Labour and employment in Australia Bar

Aickin Chambers

Aickin Chambers in Melbourne is arguably home to the top two QCs in Australia. Clients report that Frank Parry QC 'has been a leading barrister for over a decade, acting for large employers in the largest contentious matters.' Stuart Wood AM QC is reported to be 'number one in Australia, with an extreme client and legal focus'. Another client reports that he is a 'market-leading thinker and advocate in industrial relations matters, particularly good with complex union rules issues.'

Denman Chambers

Denman Chambers was established in 1994 and houses some 20 barristers. Although the set offers broad commercial expertise, employment, industrial relations, and health and safety are key areas of focus. Head of chambers, Bruce Hodgkinson AM SC provides 'authoritative and practical' assistance on the full range of employment, industrial relations, and workplace health and safety. In addition to State and Federal Courts, his decades of experience extends to appearing in Industrial Relations Commissions, and before Coroners' Courts. Kylie Nomchong SC is rated highly for an impressive range of work across areas ranging from discrimination cases to health and safety prosecutions. The latter includes a case acting for the NSW mining regulator. She is also recommended for enterprise agreements matters, inquests, and commissions of inquiry. Martin Shume is 'one of the pre-eminent senior juniors in work health and safety'. His wide-ranging expertise extends to inquests, commissions of inquiry, and criminal matters. 'A skilled advocate' Ben Fogarty is recommended for his handling of Fair Work Commission cases and the conduct of complex workplace investigations. He has a focus on all areas of discrimination including in the education sector.

Dever's List Barristers

As part of a full service across all major practice areas, Dever's List Barristers accommodates a number of sought-after barristers in the labour and employment arena. One such is Richard Dalton QC (Aikin Chambers) who is lauded by one law firm as a 'pre-eminent counsel in appellate industrial matters before Australian courts and tribunals.' He has some 25 years of experience and took silk in 2018. He acts in numerous high-stakes cases in the energy, resources, and transportation sectors and also counts government and public sector employers and regulatory bodies among his clients. Matthew Follett (Aickin Chambers) is considered by one client as the 'best high-end industrial technician in Australia'. He handles cases for domestic and international clients in the construction, infrastructure, and natural resources areas, in addition to State and Federal Government agency clients. Patrick Wheelahan (Owen Dixon Chambers East) is 'highly recommended' by a law firm that appreciates the breadth of his expertise which includes discrimination cases, industrial relations, and post-employment restraint matters.

List G Barristers

List G Barristers houses a strong team of employment and industrial relations silks and juniors, one of whom is Rachel Doyle SC. She is lauded as 'one of Australia’s leading senior workplace relations barristers who does a lot of union defence work.' She has comprehensive expertise across all aspect of industrial and employment law in addition to handling inquests, royal commissions and class actions. Paul O’Grady QC is also in demand as a specialist employment, industrial relations, and occupational health and safety law. Leigh Howard is 'an impressive junior barrister who practices in employment and industrial relations matters'. His recent work includes being briefed on a discrimination matter, and he is also highlighted for his regulatory and public law litigation experience. 'Excellent middle junior barrister' Andrew Pollock is noted for his comprehensive 'national, commercial practice covering litigious, advisory and strategic matters'. He is especially cited for dealing with disputes relating to industrial relations and enterprise bargaining. Rebecca Davern-Nelson is acknowledged as a 'senior junior who is regularly briefed on disputes in Federal Court and the Fair Work Commission'.

State Chambers

State Chambers was founded in 1997 and is headed by Michael Cranitch SC. It has a focus on public, commercial, and employment and industrial relations law and human rights.  When working with the 'highly recommended' Michael Easton, clients report this to be 'a great experience'. He provides the full range of employment and industrial relations assistance to both large and small corporates, government entities, and employees. Simon Meehan's principal focus is employment; one client considers him 'a first choice in Sydney'. He is also highlighted for the range of sectors that he understands, from natural resources and transport to the education sector. 'A good junior with a strong background and expertise in industrial relations', Bilal Rauf is instructed on the gamut of work, examples of which include enterprise agreements with major, global employers and restraint of trade matters. Jaye D Alderson's work spans inquiries, criminal law, and native title in addition to industrial disputes. One client reports 'we have relied on Jaye’s experience in industrial law and litigation while briefing her as junior counsel for some of our most complex matters.' Fiona Hayden is the managing clerk to the chambers.

6 St James Hall Chambers

At 6 St James Hall Chambers, Ian Neil SC is widely reported to be 'a pre-eminent counsel in appellate industrial matters before Australian courts and tribunals'. His recent work includes complex matters for clients in the resources sectors. Michael Seck is highlighted for his abilities handling an impressive range of matters, both general employment, and industrial relations matters. He is also noted for acting for major Australian employers in both the private and public sectors; regulators and trades unions.

New Chambers

The talent at New Chambers includes a number of highly regarded employment, industrial relations, work health and safety, and human rights practitioners. Arthur Moses SC – a past President of the NSW Bar Association – additionally covers administrative law, coronial inquests, corruption inquiries, proceeds of crime litigation, and military law cases. He is regularly briefed on employment-related class actions and ICAC inquiries. The distinguished Kate Eastman SC  has a high profile in relation to areas including human rights, public, and health law cases. In addition to extensive experience across this practice area, she is also 'great to work with'.