After graduating in law and completing articles of clerkship, Robert Austin was admitted to practice in 1969. He worked in a corporate and commercial legal practice before becoming a Lecturer in Law at the University of Sydney in 1971. His full- time academic career’s duration was 20 years,
which combined some part-time practice at the NSW bar. He was appointed Professor of Equity and Company Law in 1986 and became Head of the Department of Law.
In 1990, he accepted a partnership with Minter Ellison Solicitors, while continuing to teach part-time at the University of Sydney as Challis Lecturer in Corporate Law. His specialties were in corporate law, trusts and equity, mergers and acquisitions and financial services, on which he has published numerous papers and articles. Large matters included acting for ASX in the establishment of the CHESS settlement system and for the AMP Society in its demutualisation.
He served as a member of the Board of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for a short time upon its establishment in 1998. Later in that year, he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, sitting in the Equity Division and sharing responsibility for the Corporations List with Justice GFK Santow. His judgments included a series of decisions in proceedings brought by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission against some of the directors of One-Tel, a failed telecommunications company.
After retiring from the bench in 2010, he resumed legal practice and returned to the NSW Bar in 2016.
Dr Austin holds the degrees B.A., LL.B., LL.M. (Syd), D. Phil. (Oxon). The degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) was conferred “in recognition of (Dr Austin’s) extensive contribution to the practice of corporate and commercial law in Australia as well as his exemplary service to the academic sphere and the teaching of law”, at a University of Sydney graduation ceremony, 11 December 2019. He became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2022.
- Ford, Austin and Ramsay’s Principles of Corporations Law (LexisNexis, 17th edition, 2018, and looseleaf)
- Austin and Black’s Annotated Corporations Act (LexisNexis, looseleaf)
- Austin, Ford and Ramsay’s Company Directors: Principles of Law and Corporate Governance (LexisNexis, 2005)
Lee Corbett was admitted to practice in 2011. Prior to admission, he worked as a senior policy advisor to the Hon. John Hatzistergos MLC, NSW Attorney-General. After admission, Lee worked a solicitor at Norton Rose Fulbright, and then as tipstaff to the Hon. Paul Brereton AM RFD. Lee then read at University Chambers with Michael Dawson, and he has remained a member of the floor.
Lee specialises in building and construction disputes, and has an in-depth knowledge of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act, the Home Building Act, and the Design and Building Practitioners Act. Lee regularly advises commercial clients in relation to their contractual rights, payment disputes, delay and disruption claims, and defective work claims.
Lee regularly appears in disputes in the Technology & Construction List and the Commercial List of the NSW Supreme Court. In addition to this area of practice, Lee regularly appears in commercial disputes in the Equity Division of the NSW Supreme Court involving contractual and equitable claims, and real property.
- BEc (Soc. Sci.) (Hons 1) (University of Sydney, 2003)
- PhD (in Sociology, with a thesis on the role of Native Title in Indigenous citizenship in Australia) (University of NSW, 2007)
- Dip. Law – (Legal Profession Admission Board, 2011)
Michael Dawson was admitted to practice in 1986.
- 1986 – 1990 – Tress Cocks & Maddox (solicitor and senior associate)
- 1990 -1992 – Baker & McKenzie (senior associate)
- 1992 – 1998 – Walsh & Blair (partner)
- 1998 – 2002 – TressCox (partner)
- 1985 – Bachelor of Commerce – University of NSW (UNSW)
- 1985 – Bachelor of Laws – UNSW
- 1986 – College of Law
- 1986 – Admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW to practice as a solicitor
- 1995 – Master of Laws (commercial law) – University of Technology
- 1995 – Accredited Specialist Commercial Litigation (insolvency & restructuring)
- 1995 – Accredited Mediator (LEADR)
- 2002 – Admitted to the NSW Bar
- 2014 – Graduate Certificate in Business Administration – (AGSM, UNSW)
- 2019 – Nationally Accredited Mediator – Australian Disputes Centre
Before coming to the Bar, Geoff had over 30 years’ experience as a solicitor in private practice. At the Bar he continues his passion for helping people and solving problems.
Utilising both a strategic and commercial lens, garnered over many years assisting public and private clients alike, Geoff brings to any problem extensive and practical knowledge in all aspects of commercial law, including property, land use, leasing and development, valuation and compensation, among others.
For more than 12 years, Geoff led a team providing retail leasing advice and legal portfolio management for a global institutional client with a NSW portfolio exceeding 20 regional and sub-regional centres.
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB, University of Sydney)
- Geoff is also trained as a mediator, using the LEADR model
Leo practices across a broad range of commercial areas of law. He is regularly briefed, led and unled, across a number of superior court jurisdictions. Leo’s capital markets and economics grounding enables him to quickly understand the commercial pressure points at the heart of each dispute. His broad experience means that he understands the need for a timely, focused, commercial, and proactive approach.
Leo was admitted to practice in NSW in 2003. Prior to coming to the Bar, Leo practiced as a commercial litigation solicitor at:
- Baker & McKenzie, Sydney (January 2003 – March 2005)
- Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London (November 1998 – December 2002)
- Freshfields, Moscow (April 1995 – September 1998)
- Freehill Hollingdale & Page, Melbourne (March 1992 – February 1995)
Qualifications and Awards
- Bachelor of Economics (B.Ec, Monash University, 1989), provisional Honours in Tax
- Bachelor of Laws (LL.B. Hons, Monash University, 1991), First Class Honours
- Joint Brian Benjamin Prize winner in Equity and Trusts (1988)
Leo is fluent in Russian.
Admitted as solicitor in 2007 and as a Barrister in 2016,
Jonathan has more than 15 years’ experience as a litigation lawyer with a focus on building and construction, commercial litigation, corporations & insolvency and property.
Before becoming a Barrister, Jonathan was a solicitor for 9 years at firms including Mills Oakley, Addisons and Aitken Lawyers (now Russell Kennedy).
Jonathan also worked as Corporations & Insolvency Law Editor for CCH Wolters Kluwer.
As a Barrister, Jonathan has appeared in the NSW Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Australia, Supreme Court of NSW, District Court of NSW and in NCAT both led by Senior Counsel and unled. For a list of selected cases Jonathan has been involved in click here.
- Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) (University of Technology, Sydney, 2001 – 2006)
- Bachelor of Science (B.Sc, Information Technology) (University of Technology, Sydney, 2001 – 2006)
- Personal Liability for Defects for Directors, Supervisors, Project Managers and Developers under the DBP Act (Lexisnexis, June 21 2022) (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, June 6 2022)
- The Grim Life of Tenants – living in the Willmott Forest (Law Society Journal and CCH, Wolters Kluwer, Oct 21 2014)
- The Danger in Terminating Building Contracts for Delay (Lexisnexis, July 7 2021) (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, June 8 2021)
- Expert Evidence rules to apply to applications for security for costs? (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, Nov 2 2015)
- Court sheds light on proving claims for unliquidated damages in bankruptcy (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, Oct 6 2015)
- A time to swear and not to swear (affidavits verifying statutory demand) (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, Oct 6 2015)
- Applications to set aside Statutory Demands – file early or be wary (even if it’s not your fault) (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, Sep 23 2015)
- Solicitors failing to properly advise on Statutory Demands (CCH, Wolters Kluwer, Mar 11 2006)
Daniel Neggo was admitted to practice in 1999.
Prior to joining University Chambers, Daniel was at Blackstone Chambers from 2009 to 2017, and then 153 Phillip Barristers (Sydney).
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB, University of NSW),
- Master of Laws (LLM, UNSW)
Injunctions: Law and Practice (with Jacobs and McCarthy), Thomson LawBook Co, 2003 (looseleaf).
Prior to coming to the Bar, Ralphed was a solicitor at Atanaskovic Hartnell from April 2008 to December 2009. During this time Ralphed primarily acted for four former directors of James Hardie Industries in civil penalty proceedings commenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC v MacDonald (No 11)  NSWSC 287 and ASIC v MacDonald (No 12)  NSWSC 714).
Prior to Atanaskovic Hartnell, Ralphed was a solicitor at Norton Rose Fulbright (formerly Deacons) in the Commercial Dispute Resolution Group from January 2006 to April 2008 and in the Corporate and Commercial Group from February 2005 to December 2005.
Since coming to the Bar, Ralphed has appeared in the Local, District and Supreme Courts of New South Wales, as well as the Federal Circuit Court, the Federal Court, the New South Wales Land and Environment Court, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Ralphed has also appeared for Members of Parliament in public inquiries being conducted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Ralphed has been recognised in the 2022 Edition of Best Lawyers in Australia in the area of Insurance Law.
Please note that Ralphed has been appointed a part-time Senior Member of the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal for the period 1 February 2021 to 31 January 2022 and has been assigned to the Consumer and Commercial Division. As a result, he can no longer accept briefs to appear in that Division.
- Bachelor of Commerce (University of Newcastle)
- Bachelor of Laws (Honours Class I) (University of Newcastle)
- Master of Laws (Corporate & Commercial Law) (University of New South Wales)
- Solicitor, Atanaskovic Hartnell, April 2008 to December 2009
- Solicitor, Norton Rose Fulbright (formerly Deacons), February 2005 to April 2008
- Australian Insurance Law Association
- Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance
- Australian Professional Indemnity Group
- NSW Claims Discussion Group
- Society of Construction Law Australia
David was admitted to practice law in 2005 and was called to the bar in 2008. Prior to joining University Chambers David was a director of Blackstone Chambers.
David appears in all Courts and tribunals in NSW.
David regularly appears in complicated commercial matters leading other counsel predominantly in the Supreme Court of NSW. He also has significant experience in appellant work before the NSW Court of Appeal. He regularly appears in various Courts and tribunals outside NSW.
David’s has particular expertise in disputes concerning, equity, general commercial litigation, building and construction, insolvency (personal and corporate), real property, strata, commercial leases, intellectual property, restraint of trade and corporation’s law.
David also appears in the Family Court and has expertise in disputes involving equitable relief (the setting aside of binding financial agreements), trusts, and insolvency.
- Bachelor of Arts (BA, University of Sydney)
- Master of Law and Legal Practice (M.L.L.P University of Technology Sydney)
Andrew has over 30 years’ experience in Equity, commercial, real property and insolvency law. Andrew started his legal career in 1988 as a solicitor with Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst) gaining experience in the firm’s litigation department in cases involving intellectual property, medical negligence, banking and high-profile commercial disputes, including representing Alan Bond before the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal.
Since being called to the bar in 1993, Andrew has appeared in a wide range of jurisdictions – from criminal matters in the Local Court to commercial appeals to the High Court – with a current practice based on appearing as leading or sole counsel in final hearings (including appeals) in the NSW Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Australia. Andrew combines his extensive knowledge of commercial, real property and insolvency law with a strategic approach to litigation to work for the best commercial outcome for the client.
Andrew graduated from the University of Sydney (LLB in 1987; BA in 1986), was a resident of St Paul’s College and a school captain of Knox Grammar School. Andrew composes music and plays a number of instruments, and received music scholarships to Knox Grammar School and St Paul’s College. He was awarded a Blue in American football by Sydney University and has coached the Sydney University, New South Wales and Australian national American football teams.
Qualifications and awards
- Bachelor of Arts (BA, University of Sydney, 1986)
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB, University of Sydney, 1987)
Richard has a broad commercial and taxation practice. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of The Tax Institute.
Richard is regularly briefed in federal and state taxation matters for both taxpayers and the revenue authorities. He also regularly appears in commercial and equity matters, in particular with respect to commercial contracts, corporations, trusts, insolvency, real property and partnerships.
Prior to being called to the Bar, Richard gained extensive experience in the Tax & Legal group at PwC, where his particular focus was on income tax in relation to companies, trusts and partnerships.
- Master of Laws (LLM, University of Sydney, 2023)
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons, University of NSW, 2011)
- Bachelor of Commerce (BCom, University of Sydney, 2006)
- Chartered Accountant (CA, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, 2007)
Prior to coming to the Bar in 1988 (the year of his admission to practice), Anthony was involved in industrial relations as a trade union industrial advocate.
Anthony’s practice as a barrister commenced in industrial work but now covers most fields.
Anthony mostly appears in the Supreme Court of NSW but also in the District Court, the Local Court and various tribunals in NSW.
Member of Thomas More Society, 2000 – present.
Admitted Solicitor QLD 1990
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB, University of Queensland)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA, University of Queensland)
- Master of Laws (LLM, University of London)
Hugh Somerville practices principally in the areas of equity, commercial law and insolvency.
He is regularly briefed by liquidators, trustees, financiers, large companies and company directors. Hugh is often retained in matters involving novel points of law or equity and matters requiring focussed cross-examination.
Hugh appears frequently in the Supreme Court and the Federal Court (including appeals) in complex litigation. He was admitted to practice in 2009.
Hugh has a strong interest in sports law, having pursued his own sporting endeavours before being called to the Bar. Hugh appears as an advocate for athletes and elite sporting associations and has been briefed in numerous disciplinary matters on behalf of the Australian Wallabies, NSW Waratahs, ACT Brumbies, Fiji Rugby and Randwick Rugby Club. Hugh is a board member of a charity which assists Australian veterans with mental health. Hugh has been recognised in Doyle’s Guide leading insolvency & restructuring counsel New South Wales 2023.
Peter Walsh has over 30 years’ experience as a commercial and property law barrister. He accepts briefs in a wide range of jurisdictions and areas. He enjoys matters which raise novel and interesting points of law and equity and has appeared in numerous reported decisions.
Peter was admitted to practice in 1981, joining Kemp Strang. He became senior associate, working in commercial, insolvency and property matters before coming to the Bar.
- Master of Laws (LLM) – Trade Practices and Public Company Finance (University of Sydney, 1985)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA, 1980) / Bachelor of Laws (University of NSW, 1981)
Peter has presented papers on property and commercial law for the College of Law, the Law Society of New South Wales and the University of New South Wales. His hobbies include reading, films and long distance running.