Australia - Dispute Resolution: The Bar (The Bar) Lawyers & Law Firms - Asia-Pacific - Chambers and Partners
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Asia Guide

Dispute Resolution: The Bar (The Bar) — Australia

Band 1

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Banco Chambers is one of Sydney's younger commercial sets, established in 2005, and is noted for having attracted some of Australia's leading junior barristers, in addition to a core of established and respected silks. Especially well resourced when it comes to providing advice or advocacy on competition, equity or public law issues, it is also home to barristers with significant expertise in the areas of defamation, insolvency and taxation. A substantial majority of the set possess appellate experience and more than half have acted as arbitration counsel or arbitrators in both domestic and international cases. Clerk Jeh Coutinho is a key contact for all enquiries.

Peter Brereton SC is renowned for the versatility of his commercial litigation practice, which covers such sectors as energy and resources, financial services and the media and lately included representation of Volkswagen in class action and ACCC-initiated Federal Court proceedings arising out of the diesel emissions scandal. Sources report that he is "quick to grasp difficult concepts, excellent at client management and calm under pressure," one interviewee observing that his frequent engagement on notably tough or sensitive mandates "shows how highly regarded he is."

Robert Dick SC is especially well known as an adept handler of insolvency-related matters, but also acts on a variety of commercial issues, including competition and sports law cases and matters of international law, and lately acted in a number of arbitrations arising from disputes in the construction sector. Sources regularly cite his wide experience, thoroughness, clarity of approach and tenacious advocacy.

Richard McHugh SC is acclaimed as an "extremely smart, highly sought after and very busy barrister who moves readily between areas of practice" and who comes across in court as "intelligent, quick and determined to win." Within his very broad commercial range, he maintains a particularly noteworthy focus on issues of alleged accountants' or auditors' negligence, regularly appearing on behalf of such clients as Deloitte, KPMG and PwC, in addition to high-profile work in the defamation and financial services regulatory space.

Farid Assaf is especially recommended for Corporations Act and insolvency-related matters, drawing special praise for his "excellent attention to detail, preparation and strategy," one interviewee emphasising in particular "the level of effort he puts into analysing what the issues are" and the quality of his "very thoughtful and considered advice." He acted for Philip Cave, a former non-executive director and chair of the popular consumer electronic goods chain Dick Smith, in litigation generated by the company's failure early in 2016 and alleging breaches of director's duties.

Robert Newlinds SC is the head of chambers and acts across a very wide range of commercial, corporate and insolvency-related issues in all Australian jurisdictions, one interviewee saying of him: "He's a very good counsel and a very effective cross-examiner with a robust style which was critical to the case in question. I would certainly rate him very highly." He represented former politician Eddie Obeid in extensively publicised New South Wales Supreme Court litigation challenging an Independent Commission Against Corruption finding that the latter had engaged in corrupt conduct.

Fiona Roughley commands an enviable reputation as one of Australia's foremost junior barristers, one source describing her as "intelligent and thoughtful, pragmatic in approach and an excellent advocate in court." Active in the anti-bribery and corruption, insolvency and insurance spheres, she acted for Westpac in Supreme Court of New South Wales litigation of a dispute with Southern Environmental Services.

Sandy Dawson QC is characterised by sources as a "new senior counsel and exceptional advocate" with a notably "strong practice" where media matters in general and defamation issues in particular are concerned. He acted for Seven West Media in widely reported New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings concerning a dispute with former employee Amber Harrison which ended with Harrison discontinuing all legal action against the company and agreeing to comply with its proposed gagging order.

Ruth Higgins SC lately took silk and attracts highly enthusiastic comment from both fellow barristers and other lawyers, one of the former identifying her as "without question one of the go-to counsel for larger matters" while one of the latter recommends her for "complex and high-stakes work," adding that "she lifts the game of all instructing solicitors." Notably active in the insolvency, intellectual property and regulatory fields, she receives particularly high praise for her work in the competition space and has appeared for the ACCC in several matters, including a successful High Court case against Flight Centre concerning air fare price fixing.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Headquartered in Melbourne's Owen Dixon Chambers, this is the oldest of the Victorian Bar's lists, with a history extending back some 160 years and a stable of more than 2,000 barristers, offering expertise across more than 60 practice areas. Among them are to be found some of Australia's leading class action and appellate advocates as well as eminent practitioners in the insolvency, intellectual property, native title and taxation spheres. Several, including a number of retired judges, are also experienced arbitrators and mediators. John Dever is the chief barristers' clerk.

Christopher Caleo QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) advocates prominently in class actions, in contractual disputes and insurance-related cases and, increasingly, on appellate matters. Sources view him as "extremely bright and able," one interviewee numbering him among "the best barristers in Melbourne." He acted as leading counsel for five former officers of minerals company Oxiana in a Federal Court class action arising out of the 2008 creation of OZ Minerals, which settled on the first day of court proceedings.

Philip Crutchfield QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) commands widespread respect at the Victorian Bar as a "very popular, very busy and very impressive" silk who "made his name in restructuring and insolvency, but broadened his practice" to embrace a comprehensive range of commercial, public and taxation law issues and who "always does a good job." Admired for his regular application of an in-depth knowledge of the corporate/M&A scene to his cases, he acted for businessman Simon Crowe in a widely reported Federal Court dispute with former partner Geoff Bainbridge over ownership of the popular burger bar chain Grill'd.

James Peters QC (Aickin Chambers) has handled complex commercial disputes, both at first instance and at appellate level for over 30 years, focusing closely on financial services, insolvency and consumer law disputes, lately acting successfully for financial services group IOOF in securing an injunction in the Victorian Supreme Court preventing the launching of a class action against it. Sources describe him as a "well-rounded, very impressive and busy silk" and a "strong, fearless advocate."

Philip Solomon QC (Chancery Chambers) is "very well regarded" as a "very good and very thorough advocate" in general terms and as a "leading appellate silk" in particular, one interviewee describing him as "excellent - the Neil Young of the future." Particularly well thought of for his insurance expertise and active on an extensive variety of commercial and common law issues, he acted for ANZ in a Victoria Supreme Court action brought by Pankaj and Radhika Oswal in connection with the enforced sale of their controlling stake in Burrup fertilisers.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

This respected set, in operation for nearly 60 years and the former home of many New South Wales Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Land and Environment Court judges, stables barristers who are collectively praised for their technical skill, their fine judgement and their user-friendliness. Key areas of expertise, within the comprehensive range of disciplines covered, include insolvency, insurance, professional liability and trade practices issues. Zach Rymer is the clerk and recommended contact.

Andrew Bell SC enjoys long-standing recognition as "one of the leading silks in the country, who gets involved in a broad range of matters," including issues in sectors as varied as construction, employment, financial services and intellectual property, one source characterising him as a "brilliant mind and advocate who presented extremely well in respect of extremely complex arguments." He acted for Lanco Infratech in a Western Australia Supreme Court action against KordaMentha, brought on the alleged grounds that the latter engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in respect of the true state of Griffin Coal's mining reserves when Lanco acquired Griffin in 2010.

Jeremy Kirk SC is reported to be "regarded as one of the best public and administrative lawyers in Australia." Sources also emphasise his advocacy experience at High Court level and his high levels of capability in such diverse areas as competition, employment, environmental and life sciences matters, with one source active in the competition space identifying him as "our silk of choice in Sydney." He acted for KPMG in a Federal Court class action - settled the day before the trial began - concerning the collapse of the Allco Finance Group.

Alan Shearer's versatile practice covers both the commercial and administrative spheres and includes notable experience in the financial services, property and telecommunications sectors. Described by one source as "a rising star of the Sydney Bar who frequently leads matters for government agencies," he served as a member of the team that successfully defended Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and CIMB in Supreme Court of New South Wales proceedings in which it was alleged that they had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in respect of Primary Healthcare's 2008 takeover of Symbion Healthcare.

Justin Williams is characterised by one source as "a leading junior counsel in commercial litigation who is retained by leading firms" and by another as an "intelligent, commercial and approachable" barrister. Particularly well known for his insolvency-related expertise and knowledge of the banking sector, he is also prominent in cases involving insurance or professional liability issues.

Ian Pike SC is especially well known for his handling of cases involving competition, insolvency or white-collar crime issues and seen by sources as "very commercial in his advice, very accessible and user-friendly" and "very good for trial work." He acted successfully for two individuals acting as administrators to companies founded by property developer Salim Mehajer in New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings brought by Mr Mehajer with a view to removing them.

Kelly Rees SC is "a very experienced commercial litigator who is very well regarded by both silks and juniors" and "regularly briefed by top-tier law firms," more than one source identifying her status as a "fantastic cross-examiner of really good directness" as a key asset. Operating a broadly based practice, covering, among others, the insurance and real property sectors, she offers especially well-honed expertise in white-collar crime matters and on commissions of inquiry, lately acting for the Star Casino in an investigation by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority which approved a continuation of the casino's licence.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Francis Burt Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

This set musters over 120 members and is the oldest in Perth, having been established in 1962. It is also the favoured set of many of Western Australia's most eminent barristers, housing leading practitioners both in practice areas linked to the state's key industries, including environmental, mining and native title law, as well as in restructuring and insolvency.

Craig Colvin SC is widely acclaimed as "a leader at the Perth Bar" and an "outstanding all-rounder," one interviewee characterising him as "an effective, approachable go-to silk who grasps facts and issues quickly and gives good advice," while another, who acknowledges and endorses this high reputation, adds that he is "a very client-friendly, down-to-earth guy who encourages you to ask questions." He lately acted for Samsung C&T in a resources-related dispute with Duro Felguera Australia.

Patricia Cahill SC is highly rated by sources for several sterling qualities, one interviewee noting that she "gets on top of matters quickly, is good with advice and makes an effective advocate and excellent trial barrister," another adding that in the last of these roles she is also regarded as "one of best cross-examiners at the Perth Bar." Respected both as a general litigator and for special expertise in the construction, insolvency, insurance and taxation spaces, she acted for Inpex in Northern Territory Supreme Court proceedings concerning its dispute with Halikos Hospitality over an alleged agreement that the latter would supply accommodation for hundreds of workers on the former's Ichthys project.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

This Melbourne list, run from offices in Owen Dixon Chambers, is highlighted for taking on hardcore, high-level commercial litigation and identified by one interviewee as "traditionally the list at the top end of town," while another calls it "the go-to list for Melbourne barristers." Its more than 120 members, who advise and advocate on issues arising in Australian and many foreign jurisdictions, include two stars of the Victorian Bar and many other highly regarded advocates offering cutting-edge expertise in, among others, the competition, defamation and insolvency arenas. Senior clerk David Andrews is a key contact.

Alan Archibald QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) continues to be acclaimed by many as "a legend of the Victorian Bar" and "a first choice for the most difficult, complex litigation," one interviewee calling him "unbelievably impressive - an absolute Rolls-Royce performer." He lately acted for long-standing client ANZ in respect of ASIC charges that the bank was involved in manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

Allan Myers QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) maintains his reputation as "one of the best barristers in Australia in any field," sources citing his "almost unequalled experience and enormous gravitas," "excellent courtcraft and extraordinary economy of expression." Renowned for his ability to handle cases in all areas of the law and involving businesses and organisations of all kinds, he is especially highly recommended for appellate matters, lately acting for a number of Pizza Hut franchisees in a widely reported Federal Court appeal against the decision in a previous class action that they had brought against former franchisor Yum! Brands.

Wendy Harris QC (Aickin Chambers) receives highly positive comment from interviewees, one source noting that she "does an excellent job in the context of class actions and in handling cases in the High Court," and she is further singled out for her "particular expertise in successfully defending securities class actions." She acted for National Australia Bank in Federal Court proceedings brought by ASIC with regard to alleged manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

Michael O'Bryan QC (Aickin Chambers) is the recipient of praise from instructing solicitors, fellow barristers and clients, sources describing him as a "calm under pressure sort of guy" with an enviable style and presence in court, in addition to being "very strategic, very bright and an extremely good communicator." Especially highly recommended for his expertise in both competition and energy and resources matters, he co-led a team of eight barristers in Australian Competition Tribunal proceedings concerning an application by New South Wales electricity distributors for a review of a decision by the Australian Energy Regulator to fix their allowed revenue.

Catherine Button (Ninian Stephen Chambers) is warmly recommended by a referee as "an excellent, incisive advocate" who is "a genuine all-rounder when it comes to commercial law" and "a safe pair of hands in high-stakes litigation." Particularly noted for her class action expertise, she attracted attention representing Consumer Affairs Australia in Federal Court proceedings against controversial health blogger Belle Gibson.

Matthew Collins QC (Aickin Chambers) is renowned for his expertise in defamation matters, lately representing actress Rebel Wilson in a Victorian Supreme Court action against a number of magazines which had allegedly insinuated that she was a serial liar. One interviewee, who emphasises his advocacy and client care skills in particular, calls him "the best media barrister in Australia." He is also prominent in competition and class action cases.

Pat Zappia QC (Chancery Chambers) maintains a broad, national practice which touches frequently on competition, insurance and energy and resources-related issues, sources noting that he is "justifiably highly rated" and praising his skilled handling of class actions. He acted successfully for mining magnate Clive Palmer in Western Australian Supreme Court interlocutory proceedings which ruled that Chinese conglomerate Citic should make a substantial royalty payment to his Mineralogy company.

Michael Borsky QC (Ninian Stephen Chambers) is a new silk and competition law specialist identified by more than a number of interviewees as a worthy addition to the rankings, one source observing: "He's terrific: a very clever, very good team player with an eye for detail." He appeared for Flight Centre in Full Federal and High Court appellate proceedings concerning its dispute with the ACCC over alleged price fixing in the air travel industry.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

This Sydney set is home to nearly 50 barristers, practising in over 50 practice areas and appearing in court, administrative tribunal and public inquiry proceedings and a variety of alternative dispute resolution processes across Australia and abroad. The chambers' versatile offering includes strong concentrations of expertise in the financial services and competition sectors, and its members include a star of the Appellate Bar, leading providers of taxation-related advice and advocacy and pre-eminent shipping counsel. Clerk Ian Belshaw is a recommended contact.

David Jackson QC commands "nothing but the highest respect" from his peers, one source calling him "an extremely senior silk with unparalleled experience," and another opining that he is "probably the leading counsel in Australia: he just has this formidable work ethic and presence - particularly in the High Court, where they really listen to him." He acted for businessman Clive Palmer in Palmer v Ayres, a widely reported case which addressed significant constitutional questions concerning judicial power.

Elizabeth Cheeseman SC is "highly recommended" for her "noted financial services expertise," and acts regularly for the Australian Federal Police and other Commonwealth government bodies on tax fraud and proceeds of crime cases, one source stressing in particular the thoroughness of her preparation and the "maturity and dignity" of her presentation. She also acted successfully for a number of New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption members in state Supreme Court proceedings brought by former minister Eddie Obeid and three of his sons alleging misfeasance in public office and denial of procedural fairness on the part of Commission officers.

David McLure SC is respected as an "effective communicator and excellent strategist" who "has obtained fantastic results in reputational matters and in misconduct cases." Sources also recommend him for expertise in insurance, taxation and sports law issues. He acted for the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police in widely reported New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings against a number of individuals, including a deputy commissioner of taxation in respect of a AUD165 million tax fraud.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

This compact Sydney set is noted for the high proportion – more than half – of senior counsel in its membership and for an especially strong group of barristers acting across the full range of intellectual property issues. Other areas of noted strength are the competition, insolvency, insurance and taxation fields, and the set also hosts noteworthy class action prowess and a wealth of international experience, one interviewee reporting that its members "are recognised as being leaders in the field of commercial litigation." Dianne Strathdee manages the chambers.

Steven Finch SC is an "excellent all-rounder commercial litigation silk and a fierce advocate" whom one source identifies as "one of the most well-regarded members of the New South Wales Bar," while another characterises his manner as "persuasive rather than trying to bludgeon the court into submission." Recommended for cases in the insolvency, insurance and sports law spaces, he is also notably active in the financial services regulation sphere, being selected to act for Westpac in respect of ASIC's investigations into alleged manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

Anthony Bannon SC is singled out by a number of interviewees as a barrister deserving recognition as "one of the leading commercial silks in Sydney," not only in the intellectual property space, where his expertise is renowned, but also for his "high-profile corporate work" and much-admired handling of class actions more generally. He acted, for example, for the plaintiffs in Federal Court product liability class action proceedings against Johnson & Johnson.

James Lockhart SC is "an excellent commercial barrister who is very calm under pressure" and wins additional praise for outstanding court advocacy. Active in a variety of commercial law spheres, particularly where competition, insolvency or professional liability issues are involved, he acted for the defendant liquidators in a shareholder class action concerning the collapse of HIH Insurance and associated allegations of fraud and misleading conduct.

Matthew Darke SC inspires one interviewee to state: "He's a standout for competition, but he can turn his hand to anything," while a client who describes him as "highly professional and extremely sharp" adds: "I'm glad he was on my side." A popular choice for intellectual property and insolvency matters as well as competition cases, he appeared for Islamic superannuation fund Crescent Funds Management in Federal Court proceedings concerning a dispute with Crescent Capital Partners over the use of the word 'Crescent'.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

5 Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

This set, the oldest in Sydney, houses barristers with expertise ranging across the full commercial and public law spectrum and experience extending to the highest level in both Commonwealth and, on a pan-Australian basis, individual state courts. Within this varied offering, the set fields particularly noteworthy expertise in the administrative law, banking, equity and intellectual property spheres and is also broadening its capabilities in the media and defamation spaces. Chambers manager Trish Hoff is the recommended contact.

John Sheahan QC of 5 Wentworth Chambers maintains his high reputation as an "excellent leading silk" and an "outstanding counsel" at both first instance and appellate levels across "a range of commercial and regulatory disputes," and especially where banking and finance or insolvency issues are concerned. Also notably active as an arbitration counsel in construction matters and in competition disputes, he acted successfully for the ACCC in High Court appellate proceedings against two airlines found to have engaged in an air cargo cartel.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Over 70 Melbourne barristers are affiliated to this list specialising in commercial issues, providing both advocacy and advice on the fullest selection of disciplines and handling matters resolved by both litigation and arbitration. Operating within the versatile range of practice areas covered are barristers with especially highly praised skills in the banking and finance, construction, insolvency and taxation spheres. A key contact is barristers' clerk Tammy Young.

Charles Scerri SC (Castan Chambers) is an "excellent barrister" and "class action expert" whose enviably wide-ranging practice embraces expertise in a variety of sectors, including the consumer law, insolvency and life sciences spheres. He acted for the Ford Motor Company of Australia in class action proceedings alleging that the company had knowingly imported and sold or distributed vehicles with defective automatic transmissions.

Daniel Aghion (Chancery Chambers) is a highly experienced junior who often acts as lead counsel in cases covering disputes in such areas as insurance, professional negligence and real estate, lately acting for the vendor in a Victorian Supreme Court case concerning the sale of a AUD12 million parcel of land in Melbourne's Docklands area. A referee describes him as "focused, confident, prompt - and champing at the bit to get on with it."

Garry Bigmore QC (Lonsdale Chambers) offers extensive expertise in bankruptcy, insolvency and professional negligence and liability issues, is an accomplished handler of class action proceedings and is also known for his familiarity with the agribusiness sector.

Robert Heath (Chancery Chambers) is an "outstanding senior junior commercial barrister" with "a strong focus on evidence and case preparation" whom one referee identifies as "a first pick across a broad range of matters," sources further indicating that he is especially well regarded for his handling of anti-bribery and corruption and insurance issues. He acted unled for the respondent in Mimotopes Pty Ltd v Monash University, a leasing dispute which pitted him against both a silk and a fellow junior.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Highly regarded smaller set, long acknowledged for its impressive concentration of specialised, top-tier expertise, and home to two of the most versatile and respected advocates at the Sydney Bar. Offers especially seasoned expertise in the handling of appellate cases and also noted for prowess in administrative and constitutional matters equal to that attained in the commercial sphere.

Bret Walker SC is rated by many commentators as one of Australia's very best senior counsel, one source calling him "one of the top three in the country," and another identifying him as "the best on his feet of anyone I've ever seen." Sources also testify to the fact that he has "mastered all areas of Australian law and appears in a very wide range of cases" and to his being "second to none" in appellate matters. He acted for the Australian Labor Party in an extensively reported High Court action against assistant health minister David Gillespie on the grounds of his allegedly having an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth.

Noel Hutley SC is regularly identified as "one of Australia's leading silks," one interviewee calling him "a very top-end player and first port of call for hard cases," while other sources report that "he is highly commercial and a pragmatic and fearsome cross-examiner" and stress his excellence in trial and at appellate level. He acted for the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association in widely reported New South Wales Court of Appeal proceedings concerning liquidator Cliff Sanderson's challenge to a state Supreme Court judgment cutting his remuneration for a liquidation by more than half.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Operating from Owen Dixon Chambers in Melbourne, Foley's List traces its origins back to 1860 and is now co-owned and maintained by over 300 barristers who offer advocacy experience acquired in Australian and numerous foreign jurisdictions. In addition to a broad commercial law practice, including barristers with skills in banking and finance, environmental, property and taxation issues, the list is also noted for its concentration of Royal Commission-related expertise. Anna Bolger heads the marketing department and is a first point of contact for enquiries.

Justin Mereine (Owen Dixon Chambers West) acts prominently on complex commercial cases, often involving issues of banking and finance, corporate or insolvency law, winning the respect of commentators for his exceptionally thorough analysis and tenacious courtroom performance. He acted successfully for the administrators of the Koko Black Group in Supreme Court of Victoria proceedings brought to secure and sustain ex parte freezing orders against the company's former financial controller.

Robert Peters (Douglas Menzies' Chambers) offers over 30 years' litigation experience, 20 of which have been spent at the Bar. He practises widely in the commercial sphere, often acting in matters involving competition, insurance or professional negligence issues, and is respected for his excellent paperwork and tough but reasonable courtroom advocacy.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Level Twenty Seven Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Renowned Queensland set, identified by one interviewee as the state's "premier commercial chambers" and by another as "the very best in Brisbane," its nearly 40 members also making it the city's largest. Offering a comprehensive range of practice area capabilities, and members experienced in all forms of dispute resolution at state, Federal and international level, it is especially noted for its concentrations of expertise in the construction and insolvency spheres.

Shane Doyle QC is, in one interviewee's view, "quite clearly head and shoulders above everyone at the Queensland Bar," an opinion echoed by several other commentators, one of whom emphasises that he is "very calm under pressure, very skilled in presentation and can cut to the chase in a way that judges like." Widely acknowledged for his eminence in construction and insolvency matters, he is also active across a broad range of commercial disputes, acting for BHP Queensland Coal in a high-stakes state Land Court mining tenement compensation dispute with Cherwell Creek Coal.

Damian Clothier QC receives high praise from sources as one of Queensland's leading junior silks and the possessor of "outstanding analytical and advocacy skills," including a "devastatingly effective cross-examination" capability. Applauded for his adept handling of commercial litigation matters in general, and of banking and finance, construction and insolvency issues in particular, he acted successfully for one of the respondents in ASIC-initiated Federal Court proceedings against five former directors of failed company LM Investment Management.

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

Alan C Archibald QC

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Alan Archibald QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) continues to be acclaimed by many as "a legend of the Victorian Bar" and "a first choice for the most difficult, complex litigation," one interviewee calling him "unbelievably impressive - an absolute Rolls-Royce performer." He lately acted for long-standing client ANZ in respect of ASIC charges that the bank was involved in manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

David F Jackson QC

New Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

David Jackson QC commands "nothing but the highest respect" from his peers, one source calling him "an extremely senior silk with unparalleled experience," and another opining that he is "probably the leading counsel in Australia: he just has this formidable work ethic and presence - particularly in the High Court, where they really listen to him." He acted for businessman Clive Palmer in Palmer v Ayres, a widely reported case which addressed significant constitutional questions concerning judicial power.

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Allan Myers QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) maintains his reputation as "one of the best barristers in Australia in any field," sources citing his "almost unequalled experience and enormous gravitas," "excellent courtcraft and extraordinary economy of expression." Renowned for his ability to handle cases in all areas of the law and involving businesses and organisations of all kinds, he is especially highly recommended for appellate matters, lately acting for a number of Pizza Hut franchisees in a widely reported Federal Court appeal against the decision in a previous class action that they had brought against former franchisor Yum! Brands.

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Bret Walker SC is rated by many commentators as one of Australia's very best senior counsel, one source calling him "one of the top three in the country," and another identifying him as "the best on his feet of anyone I've ever seen." Sources also testify to the fact that he has "mastered all areas of Australian law and appears in a very wide range of cases" and to his being "second to none" in appellate matters. He acted for the Australian Labor Party in an extensively reported High Court action against assistant health minister David Gillespie on the grounds of his allegedly having an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth. 

^ See whole ranking table

Star Individuals

Greens List Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

The position of Neil Young QC of Greens List Barristers (Ninian Stephen Chambers) as "absolutely one of the best" barristers in Australia is enthusiastically endorsed by several sources, one of whom calls him "a first-rate mind and great tactical thinker," while another calls him an "incredibly impressive" performer who "leaves no stone unturned, no point unmade." Well known for his ability to turn his hand to any kind of case and rated by one source as "one of the top three appellate advocates in the country," he acted for  CrownBet in Australian Competition Tribunal hearings concerning the proposed AUD11 billion merger of Tabcorp and Tatts.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Eleven Wentworth

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Andrew Bell SC enjoys long-standing recognition as "one of the leading silks in the country, who gets involved in a broad range of matters," including issues in sectors as varied as construction, employment, financial services and intellectual property, one source characterising him as a "brilliant mind and advocate who presented extremely well in respect of extremely complex arguments." He acted for Lanco Infratech in a Western Australia Supreme Court action against KordaMentha, brought on the alleged grounds that the latter engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in respect of the true state of Griffin Coal's mining reserves when Lanco acquired Griffin in 2010.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Peter Brereton SC

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Peter Brereton SC is renowned for the versatility of his commercial litigation practice, which covers such sectors as energy and resources, financial services and the media and lately included representation of Volkswagen in class action and ACCC-initiated Federal Court proceedings arising out of the diesel emissions scandal. Sources report that he is "quick to grasp difficult concepts, excellent at client management and calm under pressure," one interviewee observing that his frequent engagement on notably tough or sensitive mandates "shows how highly regarded he is."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Level Twenty Seven Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Shane Doyle QC is, in one interviewee's view, "quite clearly head and shoulders above everyone at the Queensland Bar," an opinion echoed by several other commentators, one of whom emphasises that he is "very calm under pressure, very skilled in presentation and can cut to the chase in a way that judges like." Widely acknowledged for his eminence in construction and insolvency matters, he is also active across a broad range of commercial disputes, acting for BHP Queensland Coal in a high-stakes state Land Court mining tenement compensation dispute with Cherwell Creek Coal.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Steven Finch SC is an "excellent all-rounder commercial litigation silk and a fierce advocate" whom one source identifies as "one of the most well-regarded members of the New South Wales Bar," while another characterises his manner as "persuasive rather than trying to bludgeon the court into submission." Recommended for cases in the insolvency, insurance and sports law spaces, he is also notably active in the financial services regulation sphere, being selected to act for Westpac in respect of ASIC's investigations into alleged manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate. 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Fifth Floor St James' Hall Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Noel Hutley SC is regularly identified as "one of Australia's leading silks," one interviewee calling him "a very top-end player and first port of call for hard cases," while other sources report that "he is highly commercial and a pragmatic and fearsome cross-examiner" and stress his excellence in trial and at appellate level. He acted for the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association in widely reported New South Wales Court of Appeal proceedings concerning liquidator Cliff Sanderson's challenge to a state Supreme Court judgment cutting his remuneration for a liquidation by more than half.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

8th Floor Selborne Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Ian Jackman SC of 8th Floor Selborne Chambers is singled out as a go-to barrister for more than one instructing firm, one interviewee describing him as "the silk I rate most highly - very good, very commercial and super-concise. I always try to have him in something." "Excellent on financial services matters" in general, acknowledged for his eminence in insolvency and regulatory issues in particular, he is also a noted practitioner in the insurance and intellectual property spaces.   

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Gordon & Jackson's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

John Karkar QC of Gordon & Jackson's List (Aickin Chambers) is consistently identified as one of the Victorian Bar's leading counsel, one source describing him as "very experienced and shrewd, a skilled litigation strategist and courtroom tactician and a ruthless cross-examiner." Offering comprehensive commercial litigation experience, he receives special notice for his work in the financial services and insurance sector, for his work on anti-bribery and corruption issues and his handling of first instance trials. He acted for ASIC in Federal Court litigation concerning alleged rigging of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Charles Scerri QC

Young's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Charles Scerri SC (Castan Chambers) is an "excellent barrister" and "class action expert" whose enviably wide-ranging practice embraces expertise in a variety of sectors, including the consumer law, insolvency and life sciences spheres. He acted for the Ford Motor Company of Australia in class action proceedings alleging that the company had knowingly imported and sold or distributed vehicles with defective automatic transmissions.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

5 Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

John Sheahan QC of 5 Wentworth Chambers maintains his high reputation as an "excellent leading silk" and an "outstanding counsel" at both first instance and appellate levels across "a range of commercial and regulatory disputes," and especially where banking and finance or insolvency issues are concerned. Also notably active as an arbitration counsel in construction matters and in competition disputes, he acted successfully for the ACCC in High Court appellate proceedings against two airlines found to have engaged in an air cargo cartel.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Robert Dick SC is especially well known as an adept handler of insolvency-related matters, but also acts on a variety of commercial issues, including competition and sports law cases and matters of international law, and lately acted in a number of arbitrations arising from disputes in the construction sector. Sources regularly cite his wide experience, thoroughness, clarity of approach and tenacious advocacy.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Eleven Wentworth

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Jeremy Kirk SC is reported to be "regarded as one of the best public and administrative lawyers in Australia." Sources also emphasise his advocacy experience at High Court level and his high levels of capability in such diverse areas as competition, employment, environmental and life sciences matters, with one source active in the competition space identifying him as "our silk of choice in Sydney." He acted for KPMG in a Federal Court class action - settled the day before the trial began - concerning the collapse of the Allco Finance Group.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Richard McHugh SC

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Richard McHugh SC is acclaimed as an "extremely smart, highly sought after and very busy barrister who moves readily between areas of practice" and who comes across in court as "intelligent, quick and determined to win." Within his very broad commercial range, he maintains a particularly noteworthy focus on issues of alleged accountants' or auditors' negligence, regularly appearing on behalf of such clients as Deloitte, KPMG and PwC, in addition to high-profile work in the defamation and financial services regulatory space.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Anthony Bannon SC

Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Anthony Bannon SC is singled out by a number of interviewees as a barrister deserving recognition as "one of the leading commercial silks in Sydney," not only in the intellectual property space, where his expertise is renowned, but also for his "high-profile corporate work" and much-admired handling of class actions more generally. He acted, for example, for the plaintiffs in Federal Court product liability class action proceedings against Johnson & Johnson.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Young's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Garry Bigmore QC (Lonsdale Chambers) offers extensive expertise in bankruptcy, insolvency and professional negligence and liability issues, is an accomplished handler of class action proceedings and is also known for his familiarity with the agribusiness sector.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Christopher Caleo QC

Dever's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Christopher Caleo QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) advocates prominently in class actions, in contractual disputes and insurance-related cases and, increasingly, on appellate matters. Sources view him as "extremely bright and able," one interviewee numbering him among "the best barristers in Melbourne." He acted as leading counsel for five former officers of minerals company Oxiana in a Federal Court class action arising out of the 2008 creation of OZ Minerals, which settled on the first day of court proceedings.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Damian Clothier QC

Level Twenty Seven Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Damian Clothier QC receives high praise from sources as one of Queensland's leading junior silks and the possessor of "outstanding analytical and advocacy skills," including a "devastatingly effective cross-examination" capability. Applauded for his adept handling of commercial litigation matters in general, and of banking and finance, construction and insolvency issues in particular, he acted successfully for one of the respondents in ASIC-initiated Federal Court proceedings against five former directors of failed company LM Investment Management.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Francis Burt Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Craig Colvin SC is widely acclaimed as "a leader at the Perth Bar" and an "outstanding all-rounder," one interviewee characterising him as "an effective, approachable go-to silk who grasps facts and issues quickly and gives good advice," while another, who acknowledges and endorses this high reputation, adds that he is "a very client-friendly, down-to-earth guy who encourages you to ask questions." He lately acted for Samsung C&T in a resources-related dispute with Duro Felguera Australia.  

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Philip Crutchfield QC

Dever's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Philip Crutchfield QC (Owen Dixon Chambers West) commands widespread respect at the Victorian Bar as a "very popular, very busy and very impressive" silk who "made his name in restructuring and insolvency, but broadened his practice" to embrace a comprehensive range of commercial, public and taxation law issues and who "always does a good job." Admired for his regular application of an in-depth knowledge of the corporate/M&A scene to his cases, he acted for businessman Simon Crowe in a widely reported Federal Court dispute with former partner Geoff Bainbridge over ownership of the popular burger bar chain Grill'd.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Kanaga Dharmananda SC

Quayside Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Kanaga Dharmananda SC of Quayside Chambers in Perth is described as a "market-leading senior counsel in all forms of dispute resolution," an opinion supported by his prominence on the international arbitration scene as well as on litigation mandates in the anti-bribery and corruption, construction, energy and resources and insolvency spaces. Further characterised as "calm and authoritative" and "extremely intelligent, hard-working and solicitor-friendly," he lately acted for former Australian Wheat Board chair Trevor Flugge in Victorian Supreme Court proceedings concerning the Iraq food-for-oil scandal which cleared Flugge of dishonesty and imposed a fine substantially smaller than the AUD200,000 requested by ASIC.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Wendy A Harris QC

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Wendy Harris QC (Aickin Chambers) receives highly positive comment from interviewees, one source noting that she "does an excellent job in the context of class actions and in handling cases in the High Court," and she is further singled out for her "particular expertise in successfully defending securities class actions." She acted for National Australia Bank in Federal Court proceedings brought by ASIC with regard to alleged manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Gerard Brennan Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Liam Kelly QC of Gerard Brennan Chambers commands increasing respect in the market, one source dubbing him "one of the new leaders of the Queensland Bar," and another identifying him as "one of my three go-to barristers and knocking on the elite group door." He receives further acknowledgement as "a challenging opponent" in court and a highly effective handler of a variety of commercial cases, notably including those involving construction, energy and resources and insolvency issues, and acted for the Australia Pacific LNG consortium in Supreme Court of Queensland litigation concerning a dispute with the state Treasury over petroleum royalties.     

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

James Lockhart SC

Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

James Lockhart SC is "an excellent commercial barrister who is very calm under pressure" and wins additional praise for outstanding court advocacy. Active in a variety of commercial law spheres, particularly where competition, insolvency or professional liability issues are involved, he acted for the defendant liquidators in a shareholder class action concerning the collapse of HIH Insurance and associated allegations of fraud and misleading conduct. 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Michael O'Bryan QC

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Michael O'Bryan QC (Aickin Chambers) is the recipient of praise from instructing solicitors, fellow barristers and clients, sources describing him as a "calm under pressure sort of guy" with an enviable style and presence in court, in addition to being "very strategic, very bright and an extremely good communicator." Especially highly recommended for his expertise in both competition and energy and resources matters, he co-led a team of eight barristers in Australian Competition Tribunal proceedings concerning an application by New South Wales electricity distributors for a review of a decision by the Australian Energy Regulator to fix their allowed revenue.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Norman O'Bryan SC

List T

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Norman O'Bryan SC of List T (Melbourne Chambers) is an "excellent senior counsel" and "brilliant advocate," highly respected for his knowledge of company and securities law and frequently instructed on prominent competition and anti-bribery and corruption cases. He acted for the ACCC in Federal Court proceedings against Woolworths in which the regulator alleged that the supermarket acted unconscionably, unreasonably and unfairly in respect of so-called 'Mind the Gap' payments it demanded from suppliers in 2014 and 2015.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Patricia Cahill SC

Francis Burt Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Patricia Cahill SC is highly rated by sources for several sterling qualities, one interviewee noting that she "gets on top of matters quickly, is good with advice and makes an effective advocate and excellent trial barrister," another adding that in the last of these roles she is also regarded as "one of best cross-examiners at the Perth Bar." Respected both as a general litigator and for special expertise in the construction, insolvency, insurance and taxation spaces, she acted for Inpex in Northern Territory Supreme Court proceedings concerning its dispute with Halikos Hospitality over an alleged agreement that the latter would supply accommodation for hundreds of workers on the former's Ichthys project.       

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Elizabeth Cheeseman SC

New Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Elizabeth Cheeseman SC is "highly recommended" for her "noted financial services expertise," and acts regularly for the Australian Federal Police and other Commonwealth government bodies on tax fraud and proceeds of crime cases, one source stressing in particular the thoroughness of her preparation and the "maturity and dignity" of her presentation. She also acted successfully for a number of New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption members in state Supreme Court proceedings brought by former minister Eddie Obeid and three of his sons alleging misfeasance in public office and denial of procedural fairness on the part of Commission officers.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Matthew Collins QC

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Matthew Collins QC (Aickin Chambers) is renowned for his expertise in defamation matters, lately representing actress Rebel Wilson in a Victorian Supreme Court action against a number of magazines which had allegedly insinuated that she was a serial liar. One interviewee, who emphasises his advocacy and client care skills in particular, calls him "the best media barrister in Australia." He is also prominent in competition and class action cases. 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Tenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Matthew Darke SC inspires one interviewee to state: "He's a standout for competition, but he can turn his hand to anything," while a client who describes him as "highly professional and extremely sharp" adds: "I'm glad he was on my side." A popular choice for intellectual property and insolvency matters as well as competition cases, he appeared for Islamic superannuation fund Crescent Funds Management in Federal Court proceedings concerning a dispute with Crescent Capital Partners over the use of the word 'Crescent'.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Brahma Dharmananda SC

Quayside Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Brahma Dharmananda SC of Perth's Quayside Chambers draws praise from several sources for numerous qualities, being identified not only as an "exceptionally capable legal analyst and a go-to for serious litigation," but also for swift but thorough preparation, a "formidable intellect" and "excellent work." Active across Australia in both litigated and arbitrated cases and notably experienced in the handling of matters in the construction, financial services and resources sectors, he served as a key member of the team representing Rio Tinto subsidiary Hamersley Iron with regard to a number of disputes arising out of the Forge Group liquidation.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

7 Wentworth Selborne

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Jeremy Giles SC of 7 Wentworth Selborne is a "very capable and very smart" silk, described as "highly service-oriented and highly recommended" by one instructing firm and particularly well regarded for his work in the real estate and anti-bribery and corruption spheres. He acted for the receivers in New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings arising out of the collapse of consumer electronics giant Dick Smith.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Bar Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Mark Hoffmann QC of Bar Chambers in Adelaide attracts increasing notice from commentators who speak of him as a "leading counsel for commercial, banking and insolvency work in Adelaide" and as "a seriously able, hard-working barrister," tipped by one interviewee as a future leader of the South Australian Bar and also noted for his frequent involvement in interstate matters. He acted for HYLC, builders of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital in state Supreme Court proceedings initiated by the South Australian government in connection with alleged building defects.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

List G Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Peter Jopling QC of List G Barristers (Aickin Chambers) is singled out by one interviewee as "the first silk I'd call without hesitation, whatever the matter," the same source going on to report that he is "outstanding on his feet, well regarded by judges and good at making a quick call on a matter." Known for his handling of large and complex matters, including class actions, and for particular expertise in the financial services and insurance spheres, he acted for Westpac with regard to its involvement in the dispute between property developer Luke Saraceni and Bankwest over the troubled Raine Square project in Perth.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Gerard Brennan Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Declan Kelly QC of Gerard Brennan Chambers is acknowledged as an "excellent all-round performer" and as a "dedicated, service-oriented leading member of the junior brigade of silks" in Queensland, sources also describing him as "a challenging opponent who argues cases well" in the courtroom. Noted for expertise in a number of areas, including construction, intellectual property and trade practices, he acted for Qube Logistics in Supreme Court of Queensland litigation against Mackay Sugar for alleged underpayment of trucking bills.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

New Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

David McLure SC is respected as an "effective communicator and excellent strategist" who "has obtained fantastic results in reputational matters and in misconduct cases." Sources also recommend him for expertise in insurance, taxation and sports law issues. He acted for the commissioner of the Australian Federal Police in widely reported New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings against a number of individuals, including a deputy commissioner of taxation in respect of a AUD165 million tax fraud.   

 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Robert Newlinds SC

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Robert Newlinds SC is the head of chambers and acts across a very wide range of commercial, corporate and insolvency-related issues in all Australian jurisdictions, one interviewee saying of him: "He's a very good counsel and a very effective cross-examiner with a robust style which was critical to the case in question. I would certainly rate him very highly." He represented former politician Eddie Obeid in extensively publicised New South Wales Supreme Court litigation challenging an Independent Commission Against Corruption finding that the latter had engaged in corrupt conduct.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Dever's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

James Peters QC (Aickin Chambers) has handled complex commercial disputes, both at first instance and at appellate level for over 30 years, focusing closely on financial services, insolvency and consumer law disputes, lately acting successfully for financial services group IOOF in securing an injunction in the Victorian Supreme Court preventing the launching of a class action against it. Sources describe him as a "well-rounded, very impressive and busy silk" and a "strong, fearless advocate."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Eleven Wentworth

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Ian Pike SC is especially well known for his handling of cases involving competition, insolvency or white-collar crime issues and seen by sources as "very commercial in his advice, very accessible and user-friendly" and "very good for trial work." He acted successfully for two individuals acting as administrators to companies founded by property developer Salim Mehajer in New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings brought by Mr Mehajer with a view to removing them.   

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Eleven Wentworth

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Kelly Rees SC is "a very experienced commercial litigator who is very well regarded by both silks and juniors" and "regularly briefed by top-tier law firms," more than one source identifying her status as a "fantastic cross-examiner of really good directness" as a key asset. Operating a broadly based practice, covering, among others, the insurance and real property sectors, she offers especially well-honed expertise in white-collar crime matters and on commissions of inquiry, lately acting for the Star Casino in an investigation by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority which approved a continuation of the casino's licence.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Philip Solomon QC

Dever's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Philip Solomon QC (Chancery Chambers) is "very well regarded" as a "very good and very thorough advocate" in general terms and as a "leading appellate silk" in particular, one interviewee describing him as "excellent - the Neil Young of the future." Particularly well thought of for his insurance expertise and active on an extensive variety of commercial and common law issues, he acted for ANZ in a Victoria Supreme Court action brought by Pankaj and Radhika Oswal in connection with the enforced sale of their controlling stake in Burrup fertilisers.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Kristina Stern SC

Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Kristina Stern SC of Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers is characterised by sources as a "leading administrative law and product liability litigation silk" with particularly "excellent knowledge of the regulatory framework for therapeutic goods." She offers extensive experience in the high-level representation of government bodies in both Australia and the UK and acted as counsel assisting the coroner in the widely reported inquest into the accidental death of cricketer Phillip Hughes in 2014.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Gavin (Sandy) Thompson QC

Gerard Brennan Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Gavin (Sandy) Thompson QC of Gerard Brennan Chambers is described by sources as a "very smart, very experienced and very well regarded" senior silk, noted for his "excellent technical skills" and "responsive and intuitive" manner, and especially highly valued as a barrister who is "willing to get into the trenches with you." Particularly recommended for briefs in the construction, natural resources and transportation sectors, he acted for Fluor Australia in a Supreme Court of Queensland dispute with Santos concerning LNG infrastructure construction.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Robert John Whitington QC

Hanson Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Dick Whitington QC of Hanson Chambers is hailed by one interviewee as "without question the leader of the Adelaide Bar" and the barrister "people would be looking to brief for anything big in Adelaide," while another concurs that "he knows the jurisdiction inside out" and is "a tough court opponent, especially in cross-examination." Although he is particularly well known for his handling of South Australian media matters, his practice and geographical range are impressively broad, lately including the representation of Halikos Hospitality in a widely reported dispute with Inpex over an alleged workers' accommodation agreement, considered by the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Pat Zappia QC (Chancery Chambers) maintains a broad, national practice which touches frequently on competition, insurance and energy and resources-related issues, sources noting that he is "justifiably highly rated" and praising his skilled handling of class actions. He acted successfully for mining magnate Clive Palmer in Western Australian Supreme Court interlocutory proceedings which ruled that Chinese conglomerate Citic should make a substantial royalty payment to his Mineralogy company. 

^ See whole ranking table

New Silk

Michael Borsky QC

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Michael Borsky QC (Ninian Stephen Chambers) is a new silk and competition law specialist identified by more than a number of interviewees as a worthy addition to the rankings, one source observing: "He's terrific: a very clever, very good team player with an eye for detail." He appeared for Flight Centre in Full Federal and High Court appellate proceedings concerning its dispute with the ACCC over alleged price fixing in the air travel industry.

^ See whole ranking table

New Silk

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Sandy Dawson QC is characterised by sources as a "new senior counsel and exceptional advocate" with a notably "strong practice" where media matters in general and defamation issues in particular are concerned. He acted for Seven West Media in widely reported New South Wales Supreme Court proceedings concerning a dispute with former employee Amber Harrison which ended with Harrison discontinuing all legal action against the company and agreeing to comply with its proposed gagging order.

^ See whole ranking table

New Silk

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Ruth Higgins SC lately took silk and attracts highly enthusiastic comment from both fellow barristers and other lawyers, one of the former identifying her as "without question one of the go-to counsel for larger matters" while one of the latter recommends her for "complex and high-stakes work," adding that "she lifts the game of all instructing solicitors." Notably active in the insolvency, intellectual property and regulatory fields, she receives particularly high praise for her work in the competition space and has appeared for the ACCC in several matters, including a successful High Court case against Flight Centre concerning air fare price fixing.     

^ See whole ranking table

New Silk

Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Scott Nixon SC of Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers is a newly minted silk recommended by firms for a wide range of commercial litigation briefs, notably including matters arising in the competition, financial services regulation and insolvency spaces. He also offers specialist knowledge of professional negligence issues.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Fifth Floor Selborne

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Peter Wood of Fifth Floor Selborne is a revered senior junior with extensive banking and finance, competition and insolvency expertise. He acted for grocers Harris Farm in a New South Wales Supreme Court dispute with Woolworths over rights of refusal to a valuable retail lease at a Sydney shopping centre. One source says of him: "Peter is highly regarded and trusted by the Bench, famed for being meticulous and methodical in his preparation, highly responsive, and direct. You know exactly where you stand with Wood."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Eleven Wentworth

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Alan Shearer's versatile practice covers both the commercial and administrative spheres and includes notable experience in the financial services, property and telecommunications sectors. Described by one source as "a rising star of the Sydney Bar who frequently leads matters for government agencies," he served as a member of the team that successfully defended Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and CIMB in Supreme Court of New South Wales proceedings in which it was alleged that they had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in respect of Primary Healthcare's 2008 takeover of Symbion Healthcare.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Young's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Daniel Aghion (Chancery Chambers) is a highly experienced junior who often acts as lead counsel in cases covering disputes in such areas as insurance, professional negligence and real estate, lately acting for the vendor in a Victorian Supreme Court case concerning the sale of a AUD12 million parcel of land in Melbourne's Docklands area. A referee describes him as "focused, confident, prompt - and champing at the bit to get on with it."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Eleven Wentworth

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Justin Williams is characterised by one source as "a leading junior counsel in commercial litigation who is retained by leading firms" and by another as an "intelligent, commercial and approachable" barrister. Particularly well known for his insolvency-related expertise and knowledge of the banking sector, he is also prominent in cases involving insurance or professional liability issues.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Farid Assaf is especially recommended for Corporations Act and insolvency-related matters, drawing special praise for his "excellent attention to detail, preparation and strategy," one interviewee emphasising in particular "the level of effort he puts into analysing what the issues are" and the quality of his "very thoughtful and considered advice." He acted for Philip Cave, a former non-executive director and chair of the popular consumer electronic goods chain Dick Smith, in litigation generated by the company's failure early in 2016 and alleging breaches of director's duties. 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Catherine G. Button

List A Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Catherine Button (Ninian Stephen Chambers) is warmly recommended by a referee as "an excellent, incisive advocate" who is "a genuine all-rounder when it comes to commercial law" and "a safe pair of hands in high-stakes litigation." Particularly noted for her class action expertise, she attracted attention representing Consumer Affairs Australia in Federal Court proceedings against controversial health blogger Belle Gibson.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Aickin Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Robert Craig of Aickin Chambers is identified by interviewees as one of the outstanding junior barristers of his call, peers "speaking very highly of his work" and praising him both for his approachability and as a counsel "who certainly knows his stuff." Well known for his work in the construction and insolvency spaces and for class action expertise, he acted for OZ Minerals in a widely reported Federal Court class action arising out of the 2008 merger of Oxiana and Zinifex which created the company.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

List G Barristers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Marita Foley of List G Barristers (Castan Chambers) focuses closely on often interrelated land acquisition, planning and environmental issues, acting on major infrastructural matters involving Victorian government agencies - as in the case of her representation of the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority in assessment committee hearings and discussions of compulsory acquisitions supporting the development of the city's Metro Rail Project. Sources report her to be an "excellent junior counsel," noted for her careful preparation and insightful advice, one interviewee stating: "I felt comfortable that my case would be well managed and that my views would be listened to and actioned by Marita."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Young's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Robert Heath (Chancery Chambers) is an "outstanding senior junior commercial barrister" with "a strong focus on evidence and case preparation" whom one referee identifies as "a first pick across a broad range of matters," sources further indicating that he is especially well regarded for his handling of anti-bribery and corruption and insurance issues. He acted unled for the respondent in Mimotopes Pty Ltd v Monash University, a leasing dispute which pitted him against both a silk and a fellow junior.

 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Foley's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Justin Mereine (Owen Dixon Chambers West) acts prominently on complex commercial cases, often involving issues of banking and finance, corporate or insolvency law, winning the respect of commentators for his exceptionally thorough analysis and tenacious courtroom performance. He acted successfully for the administrators of the Koko Black Group in Supreme Court of Victoria proceedings brought to secure and sustain ex parte freezing orders against the company's former financial controller. 

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Foley's List

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Robert Peters (Douglas Menzies' Chambers) offers over 30 years' litigation experience, 20 of which have been spent at the Bar. He practises widely in the commercial sphere, often acting in matters involving competition, insurance or professional negligence issues, and is respected for his excellent paperwork and tough but reasonable courtroom advocacy.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 4

Banco Chambers

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Fiona Roughley commands an enviable reputation as one of Australia's foremost junior barristers, one source describing her as "intelligent and thoughtful, pragmatic in approach and an excellent advocate in court." Active in the anti-bribery and corruption, insolvency and insurance spheres, she acted for Westpac in Supreme Court of New South Wales litigation of a dispute with Southern Environmental Services.

^ See whole ranking table