Julian Burnside Portrait

Julian Burnside AO QC

Bar roll 1976 Silk 1989
  • Commercial Law Employment & Industrial
  • Intellectual Property Tort Law
  • Public Law
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Julian Burnside AO QC practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law

While maintaining a strong commercial practice, Julian has also developed a distinguished public law practice. He regularly appears in both first instance and appellate proceedings in the Supreme Court, and the Federal Court in Victoria and across other states. He also appears in the High Court of Australia.

Julian's landmark cases include successfully appearing for the Plaintiff in Trevorrow v. South Australia which was the first time a court recognised membership of the 'Stolen Generation' as a basis for legal compensation. He also successfully appeared before the Federal Court and in the High Court for the Maritime Union of Australia in the Patrick Stevedores v MUA litigation (the 'Waterfront Dispute'). 

In recent years Julian has become one of Australia's leading advocates in relation to Australia's treatment of asylum seekers and the protection of human rights and is also an accomplished author.  In 2009 Julian was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his work as a human rights advocate, and for his services to the arts and the law.

Listen to Julian Burnside's Oral History


Chambers & Clerk

Owen Dixon Chambers West

525 Lonsdale Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

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Jane King

03 9225 8558


Commercial Law
  • Appellate
  • Banking & Finance
  • Bankruptcy
  • Class Actions
  • Commercial Arbitration
  • Competition
  • Consumer Law
  • Contractual Disputes
  • Corporate Insolvency
  • Equity & Trusts
  • Insurance
  • Residential & Retail Tenancies
Employment & Industrial
  • Appellate
  • Employment Contracts
Intellectual Property
  • Appellate
  • Confidential Information
  • Information Technology
Tort Law
  • Appellate
  • Class Actions
  • Commissions & Inquiries
  • Common Law
  • Defamation
  • Negligence
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Negligence
Public Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Appellate
  • Civil & Human Rights
  • Commissions & Inquiries
  • Immigration
  • Judicial Review



Bachelor of Economics

Bachelor of Laws



New South Wales

South Australia


Western Australia

Entitled to practise in

State and Territory Courts and Tribunals

Federal Court of Australia

High Court of Australia

Recent Cases

Corporations Law

Counsel for NCSC in BHP takeover cases (takeovers: Supreme Court of Victoria) 

Counsel for ACI in takeover case (takeovers: Supreme Court of Victoria)

Counsel for Respondent in Autodesk v. Dyason (computer copyright: Federal Court, High Court) 

Counsel for Plaintiff in Crittenden v. ANZ (guarantees: Supreme Court of Victoria)

Counsel for Alan Bond in La Promenade prosecution (committal and trial, WA) 

Counsel for Plaintiff in Porteous v. Rinehart (Corporations, trusts, fiduciary duties: Supreme Court of WA) 

Counsel for Maritime Union of Australia in Patrick Stevedores v. Maritime Union (Corporations law, external administration, industrial law: Federal Court, High Court)

Counsel for Plaintiff in Premier Developments v. Spotless(Corporations, environmental law: Supreme Court) 

Trade Practices

Counsel for Applicant in ACCC v. J. McPhee & Co (trade practices, price fixing: Federal Court)

Counsel for Applicant in ACCC v. Universal Music & Ors (trade practices, exclusionary conduct: Federal Court)

Counsel for Respondent in ACCC v. MUA & Ors (trade practices, exclusionary conduct: Federal Court)

Counsel for Respondent in ACCC v. SIP & Ors (trade practices, exclusionary conduct: Federal Court) 

Counsel for intervenor in Melway v. Hicks (trade practices, misuse of market power: High Court) 

Counsel for Applicant in ACCC v. Leahy Petroleum (trade practices, price fixing: Federal Court)

Counsel for Plaintiff in Mirvac v. La Rocca (misleading and deceptive conduct: Supreme Court) 

Counsel for Respondent individual in ACCC v. Visy, Carroll & Ors(trade practices, price fixing: Federal Court)

Tort and Equity

Counsel for Plaintiff in Trevorrow v. South Australia (stolen generation, personal injuries, fiduciary duties: Supreme Court of SA)

Public Law

Counsel for Applicant in Ruhani v. Commissioner of Police No.1 and No. 2 (litigation relating to the Pacific Solution: High Court)

Counsel assisting Australian Broadcasting Authority in "Cash for Comment" inquiry.



Victorian Society for Computers and Law, founding member

Liberty Victoria, past President 

The Justice Project, founding member

Fortyfive Downstairs, Chair

The Mietta Foundation, Chair