Thomas Keely SC
Thomas Keely SC
LL. B., LL. M.
02 April 1979
Signed Bar Roll:
12 March 1981
24 November 2015
Owen Dixon Chambers East
Floor 4, Room 11
205 William Street, Melbourne
Admitted to Practice:
Areas of Practice:
- Administrative Law
- Common Law
- Indigenous Rights
- Judicial Review
- Native Title
- Public Law
- Statutory Land Claims
Admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and signed the roll of the High Court of Australia on 1 April 1979. Admitted to practice in Northern Territory in 1987.
Employed by Maddens Lawyers (formerly D. Madden & Co), Solicitors of Warrnambool, Victoria from March 1978 to December 1980, initially as an articled clerk and, after admission, as a solicitor.
Member of the Victorian Bar since 1 March 1981 and have since practised continuously as a barrister, save for the period from November 1986 to August 1989. During this period, leave of absence was obtained from the Bar in order to undertake employment with the Central Land Council (CLC) in Alice Springs as a legal officer.
Appointed senior counsel in 2015.
Prior to employment with the CLC, practised in Victoria in the Magistrates Court and, to some extent, the County Court doing a range of different civil work and some criminal work.
During employment with the CLC, worked on land claims and associated litigation, as well as giving advice on a range of matters to the Executive and staff of the organisation.
Upon returning to the Bar after employment with the CLC, practised for many years in the area of personal injury law, including workers’ compensation (both State and Commonwealth), veterans’ entitlements and common law cases. Over time, an increasing proportion of the practice involved native title and land claim work. For the last decade or more, practice has overwhelmingly involved native title and related matters.
Memberships and Associations
- Member of the Law Council of Australia’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee
- Member of the Victorian Bar’s Indigenous Justice Committee
- Member of the Australian Bar Association’s Indigenous Committee
- Member of the Common Law Bar Association
- Member of the Compensation Bar Association
Academic Position /
General Editor of the Lexis Nexis newsletter Native Title News
- Wandarang, Alawa, Marra & Ngalakan Peoples v Northern Territory (2000) 104 FCR 380;
- Ngalakan People v Northern Territory (2001) 112 FCR 148;
- Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria (2002) 214 CLR 422;
- Alyawarr, Kaytetye, Warumungu, Wakay Native Title Claim Group v Northern Territory (2004) 207 ALR 539;
- Gumana v Northern Territory (2005) 141 FCR 457;
- Northern Territory v Alyawarr, Kaytetye, Warumungu, Wakay Native Title Claim Group (2005) 145 FCR 442;
- King v Northern Territory (2007) 162 FCR 89;
- Akiba v Queensland (2010) 204 FCR 1;
- Sampi v Western Australia (No 2) (2010) 266 ALR 537;
- Rose v Victoria  FCA 460;
- Mullett v Victoria  FCA 1144;
- Commonwealth v Akiba (2012) 204 FCR 260;
- Akiba v Commonwealth (2013) 250 CLR 209;
- Murray v Western Australia (No 5)  FCA 752;
- Isaac v Northern Territory  FCA 776, (2016) 339 ALR 98;
- Manado v Western Australia  FCA 1367;
- Agius v South Australia  FCA 358
Pro bono practice
Has provided advice and representation on a pro bono basis on a range of occasions.