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

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




Mary Spiers Williams is Associate Dean Indigenous Studies in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University. 

Her research interests concern sociolegal studies and critical Indigenous studies, in particular the impact of state laws and colonialism on First Peoples and settlers (especially criminal laws).

Prior to joining academia full-time, Mary researched in criminology, practiced criminal law in NSW and the NT, was senior policy officer in the Criminal Law Review Division of the NSW Attorney General's Department, facilitated law and justice projects for and with Warlpiri people, and conducted community legal education for desert Peoples in central Australia.

Mary has developed the major in Australian Indigneous Studies, and currently teaches those courses. These courses centre the sholarhip and other forms of knowledge produced by First Peoples, advnace knowledge of shared histoires, civic education and insight into First Peoples' diverse perspectives and experiences. Mary previously taught in law schools in 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

  • Doctoral research into legal concepts of culture and its impact on sentencing.
  • Indigenous Voices on Judicial Decision-Making



Projects and Grants

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

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Updated:  03 October 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers