M Watts Legal was established by Melissa Watts in August 2013. Melissa Watts was formally a principal at Hunt & Humphry, having joined in 2003. She holds degrees in Law and Commerce from Murdoch University. She was admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia and High Court of Australia in 2004.

Melissa is recognised both locally and internationally as a lawyer in the practice areas of natural resources, mining and projects, and native title.  Melissa has more than 13 years experience in practicing in relation to all aspects of resources and land access law, native title and Aboriginal heritage issues.

Melissa is ranked in the Best Lawyers in Australia (2015 and 2016) in the practice areas of Mining Law, Native Title Law and Natural Resources Law as published in the Australian Financial Review.  She has also been ranked by Best Lawyers in Australia in 2014 and 2013.

Melissa was ranked by Chambers and Partners in 2012 and 2013 in the practice area of native title. She is noted as being “held in universally high regard,” and is noted for her “very broad and practical understanding of the mining business and the best way to facilitate land access.”  She has also been recognised in Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession.

Melissa is a long-standing member of the Australian Mining and Petroleum Lawyers Association.  She frequently publishes articles, including for the Australia Energy and Resources Law Journal, and presents seminars.

Philosophy and Work Practice

M Watts Legal’s philosophy is to achieve best outcomes in a timely and cost effective manner with a focus on identifying what is important to clients at an early stage.

In the case of disputes, M Watts Legal can effectively manage negotiations and encourages negotiated outcomes where both legal/commercial interests and relationship interests are protected and preserved. In the rare situations where negotiations cannot resolve issues, M Watts Legal can manage litigation in a cost and time effective way, while maintaining sensitivities that often arise when dealing with disputes.

From an early stage, it is important to ensure that clients are given realistic expectations as to negotiation points, process timeframes and likely outcomes. Once armed with this information, M Watts Legal works with clients to achieve tailored solutions.

M Watts Legal’s clients include local and international blue chip mining proponents, junior miners and explorers, petroleum proponents, government authorities, industry representative groups, specialist project developers, pastoralists, Aboriginal representative bodies and traditional owner groups.