Stephen Free SC

Date of admission to the Bar
2006

Date of appointment as Senior Counsel
2018

Areas of practice

Stephen Free SC practises nationally, undertaking trial and appellate work in a range of areas in State and Federal Courts. He specialises in public and commercial law matters, including competition, civil penalty and regulatory matters. He has appeared in various Royal Commissions, Tribunals and other Commissions of Inquiry, including as Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He acts for the Commonwealth in the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care.

Notable recent matters include appearing for Westpac in the High Court in Westpac v Lenthall, concerning the validity of common fund orders. He is currently acting for the Commonwealth in the class actions concerning PFAS contamination at Airforce Bases, for Volkswagen in the Takata Airbag class action and for NSW in competition proceedings brought by the ACCC regarding Ports of Newcastle, Kembla and Botany. He is briefed for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in the criminal prosecution of ANZ and others for alleged cartel conduct. He appears regularly for the Minister for Planning and the Environment and advises the Independent Planning Commission of NSW.

Other notable past matters including acting for former ICAC Commissioner the Honourable David Ipp in proceedings brought by Eddie Obeid and others, for Gai Waterhouse in racing tribunal proceedings, for David Hicks in proceeds of crime proceedings, for CITIC in various proceedings against Mineralogy and Clive Palmer and for a number of judicial officers in proceedings in the Judicial Commission of NSW.

Specific practice areas include:

  • Administrative law
  • Appellate
  • Commercial & corporate law
  • Commissions of Inquiry
  • Constitutional law
  • Environment & planning law
  • Coronial inquiries and tribunals
  • Sports law
  • Trade practices, competition & regulatory law

Academic history

Stephen studied at the Australian National University, where he was awarded University Medals in Law and History. He continued his studies at Oxford University (Magdalen College) on a Commonwealth Scholarship. Stephen was awarded the Vinerian Scholarship as the top student in the BCL and went on to receive an MPhil (Distinction).

Qualifications
BA(Hons)/LLB (Hons) (ANU)
BCL (Oxon)
MPhil (Oxon)

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