William is a lawyer in private practice in Brisbane. He graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) / Bachelor of Arts in 2016. In 2017-18 he was the Associate to the Hon. Justice Dowsett AM on the Federal Court of Australia. His research considers how the loss of native title rights should be compensated in Australian law. This is an emerging area of law following the High Court's first consideration of the topic in March 2019, in Northern Territory v Griffiths [2019] HCA 7. His thesis will offer a critical perspective on that decision and consider the future development of the law as it concerns a number of unresolved issues.

Will’s thesis won the Holt Prize for 2021, a biennial prize for excellence in law theses, with a cash award of $12 000 and a publishing contract with The Federation Press.

HDR research title: Native title compensation in Australia

Supervisors: Adjunct Professor Jonathan FulcherAdjunct Professor the Hon. Justice Andrew Greenwood


  • ‘Where to Next? Native Title Following Timber Creek’, with Aaron Moss, Australian Public Law Blog, 3 April 2019.
  • ‘Are there moral reasons to remember the First World War?’(2015) 14(41) Think 89-97.
  • ‘Bicameralism: an antipodean perspective’, with Prof. Nicholas Aroney (2014) Verfassungsblog: On Matters Constitutional.


Researcher biography

Dr William Isdale is a Senior Legal Officer with the Australian Law Reform Commission, and an Adjunct Fellow of the T.C. Beirne School of Law. Previously he worked as a solicitor in private practice, where he specialised in financial services, regulatory and general commercial legal advice. Before commencing practice he was an Associate to the Hon. Justice John Dowsett AM on the Federal Court of Australia.

William holds a PhD in law for a thesis on native title compensation, which was supervised by Adjunct Professors Jonathan Fulcher and the Hon. Justice Andrew Greenwood (a judge of the Federal Court of Australia). His thesis addressed issues relating to native title law, tort law, constitutional law, and the law of remedies. A version of his thesis won the 2021 Holt Prize, and will be published as a book by Federation Press in early 2022.

He also holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Queensland, and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University. He is currently studying part-time for an LLM in International Financial and Commercial Law with King's College London.

William is a weekly contributor of case notes to the Queensland Law Reporter, and has published articles in a number of journals on both public and private law issues. He is particularly interested in the intersection of law with public policy. He maintains an avid interest in moral, political and legal philosophy, particularly their practical applications and implications for law reform.