native Title Law by Chambers Global and was named as the ‘Market Leader’ in Native Title Law by Doyle’s Guide. Philip has been named “Lawyer of the Year” for Native Title Law in Best LawyersTM Australia 2019 edition. He is also recognised in Best Lawyers™ Australia for Transportation Law, Trade Law and Shipping and Maritime Law.


Philip’s experience includes advising:

  • Pilbara traditional owner groups as lead negotiator from 2007 to 2016 advising the groups in their negotiation with Rio Tinto of comprehensive native title agreements, ILUAs and a regional framework agreement for Rio Tinto’s existing and future iron ore operations in the Pilbara and the establishment and approval of benefits management/trust structures;
  • Native Title on a native title claim group in the mid-west region of Western Australia on negotiations with the Commonwealth Government on the proposed Square Kilometre Array Project (next generation radio telescope);
  • Native Title on various native title holding and claim groups in the negotiation of numerous native title agreements, CHMPs and ILUAs concerning major mining, gas and infrastructure projects in western Cape York, the Galilee Basin, north-western Queensland, western Queensland, Abbot Point, Hay Point and the Kimberley region of Western Australia;
  • Wik & Wik Way Peoples since 1994 on their native title claimant applications which resulted in the making of five consent determinations of native title over about 30,000 km² of their traditional lands from 2000 to 2012 and the subsequent grant of freehold title to part of their traditional lands to their registered native title body corporate;
  • Commonwealth Government as an investigator appointed by a Commonwealth Minister to undertake the first ministerial investigation of a native title representative body under section 203DF of the Native Title Act;
  • Shipowners and charterers of bulk carrier vessels in prosecuting claims arising from the infestation of cargoes by prior grain residues; and
  • A classification societie in defending multi-million dollar misleading and deceptive conduct, professional negligence and breach of contract claims arising out of the design and construction of a passenger/freight vessel in China.

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