Philip Hunter

Philip Hunter has been a partner in the firm's Transport Group 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, 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 and has assisted in the negotiation of numerous consent determinations of native title and indigenous land use agreements, native title agreements and cultural heritage management plans for major resource projects.

In 2008 Philip was appointed as a member of the Commonwealth Attorney-General's and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs' Native Title Payments Working Group to prepare a report to Government on leading policy and practice to optimise financial and non-financial benefits from native title resource agreements. The working group's report resulted in the release of a discussion paper by the Government entitled "Optimising Benefits from Native Title Agreements".

Philip has been recognised as a leading lawyer in Native Title Law by Chambers Global (2015) and was named as the 'Market Leader' in Native Title Law by Doyle's Guide (2016).  In addition, Philip has been named in Best Lawyers™ Australia as one of Australia's best lawyers in Trade Law, Transportation Law, Shipping and Maritime Law and Native Title Law. 


  • Acted for successful appellants and intervener in the prominent High Court appeals in Waanyi (1996), Wik (1996) and Yanner (1999);
  • Principal solicitor since 1994 for the Wik & Wik Way Peoples in their claimant applications which has resulted in the making of consent determinations of native title over approximately 22,000 of their traditional lands made in 2000, 2004 and 2009;
  • Lead negotiator for a number of Pilbara traditional owner groups in the negotiation of comprehensive native title agreements together with a regional framework with Rio Tinto Iron Ore for the expansion of its iron ore operations in the Pilbara which were finalised in 2011;
  • Legal adviser to native title holding and claim groups in the negotiation of numerous native title agreements, cultural heritage management plans and indigenous land use agreements concerning major mining and infrastructure projects in western Cape York, the Galilee Basin, Abbot Point and Hay Point;
  • Investigator appointed by a Commonwealth Minister to undertake the first ministerial investigation of a native title representative body under the Native Title Act;
  • Acted for owners and charterers of bulk carrier vessels in prosecuting claims arising from the infestation of cargoes by prior grain residues;
  • Acted for an international classification society 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;
  • Acted for owners in the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Australia.


  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Arts

Professional Memberships

  • Maritime Law Association of Australia & New Zealand (Treasurer - Queensland Branch)
  • Aviation Law Association of Australia & New Zealand
  • Queensland Law Society


  • The Wik Decision - Unnecessary Extinguishment - Judicial Activism? - "The Wik Case - Issues and Implications (Butterworths: 1997)
  • Funding options for Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate - Report to ATSIC (2000)
  • The Ship Eternal Wind -v- Fortuna Seafoods Pty Ltd - claims for pure economic loss - Maritime Law Association of Australia & New Zealand, National Conference (Sydney, 2006)
  • Report on the native title payments working group - Commonwealth Department of FaHCSIA senior project officers forum (Sydney, October 2008)
  • Supporting and building the capacity of PBCs and Indigenous Corporations - Commonwealth Attorney-General's Governance Workshop - sustainable benefit management in native title settlements (Canberra, April 2010)
  • Regional and Comprehensive Native Title Agreements - issues and implications - Legalwise Native Title Conference (Brisbane, May 2011)