James Potter

Senior Principal Lawyer

James is an experienced government lawyer who works across Crown Law’s Constitutional Law Team and Native Title and Resources Team.

James provides advice on constitutional law and represents the State in constitutional litigation, and advises on native title and resources issues for major projects including the validity of future acts under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), mining and resources legislation, and Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs).

James joined Crown Law in 2012 and brought many years’ experience from State and the Commonwealth Governments, as well as the private sector.

Prior to joining Crown Law, he spent six years at a large independent commercial law firm in Canberra before joining the Office of International Law in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. James later worked in, and then led, the Security Section providing advice on complex international law matters, preparing complex and sensitive policy papers, drafting and negotiating international treaties and representing Australia at international negotiations.

During this time, James represented Australia in negotiations to amend the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to add the crime of aggression and other new war crimes to the Court’s jurisdiction.

He acted as a legal adviser to the Australian delegation to the negotiations over a period of two and a half years which led to a consensus agreement among States Parties to the Rome Statute at the Court’s Review Conference in 2010.

The following year, James received an Australia Day Achievement Award for his outstanding legal and policy work in support of his work on this matter.

  • Acted for the Attorney-General in relation to constitutional proceedings in the High Court including in McCloy v New South Wales (2015) 89 ALJR 857, Bell Group NV (in liq) v Western Australia (2016) 90 ALJR 655 and Palmer v Ayres (2017) 91 ALJR 325 and Rizeq v Western Australia.
  • Acted for the Attorney-General in relation to constitutional proceedings in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in matters involving alleged inconsistency between State and Commonwealth laws.
  • Advising Queensland Government agencies on constitutional law issues.
  • .Advising Queensland Government agencies on all aspects of native title, including for major infrastructure projects.
  • Advising Queensland Government agencies on resources legislation.
  • Representing the State in High Court litigation of Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC v State of Queensland.
  • Advising Commonwealth Government agencies on international law issues associated with the development of offshore petroleum fields including applicable international treaty arrangements.
  • Representing Australia in negotiations to amend the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to add the crime of aggression and several new war crimes to the Court’s jurisdiction.
  • Providing legal advice to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and participating in negotiations to develop a treaty between Australia and the European Union (EU) providing the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service with access to passenger name record data from the EU.