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Tenth Floor Wentworth Selborne Chambers

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Head of Chambers: Malcolm Oakes SC
Clerk: Emma Hoolahan
Number of tenants: 31

Set Overview:
Tenth Floor Chambers is one of the leading sets of barristers’ chambers in Australia. Its members provide specialist advocacy and advice in many areas of dispute resolution. Its senior members include a number of leaders of the Australian Bar and its junior members are considered to be some of the top junior barristers in New South Wales and Australia. Members come from a range of professional and commercial backgrounds, with a high level of experience, expertise and education from some of the world’s leading academic institutions.

The floor was established in 1957. It has had 109 members, with a strong history of appointments to prominent judicial, political or executive office. These include a former Prime Minister of Australia (The Hon Gough Whitlam AC); a former Governor-General of Australia (The Hon Sir John Kerr); former Commonwealth Solicitors-General (Sir Maurice Byers and the Hon Robert J Ellicott AC QC); a former State Solicitor-General (The Hon Keith Mason AC, later President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal); the current New South Wales Attorney-General (Mark Speakman SC MP) and Crown Advocate (Dr David Kell SC); and over 20 appointments to various superior courts, including the New South Wales Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Australia. Tenth Floor Chambers presently consists of 43 barristers (31 permanent members and 12 licensees), 20 of whom are senior counsel.

Tenth Floor Chambers’ principal areas of practice include corporate and commercial law (including class actions, corporations law, corporate insolvency and reconstruction, insurance, intellectual property law, equity and trusts); public law; competition and regulation; professional negligence; building and construction; common law; and criminal law (with a particular focus on corporate criminal law).

Malcolm Oakes SC (1980) (SC-1994)
Tony Bannon SC (1982) (SC-1996)
Steven Finch SC (1982) (SC-1997)
Brendan Sullivan SC (1984) (SC-1998)
Julian Sexton SC (1984) (SC-1999)
Lachlan V. Gyles SC (1991) (SC-2008)
David Studdy SC (1993) (SC-2008)
Shereef G. Habib SC (1995) (SC-2009)
James Lockhart SC (1996) (SC-2009)
Patricia (Trish) McDonald SC (1996) (SC-2010)
Geoffrey Kennett SC (1998) (SC-2010)
John M. Hennessy SC (1997) (SC-2011)
Matthew Darke SC (2001) (SC-2014)
Nicholas Chen SC (1998) (SC-2016)
David Kell SC (1999) (SC-2016)
Richard Scruby SC (2002) (SC-2017)
Kate Morgan SC (2004) (SC-2017)
Neil Murray SC (2004) (SC-2018)
Stefan Balafoutis SC (2002) (SC-2019)
Angus Lang (2006)
Charles Colquhoun (2007)
Jason Spinak (2007)
Stuart Lawrance (2008)
Patrick Knowles (2009)
Hilbert Chiu (2011)
Dean Stretton (2012)
Rico Jedrzejczyk (2012)
James Lee (2013)
Chris McMeniman (2015)
Frances St John (2015)
Amelia Smith (2017

Francis Douglas QC (1975) (QC-1988)
Timothy Boyle (2016)
Jane Buncle (2016)
Lucy McGovern (2016)
Manu Jaireth (2017)
Simon Snow (2018)
Eleanor Doyle-Markwick (2018)
Amy Campbell (2018)

Julian Brezniak (2019)
Christine Ernst (2019)

Main Areas of Practice:

Commercial Law:
Tenth Floor Chambers has a reputation for outstanding commercial barristers across all levels of seniority. Members have been and continue to be involved in many high-profile cases in recent years, spanning all areas of commercial law, including taxation, insurance and equitable disputes. Members regularly appear before courts and tribunals across Australia.

Intellectual Property:
Some of Australia’s leading intellectual property specialists are members of Tenth Floor Chambers. Members practise across the full range of intellectual property law and related doctrines, including patents, trade marks/passing off, copyright, designs, and breach of confidence. In addition to trials in the Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court, and the Supreme Court of New South Wales, they appear in appeals in the High Court of Australia and the Full Court of the Federal Court. Members also appear in specialist tribunals, such as the Copyright Tribunal of Australia and the Patents and Trade Marks Offices at IP Australia, and appeals therefrom. Some counsel also have extensive experience in advertising claims.

Class Actions:
Tenth Floor Chambers boasts a strong class action prowess. Members have been and continue to be involved in a substantial number of class actions in recent years, for both plaintiffs and defendants.

Public, Administrative, Constitutional & Revenue Law:
Members of Chambers appear in matters involving federal and state constitutional law, review of federal and state decision-making, and construction and application of statutory regimes. These matters include disputes arising in areas such as migration, taxation, extradition, customs, quarantine, social security, passports, electoral matters and environmental law.

Competition, Regulation & Other Investigations:
Tenth Floor Chambers has a strong history of acting in criminal and civil regulatory and competition proceedings, inquests, and commissions of inquiry. Members have and continue to appear in many recent high profile investigations and prosecutions.

Common Law:
Members of Tenth Floor Chambers act across a range of common law disputes, including significant cases in recent years covering (but not limited to) professional negligence, insurance, employer and general liability disputes.

Criminal Law:
Members of Chambers appear in Courts at all levels of the criminal justice system, including complex matters involving white-collar crime and criminal prosecutions under workplace health and safety legislation, environmental legislation and competition laws.