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List G Barristers

Dispute Resolution

17 ranked barristersBand 2AustraliaGlobal 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.

This substantial Melbourne offering, mustering over 130 counsel, focuses principally on commercial and public law issues and commands respect in the market for its "diverse range of impressive senior and junior counsel" and maintenance of "a good balance of youth and experience, both male and female." The list brings together advocates with particularly impressive track records in such specialised areas as employment, native title and shipping, as well as those maintaining broader commercial practices, and it attracts especially high praise for having assembled a notable cohort of IP practitioners. Several individual members are identified as "leaders of the Bar," and the list as a whole is called "one of the best in the country" by one interviewee. CEO and senior clerk Jane King is the principal contact.

Andrew Pollock is widely viewed as a highly promising up-and-comer in the employment sphere. One instructing solicitor identifies him as "our number one choice at junior counsel level" and praises his "willingness to get on the front foot and push a solution," while another agrees, noting that he "thinks outside the box to come up with arguments and solutions," and adding: "His submissions are always excellent and he is across all the issues." He acts principally for employers on such issues as enterprise bargaining, industrial action and the consequences of major restructures, handling both contentious and advisory mandates.

Anthony Neal QC maintains a 360-degree native title practice which incorporates not only the representation of both proponent and traditional owner parties, but also that of relevant government bodies as well. A source who "wouldn't hesitate to recommend him" notes that a particularly difficult recent case "would have been difficult to settle had it not been for his skills."

Operating across the IP spectrum, Clare Cunliffe is particularly well known for her "encyclopedic knowledge of patent law and patent decisions in Australia and beyond, and her ability to bring that knowledge to bear in cases." This makes her "a first choice for large, complex patent infringement and validity proceedings," it being further noted that "leading IP senior counsel tend to choose her as their junior." More than one interviewee places her in the front rank of junior counsel practising at the IP Bar.

Colin Golvan QC practises across the full range of IP disciplines, his versatility being illustrated by the fact that he is described by one source as a highly successful "leader of the copyright Bar" and identified by another as "a trade mark specialist," while a third alludes to his track record of "good patent litigation." Another interviewee reports: "In addition to being incredibly experienced, he is very practical and sensible in his management of matters."

David Yarrow offers experience in the native title space dating back to 1994 and is acclaimed as an "incredibly competent and effective junior counsel" in the space, whose "exceptional grasp of the concepts underpinning native title" is complemented by his presentation of "concise and courteous arguments in court" and "timely and strategic case management." He represents indigenous groups across a broad range of mandates, including determination applications, claims-related litigation and other disputes.

Hamish Austin QC operates a versatile practice in which insolvency and transport issues - particularly shipping - feature especially prominently. In the insolvency sphere, he offers experience of litigation arising out of some of the most noteworthy Australian corporate collapses of recent years, and he is praised for "a tendency to get to the heart of the issues very quickly, an ability to focus attention where it's needed, and a clear and direct style of advocacy." On maritime matters, "he has always been very sharp at spotting commercial angles for his clients and ways in which his advice might impact on commerciality" and is further identified as a barrister to whom the largest matters may safely be entrusted.

Jeremy Slattery SC is noted as "one of the best commercial barristers in Melbourne" by a source who goes on to identify "his ability to distil complex legal issues into a focused and persuasive legal argument" as "a key strength." Another commentator especially praises his collaborative engagement with colleagues, "to ensure that as many views as possible are brought to bear on a particular matter for the client's ultimate benefit," complemented by "an excellent manner in court – fair and firm, but conciliatory when required." His wide-ranging practice often addresses competition, intellectual property or professional negligence issues.

Luke Merrick is almost universally acknowledged to be "one of the pre-eminent junior counsel at the IP Bar," drawing praise for his work in all areas of the discipline but enjoying particular veneration as a "trade mark guru." One source, whose remarks are widely echoed by others, says: "He's an exceptional advocate, terrific both on his feet and in writing. He's able to distil complex legal and technical material for clients to understand in a very easy way, and there's often a race to brief him because he's a barrister of choice for several major law firms."

Marita Foley SC is renowned for her comprehensive expertise in the fields of planning, environment and land acquisition, one source observing that her "great experience across all aspects" of these areas equips her particularly well to "provide good practical insight." Another identifies a wealth of qualities, calling her "a very smart strategist with the rare ability to see the minutiae of detail as well as the big picture" and noting that "she brings impeccable advocacy skills, humour and resilience and a willingness to make hard decisions to her work." Often instructed in connection with major Victorian infrastructural developments, she also advises extensively on the consequences of large, environmentally damaging incidents.

Martin Scott QC devotes much of his practice to transport and shipping-related cases, matters involving major shipping casualties featuring particularly prominently. "Highly regarded for his knowledge, experience and attentiveness to detail," he is also hailed by one interviewee as "a tremendous problem solver," the same source adding: "You can take a complicated issue to him and he is usually able to find an angle on, or a way to, a solution."

Matthew Harvey QC wins praise from sources, not only for bringing "a very deep intellect to his analysis of any maritime matter," but also for "his ability to communicate unique and complex maritime law issues to clients and judges who are less familiar with the area." This latter observation may be linked to others which describe him as "extremely good on his feet in court," "confident and convincing when presenting an argument" and "excellent at getting to the heart of a complex matter and determining the key issues that will decide the case."

That Peter Creighton-Selvay is "one of Australia's leading junior IP counsel" across all areas of the discipline is a view commonly expressed by sources, one of whom calls him "the top IP junior at the moment, whom I use in preference to any other," going on to cite his "impeccable paperwork, and cross-examination skills better than those of many silks." Another contributor, who describes him as "a strong black-letter lawyer and eloquent advocate," notes that he is especially sought after for trade mark cases.

Peter Jopling AM QC is known for his "busy and very impressive commercial" practice, exercised across a broad range of practice areas but applied particularly frequently on behalf of clients from the financial services sector. A source notes: "He has all the skills of a top commercial silk, with the addition of an unrivalled ability to engage with clients and explain critical legal issues and outcomes to them in simple terms."

Rachel Doyle SC is generally acknowledged as a barrister "of the highest quality" and a "leader of the Bar" where employment matters are concerned, one source calling her "exceptionally bright and very, very good on her feet." Renowned for her handling of matters on behalf of trade unions and individual employees, she acts with increasing frequency for employers, one solicitor observing: "I instruct Rachel on everything I can."

Rebecca Davern is identified as a barrister who "is always very easy to work with and gets the job done" in the employment space. One interviewee describes her as someone who is "very across the detail of matters, knows the case law and is on top of what is happening in this fast-paced area." She is best known for her representation of employers in general employment, industrial relations and discrimination cases considered by the Federal Court.

Tom Cordiner QC brings exceptional qualifications to his work at the IP Bar, including a degree in molecular genetics, registration as both a patent and a trade mark attorney, and hands-on experience as a solicitor. A source who rates him "one of the very best IP barristers in Australia" notes his possession of "keen commercial acumen, a detailed knowledge of the law and advocacy second to none," while another reports: "He is very practical in his advice, has a great ability to think strategically, is very calm under pressure and is prepared to fight strongly for the client, even with a difficult argument."

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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)

Australia

Dispute Resolution: The Bar


Jeremy Slattery SC
Band 4
Marita Foley SC
Band 4
Peter Jopling AM QC
Band 3

Employment: The Bar


Rachel Doyle SC
Band 1

Intellectual Property: The Bar


Colin Golvan QC
Band 2
Tom Cordiner QC
Band 2

6 of 17 results