Among Australia’s most powerful lawyers, a LawFuel Power Selection of some of the most prominent –
Professor Allan Herbert Miller Fels AO is regarded as the country’s leading regulator. An Australian economist, lawyer and public servant he is best known for his job as chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission from its inception in 1995 until 30 June 2003.
The ACCC regulates competition and consumer law as well as public utitilities. Allan Fels has also filled a number of other regulatory roles and is highly regarded for his work in the area.
He was and remains a household name and was ranked by The Australian Financial Review as Australia’s third most powerful figure in 2002; he is the subject of the biography Allan Fels, A Portrait of Power, by Fred Brenchley (John Wiley Publishers, 2003).
George Brandis QC
Australian Attorney General George Brandis has become something of a controversial figure with recent attacks from the Australian Lawyers Alliance criticising his “gross infringement” of his instruction to the Solicitor General to obtain his consent before providing legal advice.
A Queenslander who built a lucrative practice in trade practice law and related area, he is a Liberal senator who became Attorney General in 2013 and has become involved in various controversial issues relating to press freedom, East Timor spying and other matters.
Sydney silk Bret Walker has one of the highest profile and most powerful roles in both Sydney and Australia generally.
Smart and respected, he continues to handle an array of clients, particularly specialising in High Court work, however he also receives government briefs such as his report into the London Olympics swimming campaign and more recently as the first independent monitor of national security legislation.
Michael Donald Kirby AC, CMG is something of a darling of both the Australian and New Zealand legal communities. Both a jurist and academic who is a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, (1996 to 2009) he continues to remain a powerful force in the law and related issues since his retirement.
He has remained active in retirement: in May 2013 he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to lead an inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea, which reported in February 2014.
Julian Burnside QC
Margaret Cunneen SC
“The organisation didn’t know how to engage politically. We need to become more balanced and pragmatic in our approach.
“We needed to stop regurgitating the same thing over and over again and churning press releases which ended up in bins in newsrooms across the country,” he told The Australian.
Robert Richter QC
Ian Temby QC
In early 2015 he made headlines with his defence of Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson who face sex abuse coverup charges.
Friends, colleagues and opponents of the barrister have described him as a “living legend” with an extraordinary attention to detail, but as someone who also commands a presence in court that is regarded by some as enough to sway cases his client’s way.
Ian Temby was educated in Perth, he became a solicitor in 1964 and joined the forerunner to what is now known as Minter Ellison, before co-founding the local Legal Advice Bureau in 1972.
He went to the WA bar in 1978 and was made Queen’s Counsel two years later. He was deputy mayor of Subiaco council in 1982-83.
He became the country’s top prosecutor in 1984 before being appointed founding NSW ICAC Commissioner five years later, whose big scalp included former state Premier Nick Greiner.
Taking over from Richard Spurio she heads the Law Council’s competition and consumer committee and said that she often brings her “competition lens” to the legal market and