Paul Anthony Smith

Member of the Land Court of Queensland

Secondary education

  • Ipswich State High School

University education

  • Negotiation and Mediation Training, Harvard Law School (1998)
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland (1985)
  • Bachelor of Laws, The University of Queensland (1982)

Pre-judicial career

  • Executive Director, Native Title Services, Department of Premier and Cabinet (1998–2000)
  • Member, State Reconciliation Committee (1999–2000)
  • Acting Deputy Director General, Department of Premier and Cabinet (1999)
  • Director, Legal Branch, Department of Premier and Cabinet (1997–98)
  • Executive Legal Consultant/Legal Officer, Crown Law (1982–97)
  • Admitted as a Barrister of the High Court of Australia (1987)

Judicial career

  • Member, Land Court of Queensland (2004–present)
  • Deputy President, Land and Resources Tribunal (2000–07)

Extra-judicial positions

  • Fellow, Centre for International Legal Studies, Austria (2008–present)

Other positions

  • President, Oceania Continent Handball Federation (2009–14)
  • President, Australian Handball Federation (2009–13)
  • Delegate, Australian Olympic Committee (2009–13)
  • Elder, Central Presbyterian Church, Ipswich (1996–present)
  • Vice President, Ipswich Hockey Association Inc. (1992–2002)
  • Life Member and former President, Ipswich Hockey Umpires Association (1984–87; 1989–92)
  • Member, Code Committee, Presbyterian Church of Queensland (1980–present)

Visiting professor

  • Classic Private University, Berdyansk, Ukraine (2013)
  • Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic (2010)
  • Azov Regional Institute of Management, Berdyansk, Ukraine (2010)
  • Lugansk State University of Internal Affairs, Lugansk, Ukraine (2010)
  • Novosibirsk State University, Academy Town, Siberia, Russia (2008)


  • Churchill Fellow (1998)
  • Australia Day Achievements Medallion (1995)

Biographical notes

Member Smith has been a member of the Queensland Judiciary for more than 17 years, having been first appointed as Deputy President of the Land and Resources Tribunal in 2000 and, subsequently, as a Member of the Land Court in 2004, where he is now the second most senior Member.

He is a Churchill Fellow (1988) and was awarded an Australia Day Achievement Medallion in 1995.  He is also a Harvard-trained mediator and negotiator.

One of Member Smith’s ‘hobbies’ is travelling to remote parts of the former Soviet Union (including a number of weeks in Siberia in mid-winter!!) lecturing pro bono (so far at five different universities) as a visiting professor as part of the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) program to help the law students in those countries understand fundamental elements of western law. He has also lectured in Land Law at City University in Hong Kong.

Highlights of Member Smith’s legal career include his leading roles in Mabo (Nos 1 & 2), Wik and Waanyi. He is acknowledged as the first lawyer to use a computer in a court in Australia (the Supreme Court of Queensland) and was also the first practitioner to use a computer in the High Court. He has authored books and articles, and spoken at conferences throughout the world.

To round things off, he is a volunteer sports administrator, being the past President of the Oceania Continent Handball Federation, past President of Handball Australia, and past delegate to the Australian Olympic Committee. He is also an Elder of the Presbyterian Church.



CAC MacDonald, PA Smith, BR O’Connor and LA Farrell, ‘The Land Court of Queensland: It’s History, Jurisdiction and Recent Case Law’ in Dr Kamensky (Ed), Azov Legal Readings, (Berdyansk Institute of State and Municipal Management, Classic Private University, Ukraine, April 2014)

PA Smith, ‘Pastoral Leases and Native Title’ in Graham Hiley (Ed), The Wik Case: Issues and Implications, (Butterworths, Sydney, 1997)

PA Smith, ‘Mabo: Three Years On – Current Developments in Native Title Law’ (Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Brisbane, 1995)


Numerous journal articles and papers on Native Title Law and Mediation.

Speeches and papers

‘Judicial protection of environmental resources – a Land Court perspective’ (PDF, 339.6 KB) (Paper presented by PA Smith and P O'Sullivan to the Judicial Delegation from Yunnan, China, Brisbane, 26 August 2016)

‘Compulsory acquisition of property for government purposes and compensation for loss of rights’ (PDF, 272.9 KB) (Paper presented during Queensland Judicial Delegation to China, September 2015)

‘Should Judges mediate’ (PDF, 72.3 KB) (Paper presented at the Centre for International Legal Studies Mediation Conference, Salzburg, Austria, June 2015)

‘What part does the Land Court of Queensland play in land access matters’ (PDF, 60.3 KB) (Paper presented at the 5th Annual Land Access Forum, Brisbane, August 2014)

‘What part does the Land Court of Queensland play in the "Game of Tomes’’' (PDF, 35.2 KB) (Paper presented at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Queensland Environmental Law Association Conference, Gold Coast, May 2014)

‘Lost in Translation’ (PDF, 329.7 KB) (Paper presented at the “Language and the Law” Conference at the Supreme Court, Darwin, 25-27 May 2012)

Mediation Conference, (Paper presented at the Centre for International Legal Studies, Salzburg, Austria, June 2006)

‘Collaborative mediation’ (PDF, 376.8 KB) (Paper presented at the Centre for International Legal Studies)

‘To mediate or not to mediate: that is the question!’ (PDF, 149.9 KB) (Paper presented at Centre for International Legal Studies Mediation Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, May 2003)

‘Justice for Indigenous People - Reflections on the Principles that Shape our Personal Response’ (PDF, 21.0 KB) (Paper presented at the Australasian Christian Legal Convention, Melbourne, 2 February 2001)