Senior Principal Lawyer
James is an experienced government lawyer who works across Crown Law’s Constitutional Law Team and Native Title and Resources Team. He provides advice on constitutional law, statutory interpretation and human rights, as well as on native title and resources issues.
James has instructed in the High Court of Australia as well as the Federal Court and Queensland Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and has advised State government agencies on a wide range of issues associated with the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
During this time, James received an Australia Day Achievement Award for his outstanding legal and policy work in his work representing 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.
James holds a Master of Laws (International Law) and a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours from the Australian National University.
- Instructing on behalf of the State in High Court litigation of Spence v Queensland (2019) 93 ALJR 643 and challenges to Queensland’s border restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Instructing on behalf of the Attorney-General in interventions in constitutional proceedings in the High Court including in McCloy v New South Wales (2015) 257 CLR 178, Bell Group NV (in liq) v Western Australia (2016) 260 CLR 500, Palmer v Ayres (2017) 259 CLR 478, Rizeq v Western Australia (2017) 262 CLR 1, Unions NSW v New South Wales (2019) 264 CLR 595, Gerner v Victoria  HCA 48 and Palmer v Western Australia  HCA 5.
- 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 a wide range of issues arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 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.
- 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.