Firm Profile > McCullough Robertson > Sydney, Australia

McCullough Robertson

Intellectual property Tier 3

McCullough Robertson attracts an ever-increasing volume of referrals for internationally focused work, in part due to its independent status. Brisbane-based department head Belinda Breakspear and her team are recommended for handling matters on the trade mark front in particular -  the team operates a significant trade marks practice, particularly trade mark portfolio management. Litigation work is an area of expertise for Tim Case and Peter Stokes and the team members are well versed in advising clients in industries such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, TMT, and the public sector. On the team front; in Sydney, commercial lawyer Alison Walshe joined from Norton Rose Fulbright and the Brisbane office welcomed special counsel Jake Grant, formerly an in-house counsel and Michelle Betschart from Spruson & Ferguson Lawyers.


The team is great at building solid relationships with its clients, which is complemented by its good understanding of what companies need from a business and legal perspective. Everyone is very responsive and accessible, and provides reliable guidance and support quickly

McCullough Robertson combines a great reputation in the IP field, which is coupled with high-quality service and personable approach to clients’ issues and interests

Belinda Breakspear and her team are extremely helpful. I find it very easy to pick up the phone if I am having any issues or IP-related questions. Another thing I value most about my relationship with the firm, and Belinda Breakspear in particular, is the high level of honesty in providing legal advice.  I always feel Belinda has her clients’ best interest at heart

It is always a delight to deal with John Kettle, who is one of the most approachable lawyers one could find; his experience in Europe and Australia allows him to cover a very broad range of matters.

Key clients

Flight Centre Travel Group

Ausco Modular Pty

Australian Agricultural Company

Russell Mineral Equipment Pty

Une Piece Pty

Queensland Gastroenterology Pty

Wagners Holding Company


IT and telecoms Tier 3

McCullough Robertson offers 'commercial good sense' with a full service to clients ranging from Telstra and Mastercard through to government agencies and startups and includes fund raisings in its services. Alex Hutchens' expertise covers IT, telecommunications, data protection as well as related areas such as IP and consumer protection. Commercial transactional partner Matthew McMillan counts the big four banks, corporates and federal and state departments among his clients and Paul McLachlan has significant expertise in the telecoms and competition areas.


Excellent, expert data protection and technology law knowledge with good regulator contact as needed. Generally responsive with clarity of expression and commercial good sense.’

Alex Hutchens in particular is responsive (at all hours) and has the ability to quickly address and resolve technical issues and to suggest practical responses.’


Key clients

Agility Applications


Macquarie Group

NSW Department of Planning and Environment


Telstra Corporation Limited

OtherLevels Holdings

Over the Wire Holdings

River City Labs

Labour and employment: workplace health and safety (WHS) Tier 3

McCullough Robertson regularly acts for clients in the resources and public sectors with notable examples on its roster including Australian Rail Track Corporation, Sydney Trains and Copper Mines of Tasmania. Alongside its experience handling serious or critical safety incidents and the related investigations and prosecutions, the group is also increasingly instructed by international clients establishing in Australia on advisory mandates. Scarlet Reid and Cameron Dean jointly lead the practice from Brisbane and Sydney respectively; Reid is a former prosecutor with SafeWork NSW and Dean is a key name for representing clients in civil and criminal investigations and inquests.


The team has a depth of experience and knowledge, and is pragmatic and down to earth. It also provides excellent and accessible advice every time.

Tom Raeburn and Scarlet Reid are exceptional work, health and safety lawyers. They provide excellent customer service, support us in our business and understand how our organisation works.

Good knowledge and great delivery to timeframes.

Key clients

Australian Rail Track Corporation

Sydney Trains

Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Ltd

Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) Tier 3

One of Australia's largest teams, McCullough Robertson has deep experience of supporting domestic and international clients on the full range of issues surrounding the mining sector. As well as assisting on joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, it provides regulatory, FIRB, tax, environmental and native title expertise. Damien Clarke and Louise Horrocks in Brisbane head the practice which includes Dominic McGannPatrick Holland and Liam Davis.

Key clients

Gloucester Resources Limited

New Hope Corporation Limited

Metro Mining Limited

NQ Minerals PLC

Batchfire Resources

Aeon Metals Limited

Sojitz Corporation

CS Energy

Bounty Mining Limited

Project development Tier 3

McCullough Robertson has an integrated construction and infrastructure, planning, environment and real estate practice with expertise in various sectors, particularly resources. Its clients come from domestic, international and government arenas and there is a steady flow of work from a range of well-known international firms. Matt Bradbury's broad experience includes disputes; he acted for Transport for NSW in reaching a settlement with its head contractor. Other well-regarded practitioners include Russell Thirgood (disputes and arbitration) and the highly experienced Michael Rochester who has more than 25 years of experience in delivering projects. The practice is also home to a significant team of senior associates/associates.


They are personable and practical and come up with good constructive solutions. Your matters are not fobbed off to junior members – you deal with the designated project manager to get things done.’

Key clients

Whitehaven Coal Limited

Peabody Coal Limited

Adani [Coal] Limited

Sojitz Coal Mining Pty Ltd

Elliott Advisors Group

CS Energy Limited

Yuhu Group

Water NSW


Gloucester Resources Limited

New Hope Corporation Limited

Various Local Governments

Mitsubishi Development

Batchfire Resources

Bounty Mining

NQ Minerals

Evolution Mining Limited

GraphiteCorp Limited

Middlemount Coal Pty Ltd

Metro Mining Limited

Senex Energy Limited

Real estate Tier 3

Clients recommend McCullough Robertson for its ‘strong subject matter expertise along with its pertinent commercial advice’. The practice demonstrates a broad caseload with work spanning high-value transactions, urban and greenfield developments, renewals, leasing and acquisitions, aged care and affordable housing. In addition, department co-head Ian Hazzard is a go-to name for hotel and resort work and regularly advises on acquisitions, developments, expansions and scheme changes. The ‘engagedKristan Conlon heads the practice with Hazzard from Brisbane and has  sector expertise in the commercial, retail and industrial sectors. The firm is also home to a well-regarded agribusiness practice which advises on large rural transactions throughout Australia.


‘Strong subject matter expertise along with pertinent commercial advice, all done in a timely manner.’

‘Kristen Conlon is very engaged, providing an innovative fee structure to suit the client’s needs’.

Key clients

Frasers Property

Darwin City Council

R&F Properties

Yuhu Group

LEPC9 (Lotus Group)

Rural Funds Management

Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation

Eco World International

New South Wales State Government

Queensland Government

University of the Sunshine Coast

New Cold Australia

Elliott Advisors Group

RACV Royal Pines Resort

Hope Island Resort

James Cook University

Numerous local governments across QLD and NSW

Banking and finance Tier 4

McCullough Robertson is noted for its real estate and development finance expertise, regularly acting for a range of borrower and lender clients including banks, non-bank lenders, funds and developers. The group is particularly strong in Brisbane, where Wei Lim recently joined the practice from an in-house position at ANZ. Other key individuals include practice co-heads Peter Stewart and David Gilham, who are based in Brisbane and Sydney respectively. Partner Kirby Jukes and special counsel Peter Kennedy are also key names; Jukes has developed notable expertise in personal property securities law.


The group is comfortable on smaller transactions as well as larger ones and seems to have a unique ability to ‘right size’ the response to the credit and reputational risk.

McCullough Robertson are active in the banking and finance market, providing good quality advice and services for a reasonable price. I have found the team approachable and professional. In addition, they are clear on the scope and quote and communicate any changes as they may arise.

A strong banking and finance team who are engaged from the outset. Transactions vary in terms of dollar size and complexity. Smaller and less complex transactions receive the same attention to detail as the larger (more interesting / challenging) transactions. There is the ability to simplify complex matters into layman terms.

The team has a strong presence primarily in Queensland, and traditionally acted for borrower clients but the recent addition of partner Wei Lim now means it is a robust choice as lender counsel. Being part of one of the largest commercial firms in Queensland, the practice has the benefit of being backed by full service capabilities especially in the corporate and commercial space.

New partner Wei Lim, is very commercial and understands the key drivers of his clients, allowing for more efficient negotiations and better client outcomes.

Wei Lim provides first-class legal advice. He has an extremely broad knowledge of all types of financing structures and his point of difference is the industry insights he has from his time spent in-house. He is always available and an excellent communicator.

David Gilham is insightful, commercial and responsive. He is also a pleasure to deal with.

David Gilham and the team are friendly, commercial and easy to work with. It feels like having your lawyers working with you on your team to achieve the desired outcome, rather than having engaged an external service provider to provide you with a service.

Peter Stewart and Kirby Dukes are both great to deal with, easily relatable and totally responsive to needs. They find ways to do things as opposed to presenting road blocks.

Key clients

Westpac / St George

Bank of Queensland

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

HSBC Bank Australia Limited

Morgan Stanley

National Australia Bank Limited

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Greensill Capital (UK) Limited

Taylor Wessing LLP (London and Frankfurt)

Paul Hastings LLP (Chicago)

Global Student Accommodation

Construction Tier 4

McCullough Robertson is particularly active in the public, community and urban renewal areas. It also handles mandates in the natural resources and energy sectors representing a range of Australian corporates, international entities and state government departments. Michael Rochester, an expert on mining infrastructure projects, heads the department from Brisbane and is reputed for his expertise in project delivery and risk management. The back-end construction team operates across the entirety of Australia in courts, tribunals and alternative resolution forums.


‘Excellent advice, always available.’


Key clients




CS Energy


Mitsubishi Development

New South Wales State Government

Queensland Government

A range of local governments



Seymour White

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority

University of the Sunshine Coast

Corporate and M&A Tier 4

Based in Brisbane, the McCullough Robertson practice is the leading practice in Queensland. It is headed by Damien Clarke and Reece Walker and offers a full service to clients in areas including energy, food and agribusiness, financial services. It has been increasingly engaged in the natural resources and mining sectors for clients such as New Hope Corporation, Whitehaven Coal and Sojitz Corporation. Ben Mortimer is based in Sydney and focuses on the banking and finance areas; John Kettle  has huge experience advising both Australian and overseas clients on complex transactions.


They are dedicated and cool under pressure. Solid legal advice but with a good commercial understanding of our business and drivers.’

Peter Williams lead our deal and helped to get through what became quite complex issues with difficult aspects to navigate in a tight time frame.’

Key clients

Australian Maritime Systems Group Limited

DoseMe Holdings

Elliott Advisors Group

iseek Communications

Lion Batteries

New Hope Corporation

Macadamia Processing Co Ltd

OtherLevels Holdings

Over the Wire Holdings

River City Labs

Rural Funds Management Limited

Sojitz Group

Viralytics Limited

Wolff Mining

Whitehaven Coal

Dispute resolution Tier 4

McCullough Robertson’s growing dispute resolution team has attracted new clients across a range of sectors. The firm acted successfully for Mitsubishi in a tax dispute worth A$300m, with practice head Guy Humble leading on the matter. Russell Thirgood, a ‘brilliant lawyer with a practical focus’ is the head of arbitration. His extensive experience includes having taken the lead on proceedings between Adani Pty Ltd and John Holland Pty Ltd resulting in a judgment in Adani’s favour. Jason Munstermann heads the practice in Sydney, and counts Telstra and Vedanta Resources among his clients.


The team has a track record of being involved in complicated project disputes, delivering strategic advice about planning, and navigating through the dispute resolution process.

Excellent team, which is very professional and pays close attention to detail. It also has the ability to gather and process information quickly and sensibly. Very good practical application of the law.

Jason Munstermann and the whole litigation team were excellent in terms of timelines, professionalism and a can-do attitude.

Russell Thirgood is a recognised expert in this area – a brilliant lawyer with a practical focus, who makes the time to get on site to understand the projects and the people on the ground. He is excellent with document work – very clear and concise in his drafting.

Key clients

Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd

Michael Omeros and Brent Paddon, founding shareholders of Over The Wire Holdings Limited

Thalanga Copper Mines Pty Ltd

Telstra Corporation Limited

Iris Group

Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd

Frasers Property

Bengal Coal

Peabody Energy

Former owners and key employees of Sunnybrand Chickens

Insurance Tier 4

The insurance and corporate risk department at McCullough Robertson handles a wide range of insurance work for a client base consisting of public and private corporations, insurers, and brokers. Clients seek assistance with corporate transactions, compliance work, and disputes. The group has notable experience in policy drafting for international and domestic clients and it also works in conjunction with the firm’s wholly owned insurance broking practice. The team is led from Brisbane by Brad Russell, whose work spans sectors such as resources, property and infrastructure. The group bolstered its ability to handle both contentious and non-contentious matters through the appointment of Stephen White, who joined from Carter Newell in November 2018.

Key clients

Greensill Capital

Whitsunday Regional Council

Fitzroy Australia Resources

E3 Advisory Pty Ltd

Club Marine Pty Ltd

Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group

Labour and employment Tier 4

From its Brisbane base, McCullough Robertson's employment relations and safety team routinely represents state government entities across the country and represents major natural resources companies on workplace safety. Tim Longwill is well recognised in the aged care, not-for-profit and the education sectors, while Cameron Dean represents employers during statutory investigations and prosecutions in light of catastrophic incidents. Michael Moy specialises in State Government employment and industrial relations issues, advising and representing the Department of Health and the Department of Transport and Main Roads; Scarlet Reid is the main name to note in Sydney.


‘McCullough Robertson is reliable, supportive and really goes above and beyond to help.’

‘The team is really genuine, actively listens and gives solid and extremely caring counsel.’

The team are cohesive, knowledgeable and professional.

Key clients

Australian Rail Track Corporation

New South Wales Department of Education

Brisbane City Council

State of Queensland

Sydney Trains Corporation

Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Ltd

Goondiwindi Regional Council

Bolton Clarke

Queensland Health


Tax Tier 4

The ‘proactive and commercial’ team at McCullough Robertson is recommended for its work on tax audits and related settlement negotiations in addition to mergers and acquisitions, restructures and debt and equity fundraisings. Disputes specialist David Hughes is a new arrival from Small Myers Hughes and heads the practice following the departure of Hayden Bentley to Deloitte. Industry expertise encompasses the resources, property and retirement village and private client sectors.


‘Good understanding of our business needs and timely advice’.

‘Melinda Peters is able to pick up on issues and get a good outcome’.

‘Proactive and Commercial’.

‘Duncan Bedford (Partner) provided through and commercial advice which was contextualised to our business needs, challenging where appropriate.  Duncan provides a great service and his a availability and responsiveness was strong.’

Key clients

DoseMe Holdings Pty Ltd

Toowoomba Premium Milk Pty Ltd

Hoyts Group

Energy (transactions and regulatory) Tier 5

The McCullough Robertson resources and renewables team, based largely in Brisbane, offers a wealth of expertise from seasoned partners through to associates. It is home to specialist lawyers in each of the areas affecting energy projects including land access and native title matters.  Damien Clarke and Louise Horrocks head the practice and in addition to their mining clients, assist a range of businesses in the renewables and the oil and gas industries. John Kettle  brings additional international experience of the energy markets and partners Adrian Smith and Aaron Dahl deal with a range of  corporate, capital raising and regulatory matters.

Key clients

CS Energy

Indygen Utility Limited

DP Energy

United Petroleum Pty Ltd

Freedom Oil & Gas Limited

Clean Teq Holdings Limited

Windlab Limited


Elliott Green Power Australia

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 5

Scott Butler leads the department at McCullough Robertson, which primarily operates in the Queensland market and excels in the resources and renewable energy, finance, agribusiness and public sectors, with increasing volumes of cross-border insolvency work. Clients include insolvency practitioners, government departments and corporates. Senior associate Ann Watson is a key contact for contentious work.


The team stands out for its responsiveness and the superior legal knowledge. No problem seemed insurmountable.

When dealing with an insolvency event it is extremely stressful period. Scott Butler’s manner and professionalism was greatly appreciated.

Key clients

Commonwealth Department of Jobs and Small Business






Greensill Capital

Capital markets

Reece Walker leads the Brisbane-based equity practice at McCullough Robertson, which focuses on small-to-mid cap ECM work including primary listings, secondary raisings and equity incentive arrangements. It regularly works with investment banks, retail brokers and boutique financial advisers and has established expertise in the resources, industrial, life sciences, tourism, transport, technology and telecoms industries. The practice counts Ben Wood, who focuses on public and private capital raisings, M&A and restructuring work and Aaron Dahl, who handles employee incentive schemes, as key practitioners.

Key clients

King Island Scheelite Limited

Factor Therapeutics Limited

Over the Wire Holdings

Prescient Therapeutics Limited

Viralytics Limited

Sensera Limited

DGO Gold Limited

Bounty Mining

Zipline Cloud

The firm: McCullough Robertson is the largest independent law firm in Queensland with offices and clients across the entire country. The firm is a proxy for all that is good about the Australian market ie energy, mining, agribusiness, corporate and ICT. The firm is a mid-market specialist.

Areas of practice: Banking and finance: The firm represents leading Australian and international financial institutions and corporate borrowers on all aspects of financing transactions. The firm also advises on administration, bankruptcy, insolvency, litigation, directors’ duties, including insolvent trading, liquidation, receivership and schemes of arrangement. McCullough Robertson’s work in finance spans a number of industries including: real estate, international trade, mining and resources, infrastructure, agribusiness, manufacturing, retail and tourism.

Capital markets: The firm combines industry knowledge with expertise in corporate finance and financial instruments, debt capital markets, equity, capital raisings and IPOs and capital management to create innovative solutions. The firm advises companies in respect of listings on the ASX and BSX in Australia, NASDAQ in the United States and the London Stock Exchange in the UK.

Competition: The team draws on its local experience as well as its in-depth European experience. From developing and facilitating compliance programs, to advising on the impact of company action or the next step, to notifying, seeking merger clearance or authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. We advise Australian and overseas companies undertaking mergers.

Construction and infrastructure: The firm is known as one of the most resourced and conscientious full service construction practices in Australia with particular recognition in the natural resources, energy, infrastructure and urban major development sectors. lts equal strength in advisory and disputes in the area is unusual in the market. The team has particular expertise in public private partnerships, market-led proposals and business cases relating to public infrastructure.

Corporate and M&A: The firm offers leading advisory services and integrated solutions to Australian and global companies in relation to divestments, acquisitions, structures and restructures, capital raising initiatives, tax driven structuring, tax roll-overs and transactional tax advice. The team focuses on small to mid-cap public and private M&A, with a particular strength in resources and renewables, TMT, tourism, life sciences and agribusiness.

Dispute resolution: The firm provides strategic advice and legal services in litigated matters acknowledging the need for innovative dispute resolution solutions to clients across a wide range of industries, including multinational corporations.  Where disputes cannot be avoided, the firm has the experience and expertise to take advantage of the range of resolution methods available including, mediation, expert determination and arbitration. McCullough Robertson’s arbitration lawyers are at the forefront in the shift by large companies away from traditional methods of litigation, towards arbitration as an alternative method to resolve international disputes,

Employment: The team advises and represents both private and public sector clients in all aspects of the employment relationship under federal and state employment relations and health and safety legislation. We provide practical, timely, and cost-effective advice. We assist clients with employment contract and policy drafting, workplace compliance, investigations, restructuring and workplace change management, employment and industrial relations litigation, enterprise bargaining and dispute management. 

Workplace health and safety: The firm advises on all aspects of compliance and risk management, and works closely with clients in unfortunately critical cases, such as fatalities and coronial enquiries, to develop and implement health and safety policies and procedures.  Our clients include multi-national corporates, domestic enterprises and federal, state and local government departments and authorities. We also assist our clients manage the ever-changing legal landscape relating to immigration, to ensure the ongoing access to the best available workforce.

Energy (transactions and regulatory): One of the largest practices in Australia, the firm continues to build its reputation in the energy  industry. The firm maintains a large client base comprised of international and domestic clients and is a market leader in the mid-market resources space.

Insurance: The team is focused on ensuring clients enjoy the broadest possible insurance coverage and that claims are satisfied in accordance with policy obligations. The practice is renowned for its technical and insurance industry market knowledge and experience.

Intellectual property: The firm has acted in many signature intellectual property deals and is sought out by local and international clients to provide IP and corporate/commercial advice.  McCullough Robertson also assists in IP issues worldwide, including cross border trademark mark disputes and oppositions.

Natural resources (transactions and regulatory): Known for its focus on operational excellence, the firm leverages its commercial and industry expertise to strategically support organisations from inception, during expansion, and into maturity. This unrivalled offering is complemented by the firm’s significant industry experience in advising on joint ventures, structuring, mergers and acquisitions, contract negotiations, commercial and tax issues, regulatory and approvals, as well as significant cross-border and Foreign Investment Review Board advice. A resulting strength of the firm is its ability to carry a project from start to finish, from the initial transaction, to matters involving complex regulatory and approvals pathways and then into the construction and operational phases.

Project finance: The team advises on complex financing transactions, involving combinations of equity, mezzanine debt, security trusts, syndications and offshore securities and on priority and inter-creditor arrangements

Life sciences:  Our life sciences team is one of the largest nationally with our clients ranging from ASX-listed life sciences companies, to emerging companies, universities and research institutes. We advise on all aspects of this industry and bring additional expertise with several of our specialists having science qualifications.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance David Gilham
Banking and finance Peter Stewart
Capital markets Reece Walker
Competition John Kettle
Corporate and M&A Aaron Dahl
Construction Matt Bradbury
Construction Ren Niemann
Corporate and M&A Adrian Smith
Dispute resolution Guy Humble
Dispute resolution Bill Morrissey
Employment Michael Moy
Employment Tim Longwill
Workplace health and safety Cameron Dean
Dispute resolution Tim Case
Energy (transactions and regulatory) Louise Horrocks
IT and telecoms Paul McLachlan
IT and telecoms Alex Hutchens
Insurance Brad Russell
Intellectual property Belinda Breakspear
Intellectual property John Kettle
Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) Damien Clarke
Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) Kristen Podagiel
Project finance David Gilham
Project finance Peter Kennedy
Projects Michael Rochester
Real estate Ian Hazzard
Real estate Kristan Conlon
Restructuring and insolvency Scott Butler
Restructuring and insolvency Peter Stewart
Corporate and M&A Ben Mortimer
Capital markets Ben Wood
Corporate and M&A David Hughes
Capital markets Diana Lohrisch
Corporate and M&A Duncan Bedford
Real estate Eva Vicic
Dispute resolution Jason Munstermann
Banking and finance Kirby Jukes
Projects Liam Davis
Intellectual property Matthew McMillan
Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) Patrick Holland
Dispute resolution Peter Stokes
Corporate and M&A Peter Williams
Dispute resolution Russell Thirgood
Dispute resolution Scarlet Reid
Insurance Stephen White
Real estate Troy Webb
Photo Name Position Profile
 David Gilham  photo David Gilham
 Alex Hutchens  photo Alex Hutchens
 Paul McLachlan  photo Paul McLachlan
 Matthew McMillan  photo Matthew McMillan
 Ben Mortimer  photo Ben Mortimer
 Jason Munstermann  photo Jason Munstermann
 Scarlet Reid  photo Scarlet Reid
 Adrian Smith  photo Adrian Smith
Number of lawyers : 167
IBA (International Bar Association)
INSOL - International Association of Restructuring
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Professionals
Contacts : John Kettle, partner