Daniel Aghion of Chancery Chambers (Young's List) has a broad civil and commercial practice which includes notable familiarity with administrative law, insurance and professional negligence issues. He appears with increasing frequency as lead counsel, most recently in a Supreme Court of Victoria case in which the court conducted a Civil Procedure Act "own motion enquiry" into the conduct of legal practitioners. Sources recommend Aghion as being "thorough, organised, technically adept and excellent on his feet."
Alan Archibald QC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (List A) is characterised by more than one commentator as "the leading practitioner at the Bar," with one source remarking that "no one is going to do any better on preparation." Frequently retained in the country's highest-profile commercial cases, he recently represented Tabcorp in its AUD700 million claim for compensation from the State of Victoria for the non-renewal of gaming machine licences.
Farid Assaf of Banco Chambers specialises in insolvency and financial services matters. He is an acknowledged authority on statutory demand issues, with one source describing him as "a guru in that area." He is seen as "practical and very approachable," with excellent client liaison skills. He recently represented the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation in a Federal Court matter concerning the powers of a domestic revenue authority to collect a debt from a company which is being wound up in a foreign jurisdiction.
Andrew Bell SC of Eleven Wentworth attracts a wealth of praise from interviewees, not only for his well-established reputation for being "really superb on international law" but also as a "great creative thinker and strategist" across a very broad range of commercial and constitutional issues. He has recently acted for such diverse clients as the Australian Electoral Commission, Seven West Media and, in its high-profile dispute with Mr Clive Palmer and his Mineralogy company, Hong Kong conglomerate CITIC Pacific.
One source describes Garry Bigmore QC of Lonsdale Chambers (Young's List) as a "very impressive and experienced" barrister with "an encyclopaedic knowledge of insolvency law which is second to none." He is especially well qualified to handle cases concerning the failure of managed investment schemes in the agribusiness sector, having lately acted in Victorian Supreme Court and Court of Appeal proceedings arising from the collapses of the Great Southern Group and Willmott Forests.
Justin Bourke QC of Aickin Chambers (Lennon's List) has established practices in employment and industrial law and is experienced in arguing cases at the appellate level in both state and Commonwealth cases. He recently acted for Energy Australia (formerly TRUenergy) in a widely publicised action brought by a former senior executive on grounds of unlawful dismissal and sexual harassment.
Peter Brereton SC of Banco Chambers commands widespread respect as a "really excellent commercial silk" with "a capacity for incredibly deep and complex thought which ensures that there are no surprises." Highlighted as an all-rounder, he attracts special praise for the excellence of his competition and administrative law work and recently represented Murray Goulburn with regard to the Australian Competition Tribunal's consideration of its AUD533 million bid to acquire Warrnambool Cheese & Butter.
Patricia Cahill SC of Francis Burt Chambers in Perth is increasingly seen as a "leading light of the Western Australian Bar" and an "outstanding trial lawyer" across a wide range of commercial issues. She recently defended a farmer in a widely reported Western Australia Supreme Court case against an allegation that his genetically modified canola crop had contaminated the greater part of a neighbouring organic farm.
Christopher Caleo SC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (Dever's List) is viewed by sources as "a barrister of the highest calibre" with experience extending across issues of competition, insurance and professional negligence. He recently acted for various state entities in the long-running Victorian Supreme Court class action concerning the black Saturday bushfires of February 2009.
Matthew Connock SC of Joan Rosanove Chambers (List A) practises in the areas of commercial and administrative law and is experienced in handling banking and finance, insurance and telecommunications matters. Sources characterise him as a "good strategic thinker" and admire his diligent approach.
Philip Crutchfield QC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (Dever's List) is widely regarded by sources as the "leading insolvency practitioner at the Bar," with commentators reporting that "his strategic thought is just superb" and that he is "exceptional in terms of his commitment to proceedings, especially when researching complex or technical issues." He also acts across a broad range of commercial cases and recently defended Coles Supermarkets in Federal Court proceedings brought by the ACCC.
Matthew Darke of Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers receives high praise from sources, who see him as nearing "the very top of the junior Bar in Sydney." His close attention to detail and highly effective courtroom performances also attract positive comment. His skill set includes expertise in handling matters in the competition, professional negligence and insolvency spaces.
Sandy Dawson of Banco Chambers is said to be "extremely well regarded in media law," and is described by one source as a "skilful, knowledgeable and persuasive advocate," whether acting for plaintiffs or defendants. Particularly strong when tackling defamation issues, he is also active in the IP, insurance and professional liability spheres.
Kanaga Dharmananda SC of Francis Burt Chambers in Perth is described as a "first-rate silk with broad commercial experience, who is a counsel of choice in Western Australia." He is active in the energy and resources space and recently acted for gold explorer and producer St Barbara in a Supreme Court of Western Australia dispute concerning its assignment of an interest in a mining tenement to Hanking Gold Mining.
Robert Dick SC of Banco Chambers is an "excellent, hard-core commercial silk" who "works hard and gets it right" and is "very good at being part of the team, meeting clients' questions and making sure they are happy." He attracts specific praise for his skill in insolvency-related matters and his recent clients include the liquidators of HIH (McGrath Nicol).
Shane Doyle QC of Fifth Floor Selborne is noted for his "extraordinary intellect, outstanding knowledge of the law and extraordinary work ethic," and for being "extremely strong in cases involving complex economic issues" and related regulatory matters. Active at both the Sydney and Brisbane Bars, he recently represented the Queensland Competition Authority in state Supreme Court proceedings concerning challenges to its price settings for water and electricity.
Steven Finch SC of Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers features on several commentators' lists of their preferred top-tier barristers, with his "good presence in court" being a key attraction. Particularly experienced in the competition and private equity fields, he lately represented Archer Capital in a Federal Court action concerning the failure of its AUD1.35 billion deal to sell the business software company MYOB to Sage.
Marita Foley of Owen Dixon Chambers West (Foley's List) specialises in cases involving environmental issues, particularly those linked to large-scale land acquisitions and planning matters. Sources see her as "clever, commercially minded and exceptionally thorough," praising in particular her combination of a "mastery of factual detail" with a feel for the bigger picture. She recently acted for Victoria's Minister for Planning in connection with an official assessment committee's consideration of plans for Melbourne's proposed East West Link Tunnel project.
Ruth Higgins of Banco Chambers attracts enthusiastic praise from sources, one of whom reported: "She is intelligent and commercial. She's focused, but capable of lateral thought, and busy but always available." She practises both public and general commercial law, and is especially active in the competition space, recently acting for Apple in its widely publicised antitrust and patent dispute with Samsung.
Nicholas Hopkins QC of Joan Rosanove Chambers (Dever's List) is singled out for his "very good commercial advice" and formidable presence in the courtroom, where he is known for being especially "tenacious in cross-examination." He practises widely in the construction, insolvency and trade practice spaces and has recently represented the Crown Melbourne casino in a number of high-profile Victorian Supreme Court and High Court cases.
Noel Hutley SC of Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers "should be regarded amongst the very best" Australian barristers and is described as "very smart, excellent on his feet and an amazing cross-examiner." Noted for his expertise in professional negligence and transportation matters, he is also "highly recommended for competition law." He recently acted for Sage in the Federal Court action brought by Archer Capital with regard to the former's failure to complete the purchase of MYOB.
Michael Izzo of Eleven Wentworth is singled out by sources as an "excellent leading junior." He is active in matters involving equity and taxation issues, and the operations of regulatory bodies. He lately represented ASIC with regard to its intervention in New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings concerning the restructure of the Westfield Group and its merger with Westfield Retail Trust.
Ian Jackman SC of 8th Floor Selborne Chambers is identified by sources as one of the "most intellectually rigorous" practitioners at the Sydney Bar, drawing strong praise for the excellence of both his written advice and his courtroom performance. Much sought after for commercial, corporations law and class action matters, he recently advised the Financial Services Council on its response to proposed changes to the Commonwealth government's FOFA reforms.
David Jackson QC of New Chambers is described by one source as "the best appellate advocate in Australia," and by another as "one of the leading constitutional lawyers in Australia." He is also in demand as an international arbitrator. He recently represented construction company McConnell Dowell in a Supreme Court of Queensland challenge to an award made in an earlier dispute with QCLNG.
John Karkar QC of Aickin Chambers (Gordon & Jackson's List) is widely viewed as one of the "front-line, top-tier counsel in Melbourne" and is "particularly known for his court craft and vigorous cross-examination." In addition to his broad commercial practice, he also acts as an arbitrator and mediator, and attracts especially strong praise for the excellence of his work concerning audit negligence claims and other financial issues. He recently represented the State of Victoria in defence of high-profile state Supreme Court proceedings brought by Tabcorp concerning gaming machine licences.
Liam Kelly QC of Gerard Brennan Chambers in Brisbane is characterised by sources as an "excellent, technically outstanding senior counsel" who is "very easy to work with." He practises extensively in the professional negligence and competition spaces, and recently acted for the liquidators of investment company Octaviar in a Supreme Court of Queensland action against two of its former directors and the Fortress Credit Corporation.
Jeremy Kirk SC of Eleven Wentworth receives extensive praise from market sources, describing his courtroom presentation as "incisive, direct and polished, even under pressure," and noting that he is "able to cover pretty much any commercial matter you put before him." Highly active across a broad range of first instance, appellate and judicial review work, he recently acted successfully for Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union in a significant High Court appeal against a Federal Court interpretation of the Fair Work Act.
Richard McHugh SC of Banco Chambers practises across a broad range of commercial and administrative law issues and is especially well regarded for his work in the media law space. He is described as "a very impressive advocate with a courtroom demeanour that can't fail to impress," with sources referring specifically to his "accessible way of explaining extremely complex litigation issues" and skilful engagement with witnesses.
David McLure of New Chambers practises principally in the banking, insolvency, insurance and professional regulatory spaces, and is also active in public law matters. Sources testify to his "rare ability to discern quickly the nub of a dispute in amongst the factual, legal and other complexities and then advise in a focused way on a strategy." He recently represented Optus Mobile in New South Wales Court of Appeal hearings concerning a trade credit insurance policy dispute with Atradius Credit.
Justin Mereine of Owen Dixon Chambers West (Foley's List) specialises in complex commercial litigation in such areas as banking and finance, insolvency and trade practices. He recently served as a key member of the team which successfully represented the Bob Jane Corporation in a Victorian Supreme Court action brought by its founder. One source characterises him as a "tenacious, thorough and methodical advocate with a good appreciation of the commercial imperatives of a case."
Allan Myers QC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (List A) is generally acknowledged to be "one of the most respected" senior counsel in Australia, with sources testifying not only to the excellence of his advocacy, but also to a commercial appreciation of issues. One commentator reports: "He brought all his experience, strategy and guile to the table."
Robert Newlinds SC of Banco Chambers is recommended for his "broad range of commercial experience, excellent trial instincts and strong ability to 'cut to the chase' and find simplicity in the presentation of an argument." He is also characterised as "a good man to have on a difficult matter." He recently defended Atradius Credit Insurance against a substantial claim by Optus in the New South Wales Court of Appeal.
Scott Nixon of Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers is described by one source as an "absolutely outstanding junior" who is especially distinguished by the quality of his drafting. He focuses on competition, insolvency and negligence issues, and lately appeared for the Commonwealth government in defence of a Federal Court class action concerning Australia's 2007 equine influenza epidemic.
Michael O'Bryan QC of Chancery Chambers is widely seen as one of the most notable younger silks practising in competition matters at the Victorian Bar, and was recently appointed as a member of the independent panel appointed by the Commonwealth government to conduct a thoroughgoing review of competition policy. Sources speak of his "superb preparation" and also admire him as a "very good, softly spoken cross-examiner."
Norman O'Bryan SC of Melbourne Chambers (List T) is praised for being an "accessible and responsive" barrister with an "exceptional knowledge of the competition area," who is also "quick, pragmatic, smart and very easy to work with." He is further highlighted for his skill in handling cases concerning insolvency or investment funds. His recent cases include representing TPG Telecom in the High Court stage of a long-running dispute with the ACCC.
Anthony Payne SC of Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers is an "outstanding, strong advocate with great presence" and is "fantastic with clients." He is sought after for class action, competition and schemes of arrangement work, and recently acted successfully for John Symond, founder of Aussie Home Loans, in a New South Wales Supreme Court Action concerning negligent taxation advice.
Ian Pike SC of Eleven Wentworth is noted by sources as being "very good for trial work on all aspects of insolvency." He also acts extensively on property, insurance and competition issues and regulatory investigations. In the latter area he recently represented former New South Wales minister Joe Tripodi in state Independent Commission Against Corruption proceedings concerning the dealings of Australian Water Holdings.
Charles Scerri QC of Chancery Chambers (List G) is an "established and experienced silk," described by sources as "one of the top half-dozen" practising at the Melbourne Bar. Praised for his skill in handling competition, contractual and property matters, he is also a prominent advocate on mining matters and lately acted for the Chinese state-owned enterprise CITIC Pacific in a Western Australian Supreme Court iron ore royalty dispute with Clive Palmer's Mineralogy company.
John Sheahan QC of 5th Floor Wentworth Chambers is "very highly regarded" and "considered to be outstanding" by several commentators. He focuses most closely on disputes in the banking and finance, competition, insolvency and insurance spaces, though sources observe that he is "branching out and making a mark for himself" in other areas. He was recently appointed a member of the Commonwealth government's statutory Takeovers Panel.
Alan Shearer of Eleven Wentworth receives extensive praise from commentators, who report that the "level of preparation and mastery of material" shown in both his advisory work and courtroom performances are "exceptional for a junior of his level." Cases involving financial institutions or natural resources issues feature frequently within his broad commercial practice, and he recently acted for Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and CIMB Capital Markets in New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings concerning a AUD1.2 billion capital raising.
Bret Walker SC of Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers is an "exceptionally thorough and intelligent" practitioner and "excellent advocate," who is especially noted for his "meticulous and economical strategic advice" and assured handling of High Court cases. He lately represented former prime minister Kevin Rudd before the Royal Commission into the home insulation programme and is also noted for his expertise in the insurance and media spaces.
Robert John Whitington QC of Hanson Chambers in Adelaide has a broad commercial practice and is described as one of the leading practitioners at the South Australia Bar. He recently acted for the South Australian Country Fire Service in state Supreme Court proceedings concerning the Eyre Peninsula bushfires of 2005.
Peter Wood of Fifth Floor Selborne is considered "first-class by any view." He is most frequently cited for his mastery of insolvency-related briefs, but also acts extensively in matters involving banking, equity and trade practices issues.
Neil Young QC of Ninian Stephen Chambers (Greens List) is known for his versatility in handling a variety of complex matters in several jurisdictions, attracting particularly enthusiastic plaudits for his competition law expertise. "A tough fighter" in the courtroom and a source of "very good, commercial advice" outside it, he is also seen as one of Melbourne's "quickest-thinking and most strategic barristers." He lately acted as lead counsel for Samsung in its widely reported patent dispute with Apple in the Federal Court.
Pat Zappia of Chancery Chambers (List A) is "one of the leading junior commercial counsel at the Victorian Bar" with extensive experience of both trial and appellate work. "Incredibly thorough and a delight to instruct," he has lately appeared in high-profile cases involving significant questions of fraud, negligence and unconscionable conduct. He acted for the appellant in a Supreme Court of Victoria appeal which raised notable issues concerning the application of Mareva orders.
Christopher Zelestis QC of Francis Burt Chambers in Perth is seen by many commentators as a "pre-eminent commercial silk in Western Australia" and "a go-to person for complex litigation, with an ability to cut through a morass of material and make the complex seem very simple."