John Birrell

John was admitted as a solicitor in 2013 and called to the Bar in 2023. He accepts briefs in all areas of law.

Before coming to the Bar, John was a Senior Associate in the litigation team at Arnold Bloch Leibler. He acted for companies and individuals on a wide range of commercial disputes, regulatory investigations and enforcement action, white collar criminal matters, and public inquiries.

Prior to joining ABL in 2020, John was a senior solicitor at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and the Office of the Solicitor Assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and a solicitor in the litigation team at MinterEllison. 

John holds a Master of Laws from Columbia Law School, and a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University.

Meg O'Brien

Meg has a diverse practice in public, regulatory and commercial law. In 2022 and 2023 she was briefed as Counsel Assisting in the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes. Meg was admitted to practice in 2009 and called to the Bar in 2017.

Prior to being called to the Bar, Meg was a Supervising Associate in the litigation group at Simmons & Simmons LLP in London, a solicitor in the Dispute Resolution group at King & Wood Mallesons and a solicitor in the Litigation group at Arnold Bloch Leibler in Melbourne.  Meg has also served as an Associate in the Supreme Court of Victoria. As a solicitor, she was involved in a range of commercial, regulatory and public law matters.

Meg holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Arts from Monash University, and a Master of Laws from the University of Cambridge.

Monica Aguinaldo

Monica accepts briefs in all areas of law, specialising in commercial, regulatory and public law.

Before coming to the Bar, Monica was a Senior Associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.  She acted in matters involving commercial and corporations law, equity, consumer law and class actions.  Prior to that, Monica was an Associate to the Hon Justice Gageler AC at the High Court of Australia and the Hon Justice Jacobson at the Federal Court of Australia.

Monica holds a Master of Laws from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales.

Monica is honoured to be the recipient of the 2022 Katrina Dawson Award.

Alice Zheng

Alice has a broad practice in commercial litigation, including in contract, corporations law, equity, insolvency, and consumer law, as well as a regulatory and administrative law practice.  She acts regularly for both corporate and government clients.  She appears both led and unled in the NSW Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Australia, as well as other courts and tribunals.

Alice was admitted to practice in 2011 and called to the Bar in 2018.  Prior to coming to the Bar, Alice was a Senior Associate in the Commercial Litigation group at Clayton Utz.  Alice was also tipstaff to her Honour Justice J K Ward of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Alice has a BEcSocSci (Hon 1) and LLB (Hons 1) from the University of Sydney and an LLM (Class 1) from the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded the Gareth Jones Prize for Restitution.

Houda Younan

Houda was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2006, and the New South Wales Bar in 2007. Houda was appointed Senior Counsel in 2020.

Prior to admission, Houda worked a senior legal officer in the Office of International law in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in Canberra, which included cases before the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization.

Houda was formerly an associate to Chief Justice Spigelman of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Houda graduated with a BA/ LLB from the University of Sydney, both with first class honours, and a LLM from Cambridge University, under the tutelage of the late Judge James Crawford of the International Court of Justice, where she was awarded first class honours and the Clive Parry Prize for International Law.

Houda appears in the High Court and Federal Court of Australia, as well as State and Territory Supreme Courts, at both trial and appellate levels. She also appears in national tribunals, international courts of arbitration, and commissions of inquiry. Her clients include Commonwealth, State, Territory and foreign governments, as well as private entities.

Naomi Wootton

Naomi has a diverse practice across commercial, public and criminal law. She appears regularly in courts across Australia, including the High Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, and State Supreme Courts, as well as in tribunals and inquiries (both led and unled). 

Prior to coming to the Bar, Naomi was an Associate at the High Court of Australia, and tipstaff and Research Director to the Chief Justice of New South Wales, the Hon TF Bathurst AC KC. She also practised as a solicitor at Marrickville Legal Centre and taught Corporations Law at the Australian National University.

Naomi holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons I) and Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University, where she was awarded the University Medal in Law. She is a co-author of Uniform Evidence in Australia (4th ed, 2023).

Celia Winnett

Celia practises primarily in commercial and public law. She appears in courts and tribunals at all levels, including the High Court, where she has been junior counsel in 11 final hearings and multiple special leave hearings. Her practice also involves advice work and appearances in compulsory examinations for and against regulators.

Celia joined the Bar in 2016. Prior to that, she served as Counsel Assisting the Commonwealth Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson SC. In that role, she drafted legal opinions, assisted in preparing cases for hearing in domestic and international tribunals, and appeared as junior counsel for the Commonwealth. Celia previously worked as a lawyer within the Australian Government Solicitor, in the Banking & Finance and International Arbitration teams of Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Sydney), and as Associate to Justice Crennan of the High Court of Australia.

Celia has an LLM from Columbia Law School, which she attended on a Fulbright Scholarship. She also holds a BA/ LLB (First Class Honours, University Medal) from the Australian National University.

Celia is a Centre Fellow of the UNSW Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, a member of the NSW Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee, and NSW Co-Convenor for the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

Antony Whitlam

Tony was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1967 and took Silk in 1986. He was a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia from 1993 to 2005. Since returning to the Bar, Tony has advised in a wide variety of matters and he regularly appears in Court with Junior Counsel.

Daniel Ward

Daniel was called to the Bar in 2021.  He has a BCL (Distinction) from the University of Oxford, and University Medals in Law and Arts from the University of Sydney. 

He has represented corporate and individual clients, unled, in a range of civil and criminal matters in the High Court, Federal Court, and NSW Supreme, District and Local Courts, as well as the Fair Work Commission.  Led by Senior Counsel, he has also appeared for clients in civil and criminal appeals in the High Court, Federal Court, and NSW Courts of Appeal and Criminal Appeal.

Immediately prior to coming to the Bar, Daniel was a Special Counsel in the Sydney office of Norton Rose Fulbright.  Prior to that, he was General Counsel to the Prime Minister of Australia.  Earlier in his career, he worked in the office of the Commonwealth Attorney-General.  He was also an Associate to Chief Justice James Allsop AO, of the Federal Court of Australia.

.

David Thomas

David Thomas SC appears across Australia in a broad range of commercial and civil matters.  He has a particular interest in class actions, regulatory, revenue and constitutional law.  David appears at both trial and on appeal, including in the High Court.

Commercial and corporate law: Recent clients include HSBC on appeal in the Dick Smith litigation, IAL in the Greensill disputes, Channel Seven in claims against Cricket Australia, the Rinehart children in litigation against Gina Rinehart, NAB in proceedings concerning the Bank Bill Swap Rate and Brickworks in a landmark oppression action.           

Class actions: Clients include National Australia Bank, Westpac, RBS, Suncorp, NULIS, Star Entertainment, Multiplex and subsidiaries of BHP.  David has been appointed amicus by the Federal Court and NSW Supreme Court to provide submissions in novel matters.

Regulatory and civil penalty:David regularly acts for companies and individuals in proceedings brought by ASIC.  Recent clients include Macquarie Bank, Westpac, Rio Tinto, MLC Nominees, NAB and MLC Insurance.  David has also acted for ASIC and the ACCC respectively in High Court appeals concerning the operation of the MIS and cartel regimes.  David represented NAB in the Banking Royal Commission.

Revenue law: David appears for both taxpayers and the Commissioner.  Recent matters have involved Crown, Tabcorp, Tatts and Uber.  David has also appeared for the Commissioner in High Court appeals concerning franking credits and charitable trusts, and for high net-worth individuals in income and tax residency matters.

Constitutional law: Notable matters include High Court challenges to the mining tax, carbon tax and the reform of parliamentary pension entitlements.  He recently appeared in the first High Court challenge under s 90 of the Constitution since Ha.

David has been recognized in range of professional publications, including Best Lawyers in AustraliaLegal 500 and Who’s Who Legal.

David was awarded University Medals in both Law and History at the University of Sydney.  David subsequently received a BCL (with Distinction) from the University of Oxford, while holding the Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Law.  Prior to coming to the Bar, David was Associate to Justice Gummow at the High Court of Australia and a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons).