Skip to content
DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Herbert Smith Freehills

Native Title

1 ranked lawyersBand 2AustraliaAsia-Pacific 2022 View ranking table

Chambers Review

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

What the team is known for

Herbert Smith Freehills' well-respected, Queensland-headquartered group draws on expertise across a range of disciplines to assist clients in the delivery of high-profile resources and infrastructure projects. Provides comprehensive advisory services covering native title, cultural heritage, land access and approvals issues. Noted for strong litigation expertise and represents clients in Federal Court and National Native Title Tribunal proceedings. Has close interactions with many leading industry bodies in the mining, oil and gas, energy and water sectors. Key clients include CleanSight, Rio Tinto and South32.

Strengths

A client reports: "You don’t always find lawyers you like working with, who really understand your business and drivers and have the ability to communicate in a practical and commercial manner that makes a complex issue easy to digest, but that's what Herbert Smith Freehills' native title team achieved for our business."

Another client particularly appreciates the Herbert Smith Freehills' team's "commercial, practical advice, delivered at a right level - not unnecessarily detailed, but detailed enough for the legal reasoning to be sound and understood." The same source adds that: "The firm takes the time to clarify its instructions to ensure that the advice is tailored for the client."

Work highlights

Herbert Smith Freehills assisted Acciona Australia with native title and cultural heritage issues relevant to the development of its AUD1.96 billion MacIntyre Wind Farm project in South East Queensland, including interactions and negotiations with the traditional owners concerned and the drafting of a cultural heritage management plan.

Notable practitioners

Melanie Debenham is a Perth-based partner whose specialist native title, cultural heritage and land access expertise is helpfully complemented by a thorough familiarity with environmental issues and extensive experience of advising on the development of major projects in the mining, oil and gas and energy sectors. She attracts high praise from a number of clients, one of whom calls her "a very client-focused extension to our own team for native title and aboriginal heritage matters," while another speaks of "her wealth of knowledge in this area" and her "very skilled translation of her legal advice into easily consumable content."

This page contains Chambers Research content only

Ranked departments can:
  • License the use of Chambers content
  • Access Research Analytics
  • Tailor profile information

View other firms ranked in this practice area

View ranking table

Ranked Lawyers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Australia

Native Title: Proponents


Melanie Debenham
Band 3