ALRC legal officer awarded top publishing prize

The 2021 Holt Prize has been awarded to William Isdale, Senior Legal Officer at the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

The ALRC warmly congratulates William as the recipient of the award for excellence in unpublished legal works, for his manuscript entitled ‘Compensation for Native Title’.

The Holt Prize is awarded every two years to a first time author. The recipient receives a cash prize and a publishing contract with the Federation Press. For 2021, the distinguished judging panel consisted of the Hon Justice Susan Crennan AC QC, Professor Mark Aronson of the University of NSW and Perry Herzfeld SC of the NSW Bar. The panel said of the manuscript that, ‘The standard of entries was challenging and impressive, but we unanimously agreed that the clear winner was the manuscript Compensation for Native Title. It is a significant piece of work on an important topic and will be an excellent and important book’.

ALRC President the Hon Justice Sarah Derrington praised William for his meticulous research and the considered opinions in his award winning work.

“William’s work is an important contribution to Australian legal scholarship. Its focus on compensation for native title holders is both timely and welcome for the development of the jurisprudence in this important area of law. We are extremely pleased to have the benefit of one of the country’s outstanding legal scholars working with the ALRC.”

Prior to joining the ALRC, William worked as a solicitor in private practice. He is currently finalising his PhD on native title compensation at the University of Queensland, which is supervised by Adjunct Professor Jonathan Fulcher and the Hon. Justice Andrew Greenwood (a judge of the Federal Court of Australia).

William said that the publication of his book would draw attention to the significance of native title compensation to Indigenous Australians and to our broader society.

“I am beyond thrilled to be awarded the Holt Prize for 2021, and extremely grateful for the opportunity to bring the issue of native title compensation to the attention of a broader audience. My hope is that my book will play a role in ensuring that compensation for native title is measured and made available on terms that are both consistent with sound legal doctrine, and ensure appropriate recompense for dispossessed native title holders. This is a burgeoning area of law that will play an important part in Australia’s incomplete journey towards reconciliation.”

Holt Prize website