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.

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.

Stephen Lloyd

Stephen came to the Bar in 1998, taking silk ten years later.  His practice ranges across all areas of public law, with a particular emphasis on Constitutional Law, Judicial Review, International Law and Revenue Law.  He also practices extensively in Native Title (in which field he is a co-author of the leading textbook) and in regulatory pricing and economic matters.

Stephen has an extensive appellate practice, having appeared in the Full Court of the High Court in over 60 proceedings (not counting special leave applications).  He has appeared before the Federal Court in over 500 cases, as well as appearing in the Supreme Courts of several States, and other courts and tribunals.  He acts in proceedings in all Australian states and (internal) territories. Prior to coming to the Bar, Stephen held senior executive positions in the Commonwealth public service (including as a diplomat based in Washington DC, and as the Director of Research of the Administrative Review Council).  He was also the co-head of the Constitutional and Native Title Unit, in the Commonwealth’s Office of Litigation.

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.

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.

Neil Williams

Neil Williams came to the Bar in 1989 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2001. He appeared in a wide range of major cases both at first instance and on appeal including, major environmental and planning issues, major tax matters, major constitutional issues, a wide range of general administrative law matters, competition and consumer law matters, broadcasting matters, and criminal appeals. He appeared in all Australian jurisdictions, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Nauru.

He now does advising work in those fields.

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).

Stephen Speirs

Stephen has a broad commercial practice, with a focus on regulatory litigation (including civil penalty and administrative enforcement) and white-collar criminal matters.  His experience includes corporations law, consumer law, insider trading and market misconduct, anti-money laundering, tax fraud, and foreign bribery.  Stephen also regularly advises on search warrants and regulatory investigations.

Stephen holds law degrees from Sydney University and Columbia University in New York. Before coming to the Bar in 2021, Stephen was a Senior Associate at Ashurst, and also practised as an attorney at a leading law firm in New York. Before that, he was Tipstaff to the Honourable Ian G Harrison of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Stephen is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Melbourne and UNSW, where he teaches ‘White Collar Crime’. He regularly publishes academic articles and is a co-author of the textbook, Corporate Misconduct & White-Collar Crime in Australia: Regulation, Investigation & Enforcement (Thomson Reuters, 2022). In 2019, Stephen was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Review into Australia’s ‘Corporate Criminal Responsibility Regime’.

Stephen was admitted to practice in 2013 and called to the Bar in 2021.

Jordan Smith

Jordan accepts briefs in all areas of law. He has particular interest in contract, corporations, equity, insolvency, and intellectual property.

Prior to being called to the Bar in 2022, Jordan was a lawyer at Arnold Bloch Leibler where he practised primarily in commercial litigation and white-collar crime. In 2018, Jordan was Associate to the Honourable Justice Robertson of the Federal Court of Australia.

Jordan holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Chicago and combined Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Science (Advanced) degrees from the University of Sydney, with Honours in nuclear physics.

Matt Sherman

Matt was admitted to practice in 2011 and was called to the bar in 2017.  He accepts briefs in all areas of law but has a particular focus on commercial, regulatory and public law matters, including class actions, competition, corporations, consumer, equity, administrative law, civil penalty, revenue and judicial review proceedings.

Prior to joining the Bar, Matt worked as a solicitor in the dispute resolution and competition teams at King & Wood Mallesons and as an associate to Justice Robertson of the Federal Court. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Commerce from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Civil Law (Distinction) from the University of Oxford.