The idea of the State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments as model litigants in litigation has sound common law roots. In Australia the obligation can be traced back to 1912 where Griffiths CJ in Melbourne Steamship Co Ltd v Moorehead described it as the, "old-fashioned tradition, and almost instinctive, standard of fair play to be observed by the Crown in dealing with subjects”. Generally, the model litigant has an overarching duty to act honestly, fairly, with complete propriety and in accordance with the highest professional standards. It goes beyond the requirement for lawyers to act in accordance with their ethical obligations and to act honestly and in accordance with the law and court rules.
This presentation will discuss the role of State parties as the primary respondent to native title claims. The presentation will discuss two case studies; 1) Akiba v Queensland  FCA 643 (single society and right to take resources for trade and commerce), and 2) Lampton on behalf of the Juru People v State of Queensland  FCA 609 (native title existing in and around a township). The presentation will also reflect on personal experiences of the presenter.