Banco Chambers recognised as the top ranked chambers in Sydney, 19 members also ranked

16 December 2021

The respected Chambers & Partners Guide to the legal profession released its 2022 guide to the Asia Pacific Region today. In an acknowledgement of its depth and strength of expertise, Banco Chambers' was ranked as a Band 1 set for dispute resolution in Australia - the only Sydney Chambers to be ranked in Band 1.

At an individual level, 19 of our barristers (comprising 15 Silks and 4 Juniors) were also awarded individual rankings across the practice areas of dispute resolution, competition and antitrust (in which four of the six barristers in that category came from Banco), restructuring and insolvency, construction and infrastructure, international arbitration, and tax. The full Banco rankings and commentary is below:


Farid Assaf SC - Band 4 Dispute Resolution Silk - Farid maintains a strong focus on corporate affairs, including questions of directors' duties and other regulatory matters and insolvency issues. An instructing solicitor says of him: "He never leaves you hanging; he rolls up his sleeves, does the work and knows the facts - and his work is of incredibly high quality."

Tim Breakspear SC - Construction and Infrastructure (New Silk) and International Arbitration Spotlight Table - Tim is described by one interviewee as "head and shoulders above the rest" when it comes to construction matters. Particularly accomplished in his handling of disputes generated by major energy, resources or infrastructure projects, or those involving a heavy engineering component, he is also developing a notable profile on the regional international arbitration scene.

Peter Brereton SC - Band 1 Dispute Resolution Silk and Spotlight Table Competition and Antitrust Silk - Peter maintains a highly versatile and varied practice, covering the fullest range of first-instance and appellate cases, undertaken for some of Australia's highest-profile companies and embracing a noted competition law capability. Identified by one interviewee as "one of the very best silks in the country," he draws praise from another as a "very quietly spoken but very persuasive advocate," the same source adding: "Judges really listen to him." 

Kristen Deards SC - Band 1 Tax Silk - Kristen is active across a broad range of tax matters, including income tax, CGT and GST-related issues, appearing for both taxpayers and the taxation authorities in cases considered by tribunals up to and including High Court level. She attracts extensive praise from interviewees, one calling her "very successful and highly sought after," another noting that she is "consistently on the rise," while a third simply says: "She is exceptional."

Robert Dick SC - Band 2 Dispute Resolution Silk - Robert handles a broad range of high-profile, complex commercial litigation mandates in which financial services, regulatory and insolvency issues, or matters subject to major public inquiries, feature prominently. He is characterised by one interviewee as "a very skilful advocate and extremely well prepared - one of the leading silks at the New South Wales Bar," while another calls him "cool-headed, experienced and a good lawyer to have in your corner when things are challenging."

Justin Gleeson SC - Band 1 Dispute Resolution Silk - Justin continues to be identified by interviewees as being "without doubt in the top echelons of the senior counsel ranks in Australia," one calling him "perhaps the best silk I've ever worked with - supremely talented on his feet and meticulous in preparation," while another remarks: "I've never seen a Bench that doesn't give enormous weight to everything he says." His breadth of practice also wins him plaudits, not only for high-profile commercial work, where he is often instructed on appellate cases, but also in the spheres of insolvency, employment and international arbitration.

Ruth Higgins SC - Band 2 Dispute Resolution Silk, Spotlight Table Competition and Antitrust Silk and Band 2 Restructuring and Insolvency Silk - Ruth is widely acknowledged as "a go-to for complex commercial matters," one source calling her "a fabulous advocate with a fabulous mind," while another reports: "Just watching her on her feet with the judge and the respect she garners in that context is especially valuable to a client." Long established as a barrister of choice in the competition sphere, she is increasingly noted for her prominence in the insolvency field and for her appearances in major inquiries and class actions.

Richard McHugh SC - Band 2 Dispute Resolution Silk - Richard is described by one instructing solicitor as "one of my go-to guys for bet-the-company, highly complex litigation - intuitively clever and a great tactician with the ability to back it up in court," while another maintains: "It's my strong opinion that he's the best advocate in Australia in terms of oratory." His versatile range incorporates noteworthy experience in the construction, insolvency and regulatory spaces.

Cameron Moore SC - Band 4 Dispute Resolution Silk and Spotlight Table Competition and Antitrust Silk - Cameron consistently attracts praise as one of Australia's "pre-eminent counsel in competition matters" and a noted class action specialist, more than one source stressing the "rare dual expertise" he offers in competition litigation of having acted on both the prosecution and defence sides. An instructing solicitor observes: "His knowledge of ACCC practice and decision-making is unsurpassed."

Robert Newlinds SC - Band 4 Dispute Resolution Silk and Band 1 Restructuring and Insolvency Silk - Robert maintains a varied practice in which restructuring and insolvency issues feature particularly prominently, but which also embraces high-profile commercial disputes and class actions. He is described by one interviewee as "a very able leading counsel who is not afraid to make strong tactical decisions," the same source adding: "His preparation, presentation and cross-examination skills are excellent."

John Sheahan QC - Star Individual Dispute Resolution Silk and Band 1 Restructuring and Insolvency Silk - John is regularly acknowledged as "one of the best barristers in Australia for high-end, high-risk commercial matters" in general, and also for restructuring and insolvency mandates specifically. Interviewees pay extensive tribute to his "extraordinarily effective" advocacy, as impressive in the boardroom as in court, with more than one stressing the value of his consistently "calm and persuasive demeanour."

David Sulan SC - Dispute Resolution (New Silk) and Restructuring and Insolvency (New Silk) - David is active across a broad commercial spectrum, appearing particularly frequently in insolvency-related cases or those involving allegations of various forms of financial misconduct. He is identified by one source as "truly excellent in the trenches," while another describes him as "a very careful, measured barrister with a great intellect and excellent judgement who's also very good on his feet."

Vanessa Whittaker SC - Band 2 Restructuring and Insolvency Silk - Vanessa has maintained a strong focus on insolvency issues since her days as a solicitor, and it continues to form a substantial part of a practice which also embraces the often related areas of bankruptcy, insurance law and professional liability. She is noted by one interviewee to be "tactically canny and good at reading the judge," while another calls her "sensational and very astute."

Christopher Withers SC - Band 4 Dispute Resolution Silk - Chris is particularly noted for his familiarity with financial services, insolvency and regulatory matters and, increasingly, as an advocate on behalf of plaintiffs in prominent class actions. He is described by one interviewee as "an impressive, natural silk who's across the detail and gives confidence to both instructors and funders," while another calls him "strategically brilliant, with an ease and assuredness in his manner and in dialogue with judges, who have confidence in his legal reasoning."

    Junior Counsel

    Sebastian Hartford Davis - Band 3 Dispute Resolution Junior - Sebastian operates across a broad range of commercial, corporate and equity issues, offering experience of litigation at all levels of the New South Wales court system as well as in the High and Federal Courts. He is described by one instructing solicitor as a "very good, very clever and user-friendly junior," while another calls him "a highly astute lawyer with the ability to work well with any team." A third source maintains that he is "going to be one of the stars of the Bar."

    Kate Lindeman - Band 3 Dispute Resolution Junior - Kate offers extensive experience of litigation throughout the New South Wales court system and in both the Federal and High Courts, her range covering both commercial and public law matters and including appearances in some of the highest-profile cases of 2020 and 2021. Identified by one interviewee as "a superb junior of choice - incredibly quick and efficient, able to master a broad range of law and completely across the details," she is described by another as "very reliable and calm and confident as an advocate."

    Fiona Roughley - Band 3 Dispute Resolution Junior - Fiona is active in an impressive variety of fields, including those of construction, insolvency and public inquiries and investigations, and is further noted for her increasing prominence in the class action space. More than one interviewee numbers her among "the very best juniors at the New South Wales Bar," one calling her "a hugely able junior, well known for being very bright and analytical and for excellent preparation skills." Another warns: "She's in high demand, so your case needs to be exciting!"

    Robert Yezerski - Band 1 Dispute Resolution Junior and Spotlight Table Competition and Antitrust Junior - Robert maintains a broad commercial practice within which competition and consumer law issues feature particularly prominently, and also offers notable experience in the handling of class actions and criminal cartel cases. Interviewees variously describe him as "a fantastic competition junior," "an elite strategic thinker and one of the very best juniors at the New South Wales Bar" and "good on his feet and one of the juniors I would most want in a commercial case."

    Link to full rankings