Ian Jackman SC of 8th Floor Selborne Chambers is "very highly thought of" and "in demand for both advice and trial work." He is noted for his commercial style of approach across a wide range of business, financial, competition and intellectual property cases, and recently acted for Mirvac in a widely reported New South Wales Supreme Court dispute with coal magnate Nathan Tinkler.
Justin Bourke SC of Aickin Chambers (Lennon's List) acts primarily in the industrial and employment spaces and has extensive experience of first instance and appellate work at both state and Commonwealth level. His reputation as a "very capable practitioner" in this field was substantially enhanced by his successful representation of the appellant in the high-profile Board of Bendigo Regional Institute of Technical and Further Education v Barclay appeal in the High Court.
John Karkar QC of Owen Dixon Chambers West is characterised as "one of the leaders of the Bar in Victoria," and noted for his "broad range of experience in commercial matters" and specific expertise in issues of alleged audit negligence. He is also "very clever, a joy to work with and one of the best cross-examiners in the business," say sources.
Since publication, John Karkar has joined Aickin Chambers
Michael McDonald SC of Aickin Chambers (List G) is praised as "a very good operator who does everything involving employment and industrial relations" and has built up "a very good reputation" in those spheres. He acts exclusively for employers, occasionally including government agencies. He represented Grocon in a dispute with the CFMEU over alleged harassment of Grocon contractors.
Stuart Wood SC of Aickin Chambers is a workplace relations specialist with a "good, busy practice" and particular experience in the energy and resources sector. He recently represented Boral in a prominent Victorian Supreme Court dispute with the CFMEU over threatened union blockades of construction sites.
Farid Assaf of Banco Chambers has extensive commercial law experience, including work at appellate level and in arbitrations, but he is best known for his technical mastery of insolvency matters. He is also a strong courtroom performer, recently scoring a notable success in the New South Wales Supreme Court, acting for an applicant seeking to have proceedings before the state's Industrial Relations Commission transferred to the Federal Court.
Peter Brereton SC of Banco Chambers is seen as a barrister of choice in insolvency and equity issues, and is similarly noted for his expertise in matters of competition law and professional liability. Commentators see him as an "excellent, very strong barrister" who is "really on the rise."
Robert Dick SC of Banco Chambers "is in high demand as a very clever, careful and determined counsel who provides clear guidance to clients and works effectively with instructing solicitors." He is especially noted for his work in insolvency-related matters, and is also characterised as "very detail-oriented and across all the facts." Trade and transportation matters are further noted areas of specialisation.
Ruth Higgins of Banco Chambers is described as "an excellent junior doing a lot of good work" and "a very strong, very smart" barrister with a particular flair for economic issues. She has led in several cases on behalf of the ACCC, with recent examples including Federal Court proceedings against a homeopathy company for allegedly making potentially misleading statements about whooping cough vaccine.
Richard McHugh SC of Banco Chambers is respected as a strong performer at the New South Wales Bar, where he acts prominently in commercial, insolvency, media-related and defamation cases. He recently represented Gina Rinehart's daughter Ginia Rinehart in the high-profile AUD4 billion family trust dispute at the Supreme Court in Sydney.
Cameron Moore SC of Banco Chambers is a "first-rate and very talented barrister" who is particularly active and highly regarded in the intellectual property, competition and media sectors. His recent clients include Apple and PwC.
Daniel Aghion of Chancery Chambers (Young's List) is described as "a very good, smooth advocate" with an especially high reputation for his handling of professional negligence and insurance-related issues. His "good sense of tactics" attracts special attention: "You need to duck and weave and make sure that he doesn't open fire on you."
Robert Heath of Chancery Chambers (Young's List) is seen by peers as a "good and very capable opponent." He has developed noted specialisations in class actions, matters of professional negligence and pharmaceutical issues. He notably acted for the defendants in a widely reported class action in the Supreme Court of Victoria concerning the effects of the drug thalidomide.
Michael O'Bryan SC of Chancery Chambers (List A) draws praise as a prominent commercial lawyer. He operates most visibly in the competition and consumer law spaces, but is also noted for his administrative, constitutional, corporate and securities law expertise.
Charles Scerri QC of Chancery Chambers (List G) is identified by sources as "a standout barrister." He is most active in commercial and contractual disputes, competition and consumer law issues, and cases concerning the resources sector. He notably represented Origin Energy in a Queensland Supreme Court challenge to the electricity tariff set by the state's Competition Authority.
Sources speak highly of Pat Zappia of Chancery Chambers (List A) as a junior barrister doing a substantial amount of excellent work. One describes him as an "extremely astute and intelligent operator" who is "a joy to work with and to watch in action." Zappia specialises in large, complex commercial disputes across a wide range of industry sectors, including banking and finance, insurance, and media and entertainment.
Andrew Bell SC of Eleventh Floor Wentworth/Selborne has a broad national practice, but is best known as "the go-to guy" for private international law and other transnational issues. Already seen as "obviously one of the top silks in town," he is respected as a "very clever, tough and combative trial advocate."
Jeremy Kirk SC of Eleventh Floor Wentworth/Selborne is acknowledged as a "thoughtful and intellectual specialist in constitutional and administrative law" who also appears frequently in cases with a medical aspect. One source praises him as being "highly intelligent, hard-working and a great cross-examiner." Kirk recently acted for Citi in a widely reported Queensland Supreme Court case arising from the collapse of ABC Learning Centres.
Ian Pike SC of Eleventh Floor Wentworth/Selborne practises in the commercial, financial, property and competition spheres, and is also experienced in handling issues of both public and professional liability. He is identified as "a hands-on advocate with a broad range of skills," and highly recommended as "a very high-quality" practitioner.
Alan Shearer of Eleventh Floor Wentworth/Selborne is "up and coming and absolutely outstanding," said one commentator, while another highlighted him as "one to watch." His work on behalf of the New South Wales ICAC attracts specific praise. A former solicitor, Shearer acts across a comprehensive range of practice areas and is qualified to appear before all Commonwealth and New South Wales tribunals and in the principal courts of other states.
Shane Doyle QC of Fifth Floor Selborne attracts a high level of praise this year as a "pre-eminent senior counsel in Brisbane" who is "very experienced in a broad range of areas, particularly large commercial disputes, and very much in demand." One satisfied client noted his "amazing ability to walk into a room and make everything all right" by "taking a whole heap of complexity and turning it into an argument in your favour."
Peter Wood of Fifth Floor Selborne is acclaimed as "one of the best barristers in town" and regarded by some as standing "head and shoulders above many silks," particularly in insolvency matters; he "deserves a category all his own." His expertise in company law and trade practices issues is also highly regarded.
Noel Hutley SC of Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers attracts praise for his broad commercial, administrative and financial practice. Sources point to his "astounding intellectual firepower" and prize his "wonderful cross-examination" and "his ability to get a judge to agree with him, which makes him a very difficult opponent." Noted areas of specialisation include professional negligence cases and transportation issues.
Bret Walker SC of Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers enjoys an outstanding reputation, particularly at the appellate level, as a "barrister who will fight your case as hard as possible, as difficult and as unattractive as it may be." Another source highlighted a recent long-running and complex case in which Walker managed to "secure a positive judgment when for some time the opposite had looked almost certain."
Christopher Zelestis QC of Francis Burt Chambers in Perth is said by one source to be "regularly cited as the pre-eminent commercial silk in Western Australia," with another revealing that "his nickname on the street in Perth is God." He is "highly experienced in high-stakes commercial disputes, including appeals," and his strategic approach in mediations is also much admired.
Matthew Connock SC of Joan Rosanove Chambers (List A) is noted for his very broad range, being active not only in the commercial and financial sectors, but also in matters concerning telecommunications, administrative law, property and construction. In addition, he is qualified to practise in all Australian jurisdictions, including at Federal and High Court level, and in England and Wales.
Philip Crutchfield SC of Joan Rosanove Chambers (Dever's List) is characterised by one commentator as "a great operator and a go-to for large class actions." He is able to turn his hand to a wide range of commercial matters and is also adept in issues of administrative law. His recent highlights include acting for KordaMentha in a Victorian Supreme Court dispute with the Macquarie Group over the restructuring of six Gunns management investment schemes.
Rachel Doyle SC of Joan Rosanove Chambers (List G) acts regularly for unions, government agencies and regulatory authorities on industrial relations and discrimination matters. She is identified as "a very capable silk" with "a very busy practice" whose career is confidently predicted to develop. She recently represented the CFMEU in two successful Federal Court challenges to the Victorian government's regulation of industrial relations in the construction industry.
Nicholas Hopkins SC of Joan Rosanove Chambers (Dever's List) is a tough, respected trial advocate who has recently taken silk. He has wide commercial experience, particularly with regard to insolvency, construction and trade practices cases. He recently appeared for the successful respondents in a significant High Court appeal concerning an alleged instance of pathological gambling.
Garry Bigmore QC of Lonsdale Chambers (Young's List) is described both as "a good operator who knows his law" and as "a pre-eminent silk for insolvency," and is also recommended for his skill in class actions. He is increasingly active in agribusiness matters, and recently represented a number of lead plaintiffs in the 16 Victorian Supreme Court class actions arising from the 2009 collapse of the Great Southern Group.
Jonathan Evans of Lonsdale Chambers (Foley's List) is widely regarded as "a very thorough performer and good advocate," particularly where insolvency-related matters are concerned. He also acts prominently on other complex cases in the banking and finance, corporations law and property law spheres.
Carl Moller of Lonsdale Chambers (List A) acts chiefly on finance-related commercial cases, including insolvency matters. He notably appeared for the liquidator in the widely reported Victorian Supreme Court case of the failed Melbourne school, Mowbray College.
Norman O'Bryan SC of Melbourne Chambers (List T) is described by one peer as a "top-rated commercial practitioner." He is experienced across a very wide range of commercial litigation, company law and competition issues, and is noted for his valuable experience in acting for and against regulatory authorities such as ASIC and the ACCC. He recently acted for technology company Kogan Mobile in a dispute with ispONE over the use of the word 'unlimited' in relation to a mobile phone plan.
Neil Young QC of Ninian Stephen Chambers (Greens List) attracts numerous plaudits as an "absolutely outstanding" and "very sharp and decisive" silk. His advocacy skills at appellate level and frequent High Court appearances attract specific praise, but as one source points out: "He seems to be able to do anything – if it's complicated, Neil can do it."
Alan Archibald QC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (List A) "dominates the top shelf in Melbourne" and is also described as "a market leader who is regularly requested by global clients." He recently acted in the High Court for ANZ in one part of the unprecedentedly large class action brought by 170,000 Australian bank customers who claimed they had been excessively charged.
Christopher Caleo SC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (Dever's List) is active in the fields of commercial, constitutional and administrative law, with specific expertise in professional negligence, insurance and trade practices. Sources note that he is "as smart as a whip." He recently acted in the Victorian Supreme Court for the Country Fire Authority and other state authorities, defending them against class action accusations of negligence with regard to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009.
More than one source identifies Allan Myers QC of Owen Dixon Chambers West (List A) as "one of the top three silks at the Victorian Bar." He is also seen as its "benchmark and pre-eminent all-rounder" and "a leader in his field." He recently acted successfully for the prominent Wright and Rinehart mining families in a AUD200 million Supreme Court dispute with Rio Tinto over unpaid iron ore royalties.
David F Jackson QC of Seven Wentworth Chambers continues to be regarded as one of the nation's most distinguished barristers. An accomplished mediator and arbitrator, he is most highly respected for his appellate work at both state and High Court levels.
Scott Nixon of Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers is a strongly praised junior who acts primarily in the corporate insolvency and medical and professional negligence spaces. He recently appeared as one of the barristers acting for the liquidated Lehman Brothers Australia in a landmark AUD350 million Federal Court class action.
Anthony Payne SC of Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers practises widely in the financial, insurance, taxation and trade practices sectors, and is characterised as "hard-working and in demand for commercial and class action work." He is also noted for his experience in disputes concerning schemes of arrangement.
Matthew Darke of Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers earns strong praise as "a formidable barrister and very able operator," and is especially noted for his "very sensible and measured advocacy style." He practises in several commercial sectors and has particularly well-developed experience in corporations law, intellectual property and trade practices cases. He recently represented mining entrepreneur John Maitland in a New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.
Steven Finch SC of Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers is an "incredibly responsive barrister who can work as part of a team and appreciates both legal and commercial objectives." He is active in a variety of commercial law sectors, with specialisations in equity and trade practices matters. Finch recently represented Hancock Prospecting in a Western Australian Supreme Court dispute with Wright Prospecting over part ownership of the Rhodes Ridge iron ore deposit.
John Sheahan SC of 5th Floor Wentworth Chambers is lauded for his "well-deserved reputation as one of the pre-eminent experts in the areas of banking and finance and corporate insolvency." Sources describe him as "a thoughtful, intelligent silk who ticks all the boxes" and possesses "one of the best minds" at the Sydney Bar.