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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 107 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), 19 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 (2002)
Angus Lang (2006)
Sera Mirzabegian (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)

Francis Douglas QC (1975) (QC-1988)
Nicholas Furlan (2007)
Juliet Lucy (2012)
Andrew Edington (2015)
Timothy Boyle (2016)
Jane Buncle (2016)
Lucy McGovern (2016)
Manu Jaireth (2017)
Amelia Smith (2017)

Simon Snow (2018)
Eleanor Doyle-Markwick (2018)
Amy Campbell (2018)

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 appeared (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.

Recent Cases & Current Matters of Significance Involving Members of Chambers:
Commercial Law:

Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd v Rinehart (2017) 350 ALR 658: decision in relation to construction of arbitration agreements and operation of Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 (NSW).

Reckitt Benckiser (Australia) Pty Ltd v AFT Pharmaceuticals (AU) Pty Ltd [2018] FCA 1552: misleading or deceptive conduct claim in relation to the promotion of analgesic drugs.

Swiss Re v Simpson [2018] NSWSC 233: claim against former CEO alleging misleading conduct in connection with the financial state of an ASX listed company.

Popeye Holdco Pty Ltd v Intermediate Capital Asia Pacific 2008 GP Ltd (no 2) (2018) 125 ACSR 108; [2017] FCA 369: claim brought by a management shareholder group against a private equity syndicate alleging misleading conduct at the time of a private equity buy out of management shareholders.

Schemes of arrangement: recent examples of member schemes include (i) Westfield re Unibail -Rodamco (the $24 billion acquisition of Westfield by Unibail -Rodamco) [2018] NSWSC 584; (ii) Billabong International Ltd [2018] FCA 106; [2018] FCA 496. Recent examples of creditor schemes include Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal Pty Ltd [2018] NSWSC 1342; [2018] NSWSC 1434; (iv) Quintis Limited [2018] FCA 1400; [2018] FCA 1510.

Homart Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd v Careline Australia Pty Ltd [2017] FCA 403: misleading or deceptive conduct claim in relation to the promotion of cosmetic products.

Intellectual Property:
Apotex Pty Ltd v AstraZeneca AB: settled claim on undertaking as to damages in patent litigation.

Lundbeck A/S v Alphapharm Pty Ltd, Apotex Pty Ltd & Ors: patent validity and infringement and damages.

Lundbeck A/S v Sandoz Pty Ltd NSD 824/2016: patent validity and infringement.

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited v Precision Tracking Pty Ltd: patent and breach of confidence.

Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd v TPG Internet Pty Ltd (2018) 126 IPR 219: copyright infringement.

Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd v Ainsworth Game Technology Limited [2018] FCA 1511: copyright infringement and misuse of confidential information.

Primary Health Care Limited v Commonwealth & Ors [2017] FCAFC 174: trade mark registration.

Coretell Pty Ltd v Australian Mud Company Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 54: patent validity, infringement and accessorial liability.

Roadshow Films Pty Limited & Ors v Telstra Corporation Limited & Ors; Foxtel Management Pty Ltd v TPG Internet Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] FCA 1503:
copyright infringement and remedies.

Class Actions:
Gill v Ethicon Sárl, Federal Court proceeding NSD1590 of 2012 and Ethicon Sàrl v Gill [2018] FCAFC 137: pelvic mesh class action proceedings.

Montara Oil Spill Class action – Federal Court Proceedings (ongoing).

Radio Rentals Class action – Federal Court Proceedings (ongoing).

Takata Air bags Class action – (Supreme Court Proceedings (ongoing).

Public, Administrative, Constitutional & Revenue Law:
 Re Canavan (2017) 349 ALR 534: interpretation of s 44(i) of the Constitution.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals (Australia) Pty Ltd v Wyeth [2018] FCA 1556: claim by the Commonwealth on an undertaking as to damages given by a patentee to obtain an interlocutory injunction, with the effect that generic drugs were kept from listing on the PBS.

Representing ASADA in proceedings before the Australian Football League Anti-Doping Tribunal and, on appeal, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport involving the use of supplements by members of the Essendon Football Club.

Brewer, Innes v AAL Aviation Ltd [2017] FCAFC 202: superannuation claims of ex-Qantas employees.

Chevron Australia Holdings v Commissioner of Taxation (2017) 251 FCR 40: income tax, transfer pricing and retrospective effect of taxation legislation.

Farah Custodians Pty Ltd v. Commissioner of Taxation: wrongful payment of GST refund by the ATO to the applicant’s accountant in fraud on the applicant.

Competition, Regulation & Other Investigations:
ACCC v Ramsay Health Care Australia Pty Limited: competition law proceedings alleging a misuse of market power.

ASIC v Westpac Banking Corporation (No. 2) [2018] FCA 751: civil penalty proceedings brought by ASIC alleging manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate

CDPP v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd: criminal cartel proceedings.

CDPP v The Country Care Group Pty Limited & Ors: criminal cartel proceedings.

ACCC v ANZ, Citigroup Global Markets Australia & Ors: criminal cartel proceedings.

ASIC v Commonwealth Bank of Australia (2018) 128 ACSR 289: civil penalty proceedings brought by ASIC alleging manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate.

ACCC v Apple Pty Ltd (No 4) [2018] FCA 953: misleading or deceptive representations as to consumer rights in relation to software faults.

ACCC v Volkswagen AG & Ors: allegations of contraventions of consumer law provisions in relation to diesel emissions.

ACCC v Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd: competition law proceedings alleging a misuse of market power.

Representing a number of parties before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.