Ruth Higgins SC is a leading commercial silk specialising in competition law, class actions, energy, media, corporate criminal and corporations matters. She has been included in Best Lawyers Australia since it commenced in 2008 and was included in 3 categories and named Lawyer of the Year for ADR (Sydney) in 2020. Ruth has been included in Chambers Global since 2011 and was described in the 2019 edition as a "very thorough force to be reckoned with." She is listed in Doyle's Guide as a preeminent silk in competition law, and is also listed in commercial litigation, insolvency law, and media and telecommunications law.
Competition law: Ruth successfully acted for TPG, Pacific National and AGL in contested merger proceedings against the ACCC. For the ACCC and the Commonwealth, she successfully acted in the High Court in Flight Centre and the CMFEU case concerning agreed civil penalties, alongside other cases. Ruth appeared in the first two modern criminal cartel prosecutions and is regularly briefed in such matters. She has acted for Apple, Cement Australia, the Australian Jockey Club, NSW Ports and many others in contested Part IV proceedings.
Consumer and regulatory matters: Ruth has acted for parties including Telstra, Qantas, Woolworths, Westpac and the ACCC, ASIC, and APRA. Ruth's wider regulatory experience includes advising CBA and acting for Tabcorp and Westpac in respect of allegations under the AML/CTF Act, and acting for banks and other institutions defending proceedings flowing from the Financial Services Royal Commission.
Class actions: Ruth has acted for various defendants in major class actions, including: Woolworths; Westpac; VW, Audi and Skoda in respect of diesel emissions; in the Takata air bags proceedings for Nissan; Infigen in respect of a bushfire class action, and for IOOF in the Provident debentures class action.
Energy law: Ruth has acted in the Federal Court, Australian Competition Tribunal and in private arbitrations, for clients including: AGL, ActewAGL, BP, Origin, Epic Energy, Energy Australia, South Australia Power Networks, and Hydro Tasmania. She also acts for the AER. Ruth accepts appointments as an expert in energy disputes, and has chaired an expert panel under the National Gas Rules.
Corporate crime: including insider trading, bribery of foreign public officials and related areas.
Corporations law: In insolvency related matters, Ruth is acting for the Administrators of Virgin Australia, and advises and acts for the Commonwealth, including the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation and the Attorney-General (FEG), in such matters. She has extensive experience in schemes of arrangement, including acting in the Boart Longyear proceedings,
Public inquiries and commissions: Ruth was Senior Counsel for the CBA in the Banking Royal Commission; for CPH in the IGLA's inquiry into the Crown Casino; as counsel assisting the ACCC East Coast Gas Enquiry; and has acted in private and public hearings of the ICAC.
Ruth is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, an Assistant General Editor of the Australian Law Journal, a director of the Bar Association of NSW and Chair of a Professional Conduct Committee of the NSW Bar. She is the author of various books, including The Moral Limits of Law (OUP, 2004), three collections of essays co-edited with Justin Gleeson SC, and a forthcoming monograph, Law's Candour (all through Federation Press).
Ruth won the Glasgow University medal in law. Thereafter she completed a doctorate in legal philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford University, lectured at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and was a visiting Scholar at Columbia University. She has recently been elected a Visiting Fellow at each of New College and Harris Manchester College, Oxford University.
Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific Guide 2021 – Band 2 Dispute Resolution Senior Counsel – “a very thorough force to be reckoned with,” "emerging as one of the stars of the Bar," "[a] commercial, exceptional advocate whose very strong academic approach translates well into her court craft," "an extremely intelligent, dedicated and hard-working trial lawyer with a strong academic background, though no ivory tower theorist," and "phenomenal – intellectually second to none and probably the most user-friendly silk I have ever worked with; always available, always prepared and always presents well."
Legal 500 - Band 1 Silk for Competition law and White Collar Crime
Doyles Guide (Australia Wide) – Preeminent Competition Law Senior Counsel
Doyles Guide – Leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Senior Counsel
Doyles Guide – Recommended Insolvency & Restructuring Senior Counsel
Doyles Guide – Recommended Technology, Media & Telecommunications Senior Counsel
Best Lawyers – ADR Lawyer of the Year (2020)
Best Lawyers – Bet the Company Litigation
Best Lawyers – Litigation