Sophie Cleveland

Sophie is a leading Disputes resolution practitioner who advises both private and government clients with a particular focus on indigenous issues including disputes arising under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act, the Native Title Act, ESG related disputes. Sophie’s clients choose her for her technical expertise and pragmatic litigation approach.


Sophie’s expertise includes:

  • Native Title and Indigenous land Disputes
  • Commercial Arbitrations
  • Leasing and Construction disputes
  • Workplace and safety

Recent Projects

  • Lead partner for Northern Territory Government in a class action defending claims of Human Rights breaches concerning housing in 73 remote communities.
  • Lead partner for Northern Territory Government in relation to claims brought by public housing tenants in the remote indigenous community of Santa Teresa.
  • Lead partner for Traditional Owners in a commercial arbitration to determine the traditional ownership of land leased to Rio Tinto on the Gove Peninsula.
  • Lead partner for traditional owners in a groundbreaking Native Title proceeding where the question of whether compensation flows from acts amounting to an acquisition of property where there is a failure to pay on just terms. This matter is the subject to an appeal to the High Court to be heard mid-2024.
  • Lead partner in Native Title proceeding where compensation is claimed over the Gove bauxite mine and Nhulunbuy lease areas. Compensation will likely exceed $700 million.
  • I advise most local councils in the NT on a regular basis in relation to employment, disputes and regulatory issues including ICAC. This often involves presenting reports to indigenous members and conversing with indigenous employees.
  • Lead partner in relation to several leasing and construction disputes.
  • Lead partner advising a big 4 bank in following allegations of human rights breaches by traditional owners flowing from the provision of a finance facility to Santos to develop the Barossa Gas Project.


Adelaide and Darwin

Special Counsel

Alexandra Streltsova

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