Skip to content

Dever's List

Dispute Resolution: The Bar

12 ranked barristersBand 3AustraliaGlobal 2021 View ranking table

Chambers Review

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

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 2,200 barristers, offering expertise across more than 60 practice areas. Among them are to be found some of Australia's leading appellate advocates as well as eminent practitioners in the employment, 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 is characterised by one interviewee as a "first-class lawyer and advocate," noted for his "very measured approach and delivery" and, as another source puts it, "for quietly doing a very effective job." A third commentator stresses his "very strong intellect and good judgement" and the fact that he "engages with the detail of a matter at a very deep level." His broad practice covers not only general commercial, competition and professional negligence issues, but also questions of administrative law, it being observed that "he is as well able to deal with commercial complexity as with the machinations of government."

David Shavin QC is "unquestionably one of the leading practitioners in the IP space, and one of the most experienced," enjoying both a national and a regional reputation for his work. Best known for his work on patent cases - though also an experienced handler of trade mark issues - he offers particularly focused expertise on pharmaceutical matters and questions of what materials can legitimately be regarded as patentable. It is also reported that "in terms of advocacy skills in court, he's excellent."

Eugene Wheelahan QC is identified as an "exceptional barrister" by one source, while another describes him, not only as a "rising star" of the tax Bar, but also as an exemplar of "the new generation of silks in Victoria." His expertise when it comes to the handling of anti-avoidance or transfer pricing disputes receives particularly strong recommendation.

James Peters QC is a "highly regarded senior counsel," identified by more than one source as "one of the most accomplished practitioners at the Melbourne Bar," with extensive experience across a broad range of disciplines, including consumer law, insolvency and regulatory issues as well as general commercial cases. As a court advocate, "he has gravitas, can tell the story and delivers."

Kathleen Foley handles both complex commercial and significant public law matters, her experience in the latter sphere including numerous High Court appearances. In the commercial space, she is especially noted for her involvement - on both plaintiff and defendant sides - in cases concerning the conduct of individual executives.

The view that Matthew Follett is "easily the standout" among juniors at the Melbourne employment Bar is expressed by more than one interviewee, there being a similar level of agreement that he is both "brilliant and on all the major matters nowadays." He acts for employers across the full range of general employment and industrial relations issues, offering particularly notable experience of handling issues arising in the construction, engineering, resources and transportation sectors.

Patrick Wheelahan draws praise for the versatility of his employment practice, covering not only general employment but also industrial relations and discrimination issues, across an impressively varied range of business sectors. Interviewees regularly cite his vast fund of experience as one of his key attributes.

Philip Crutchfield QC attracts praise as a "leading corporate and restructuring and insolvency silk," his expertise in the latter area attracting especially high praise, with interviewees referring to him as "a top name, who turns up in all the big insolvency cases" and is operating "at the top of his game." One source speaks of him more generally as "an outstanding, very commercial advocate with an unsurpassed intellect" who maintains a high level of responsiveness, despite being "extremely sought after and busy." In addition to his general commercial and insolvency work, he also handles insurance, intellectual property and taxation-related briefs.

Philip Solomon QC is admired as "a brilliant barrister who can absorb really complex subject matter and distil it into very simple propositions," an enviable advantage for an advocate who, as the same source points out, often handles matters involving "complex financial evidence." Acclaimed as "good on loss and damage issues," a go-to for appellate briefs and a "crisp, clear and concise" advocate, he is further reported to be "disarming, but impeccably fair in his approach."

Richard Dalton QC operates "a high-quality employment practice," one source describing him as "a leading workplace law barrister who has deep technical legal expertise and very strong advocacy skills" and particularly noting his work on behalf of clients involved in dealings with the Fair Work Ombudsman. He is also identified as a "pre-eminent counsel in appellate industrial matters" before both courts and other tribunals.

Sturt Glacken QC is generally acclaimed as a pre-eminent practitioner at the native title Bar, being identified by one interviewee as "the top silk on the traditional owner side," with a particularly impressive track record in the representation of land councils. Another source characterises him as "a well-regarded, technical operator who's particularly strong on appellate work and in complicated fact and law situations."

This page contains Chambers Research content only

Ranked departments can:
  • License the use of Chambers content
  • Access Research Analytics
  • Tailor profile information

View other sets ranked in this practice area

View ranking table

Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)


Dispute Resolution: The Bar

Christopher Caleo QC
Band 3
James Peters QC
Band 4
Philip Crutchfield QC
Band 2
Philip Solomon QC
Band 3

Employment: The Bar

Patrick J Wheelahan QC
New Silks
Richard Dalton QC
Band 2

6 of 12 results