Ms Mary Spiers Williams

B.A. (Hons) USyd; LLB (Hons) USyd; GradDipLegPrac
Associate Dean Indigenous Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6125 6456

Areas of expertise

  • Criminal Law And Procedure 180110
  • Law And Society 180119
  • Access To Justice 180102
  • Legal Institutions (Incl. Courts And Justice Systems) 180120
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Law 180101
  • Courts And Sentencing 160203

Research interests

  • First Peoples' perspectives on State laws, including Constitutions
  • First Law (Aboriginal Peoples' diverse law and legal systems in continental Australia)
  • Aboriginal Peoples' knowledges, ways of knowing, experiences, and rights.
  • Legal Pluralism
  • Culture and legal discourse
  • Sociolegal studies


Mary Spiers Williams is Associate Dean Indigenous Studies in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University. In addition to this strategic role, Mary developed and delivers the major in Australian Indigenous Studies. These courses centre First Peoples' scholarship, advance students' knowledge of shared histories and civic education, and create opportunities for students' to develop insight into Aboriginal and Islander Peoples' diverse perspectives and experiences. 

Mary researches in and has taught critical Indigenous perspectives and other sociolegal perspectives on state law at the ANU and UNSW law schools. Her research is primarily concerned with the impact of state laws and colonialism on First Peoples and settlers.

Mary has been a criminologist, a senior policy officer in criminal law reform for the NSW government and practiced criminal law in NSW and central Australia. She was the law and justice projects officer for Warlpiri communities and Tangentyere town camp desert peoples in Mparntwe Alice Springs. Mary previously taught in law schools (including the ANU and other leading Australian universities) advanced courses in criminal law and sentencing, the impact of state laws on First Peoples, youth law, criminology, penology, evidence, advocacy, legal ethics and convened clinical legal programmes.


Researcher's projects

  • Indigenous Legal Theory and Praxis
  • Professional Standards Working Party - Indigenous cultural competency
  • Doctoral research into legal concepts of culture and its impact on sentencing

Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

Return to top

Updated:  17 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers