James Gaetani

PhD Candidate
LLB(Hons), BA(Hons), GDLP (ANU), Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW

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James is a PhD candidate, Sir Roland Wilson Scholar, and lawyer.

He primarily researches, and practices in, administrative law, statutory interpretation and legislative development. As part of his doctoral studies, he is exploring how the Commonwealth accommodates traditional decision-making in Indigenous groups.

James is also a Special Counsel in the National Indigenous Australians Agency. He has led teams of lawyers to advise on major legislative reforms (including to native title, land rights and higher education) and the design and establishment of new statutory bodies and reparatory schemes. He has also managed significant litigation on behalf of the agency. Prior to working in the National Indigenous Australians Agency, James was a Senior Lawyer in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and worked in the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office in public safety and justice.

James is undertaking his PhD with the support of the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation.


  • 2022 recipient of the Sir Roland Wilson PhD Scholarship

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Mapping, evaluating and reforming the Commonwealth's accommodation of traditional decision-making in Indigenous groups


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Further information

Several Commonwealth statutes require some Indigenous groups and entities to make particular decisions in accordance with traditional processes (where they exist). James’ research will critically map and evaluate how Australia’s public law and institutional framework accommodates traditional decision-making in Indigenous entities and recommend where this can be improved.

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Associate Supervisor

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