Stephen Free SC

Date of admission to the Bar

Date of appointment as Senior Counsel

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 class actions, competition, civil penalty, planning and regulatory matters.

Stephen has appeared in a number of significant class action matters, including for Westpac in the High Court matter of BMW v Brewster; Westpac v Lenthall, concerning the validity of common fund orders. He appeared for the successful applicants in the Live Cattle class action (Brett Cattle Company v Minister for Agriculture), for the Commonwealth in the class actions concerning PFAS contamination at Airforce Bases, for Volkswagen in the Takata Airbag class action and for the claimant class in the defective product claim of Williams v Toyota.

In the competition law sphere Stephen appeared for NSW in ACCC v NSW Ports and appears for Apple in ongoing proceedings brought by Epic Games. Significant environmental and planning matters include appearing for the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance in Kepco Bylong v BVPA, for the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal in Ku-Ring-Gai Council v Buyoza and for the Commonwealth in Minister for the Environment v Sharma.  

Other notable past matters include acting for former ICAC Commissioner the Honourable David Ipp in proceedings brought by Eddie Obeid and others, for the Commonwealth in the High Court in Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission and Williams v Commonwealth, for the Attorney General in judicial review proceedings arising from the Folbigg Inquiry, 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.

Stephen has appeared in various Royal Commissions, Commissions of Inquiry and coronial inquests, including as Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He appeared for the Commonwealth in the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and in the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

Specific practice areas include:

  • Administrative law
  • Appellate
  • Commercial & corporate law
  • Commissions of Inquiry
  • Constitutional law
  • Coronial inquiries and tribunals
  • Sports law
  • Environment and planning 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).

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

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