Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC

Master of Laws
Bachelor of Arts (Melb)
Diploma of Education (Monash)
Level 2 Room 6
Owen Dixon Chambers East
205 William Street Melbourne
03 9225 7519
03 9225 8248
Signed Bar Roll:
Also Admitted:
New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, the Federal Court of Australia and the High Court of Australia

Practice Profile

Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC practises principally in the areas of native title, human rights and civil liberties.

Bryan has appeared in major Constitutional High Court cases including the Dams Case, Chan (re refugee status) Mabo No. 1 and No. 2, and Wik. He appears in the Federal Court and is currently acting in several native title claims. 

Bryan has published and spoken extensively on native title issues, and conducted research tours in North America, Africa and Brazil. In 1999, as an Adjunct Professor, he taught a Master of Laws seminar in ''Land Rights and Native Title'' at Monash University.

Over the past 15 years he has been a committee member, including Secretary of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty Victoria). He has acted in numerous cases for parties alleging breaches of human rights and civil liberties, including currently the so-called "stolen generation".

On 26 January 2012, Bryan was awarded a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his service to the law, and to the legal profession, through the advancement of social justice and the protection of human rights, particularly in the areas of environmental and Indigenous law reform.

On 3 May 2012 Bryan graduated with a PhD from Monash University. Bryan’s thesis was his book, published in August 2011: Mabo in the Courts: from Islander Tradition to Native Title: A Memoir (2 Vols ASP, 2011).


Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty Victoria), past Secretary

Public Law

Human Rights

Mw, Dd, Ta & Ab v Royal Women's Hospital, Freemasons Hospital and Victoria [1997] HREOCA 6


Re Harvey Clay Trent v Minister of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs [1993] FCA 126

Re Jafar Heshmati v the Minister of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs [1992] FCA 520

Re John Asen Kirakos v the Minister of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs [1990] FCA 394

Native Title

Hayes v Northern Territory of Australia [2000] FCA 671

Hayes v Northern Territory [1999] FCA 1248

Mabo v Queensland (No 2) ("Mabo case") (1992) 175 CLR 1

Mabo v Queensland (1989) 166 CLR 186

Wik Peoples v Queensland ("Pastoral Leases case") (1996) 187 CLR 1

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