Duties of people on a PBC or the Applicant in a native title claim

Thursday, 7 June 2018
Dan O'Gorman

The Federal Court in Gebadi v Woosup [2017] FCA 1467 considered the duties people constituting the Applicant in a native title claim owe to the claim group as a whole. The decision makes it very clear that people constituting the Applicant or those representing native title holders in other capacities owe very important duties to the whole claim group or native title holders and must not makes decisions based on self interest. That is, such persons must not prefer their own interests over those of their People or act in a way which brings their duty to act in the best interests of the whole group into conflict with their own personal interests. Consequently their duties prevent them receiving monies for themselves personally.

In this case the Federal Court ordered one of the persons constituting the Applicant to pay to the whole Group $370,000.00 that he had received in his capacity as the Applicant, and ordered that he be prevented from exercising any power or authority to effect transactions as trustee for the native title holders.

I was the Senior Counsel who acted on behalf of the native title holders in this matter.