Public Interest Law Careers Guide - National Native Title Tribunal

Field of Law

Indigenous; Justice System

Stage of Career

Secondary; Graduates; Practising Lawyers

Contact Details

Address: Level 10, Commonwealth Law Courts, 1 Victoria Avenue, Perth, Western Australia 6000
For other offices around Australia visit contacts page on the National Native Title Tribunal website
Phone: (08) 9425 1088
Facsimile (08) 9425 1199
Visit the National Native Title Tribunal website
Contact person: Jasmin Whitfield

Description of Organisation

The National Native Title Tribunal is an impartial, independent body that was established when the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) ("NTA") commenced in January 1994.

The Tribunal is not a court and cannot decide whether native title exists or does not exist. However, the President of the Tribunal and its Members make arbitral decisions in relation to future act matters. The Tribunal also assists parties to negotiate agreements about, for example, mining and exploration activities.

The Native Title Registrar is responsible, among other things, for making administrative decisions about the registration of claimant applications and indigenous land use agreements.

Number of legal positions within organisation

NNTT employs many legally qualified people in a range of positions.

Legal qualifications are useful for, e.g:

  • Positions involving the drafting policy and procedures relating to the aspects of the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) the Tribunal or the Registrar administers.
  • Assist Tribunal members to write reasons for arbitral decisions.
  • Registrar's delegates who make administrative decisions in accordance with the NTA.

Information for secondary schools

Do you have work experience placements for secondary school students?

We have provided work experience placements for secondary school students, upon request and if resources permits

Contact person for work experience placements:

Information for university students/graduates

What are you looking for in a graduate?

The Tribunal and the Registrar welcome graduates from all backgrounds and fields of study. Legal qualifications are particularly useful in the work areas noted earlier, particularly for graduates interested in native title law, administrative law and government law generally

Qualifications/skills required

This will depend on the particular position , as noted in the examples given earlier.

What electives/areas of study are viewed favourably?

Native title, natural resources law, administrative law

What prior work/volunteer work is viewed favourably?

Again, this will depend on the role sought but an interest in native title and Indigenous affairs would helpful

Do you have a graduate clerkship program?


What sort of volunteer/work experience opportunities are available?

This depends on the request of the individuals and whether or not the Tribunal has the resources and capacity to provide work experience and volunteer placements

Contact person for work experience placements:

Information for Indigenous students/lawyers

The Tribunal and the Registrar have an Indigenous Employment Strategy (incorporated in the Tribunal's Reconciliation Action Plan) to 'provide developmental opportunities for Indigenous employees, and to implement effective strategies to recruit and retain Indigenous employees to utilise their unique skills and knowledge'. For more information about Indigenous employment, visit the Indigenous Employment at the Tribunal page on the National Native Title Tribunal website

Information for practising lawyers

What are you looking for in a permanent employee?

All employees assisting the Tribunal or the Registrar are expected to have, or be able to acquire, a knowledge and understanding of Indigenous cultures and the issues affecting those cultures in Australian society because the Tribunal and the Registrar delivers service to Indigenous Australians. They would also need to be able to act impartially with all stakeholders and operate within the boundaries of organisational processes and constraints in accordance with the Australian Public Service Code of conduct and values.

What prior work is viewed favourably?

See above.

On average, how many positions become available per year?

This varies according to workload and resources

How many applications do you receive for these?


Where do you advertise your positions?

On the Tribunal website, in the Government Gazette and occasionally (depending on the position) through

Do you use a recruitment agency?

Depending on the role, yes we have used a recruitment agency

Advice for applicants

Please refer to the ‘Employment' section on the Tribunal's website and read through the Application Form that accompanies each job description

Additional comments

Recruitment for the Tribunal is managed by the Native Title Registrar as the delegate of the Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia. Current employment opportunities are advertised as noted above.

NNTT also has a non-ongoing employment register.

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