fiona mcleod SC

B.A, LlB, M.(Pub & Int) Law, GAICD

Fiona McLeod SC is a Senior Counsel at the independent Bar in Australia practising in the areas of commercial and public law matters. She appears in jury and judge-alone trials and appeals and is also briefed in common law and criminal matters.

Fiona is recognised for her clear legal advice, advocacy and strategic thinking. She represented the Commonwealth of Australia in major cases including leading the legal team in the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Queensland Floods Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse. She has acted in other notable matters including leading the legal team representing the successful plaintiff in the Murrindindi bushfire class action and acts for the plaintiffs in the Don Dale class action. A selection of leading cases is available here.

Fiona is a leader of the national and international legal profession having led the Law Council of Australia, Australian Bar Association, Victorian Bar and Australian Women Lawyers. She is the Co-Chair of the Diversity Council and an officer of the Bar Issues Committee of the International Bar Association and a member of the Council of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. 

She has been acknowledged as an 'Outstanding Advocate and Leader of the Profession' (The Advocate Award) and one of Melbourne's most "influential, inspirational, provocative and creative individuals" (The Age). In 2017 she devised and, with the support of a Steering Committee, led the Justice Project, a landmark research project undertaken by the Law Council into access to justice impacts on vulnerable groups in Australia launched in 2018.

Fiona is actively engaged in supporting government and institutional transparency and integrity. She is the Chair of the Accountability Round Table and a former Chair of Transparency International Australia and the Open Government Forum.

She has been a champion for diversity and inclusion and has received numerous awards, including for her contribution to the advancement of women and human rights issues, in particular, human trafficking. She was appointed to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2014 and was awarded the AWL Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2018. 

Fiona graduated with Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Master of Public & International Law from the University of Melbourne. She completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Company Directors Course in 2017. 


Senior Counsel, Victorian Bar

Ambassador, Victorian Honour Roll for Women

Chair, Accountability Round Table 

Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Council, International Bar Association

Officer, Bar Issues Committee, International Bar Association

Council Member, Commonwealth Lawyers Association

Member National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery, Attorney General's Department

Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers

Fellow, Australian Academy of Law

Advisory Council, Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University 


selection of Previous Appointments

President, Law Council of Australia 2017

Chair, Transparency International Australia 2018-2019

President, Australian Bar Association 2015

Co Chair, Australian Government Open Government Forum, Prime Minister & Cabinet

Chair, Australian Government Labour Exploitation Working Group, National Roundtable on Trafficking, Home Affairs

Multi Stakeholder Advisory Group on Implementation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, DFAT 2017

Advisory Council, University of Melbourne Law School

Chair, Appeals Panel, Royal Australian College of Surgeons

Chair, Victorian Bar 2012 - 2013 

President, Australian Women Lawyers 2007 – 2008

Sessional Member, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal 1999 – 2004

Solicitor, Cornwall Stodart 1988 – 1991

Member, Cth Attorney General's International Legal Services Advisory Committee

Chair, Victorian Chiropractors Registration Board Review Panel

Chair, Victorian Chinese Medicine Registration Board Review Panel

Chair, Victoria Legal Aid Appeals Panel

President, Young Lawyers Section, Law Institute of Victoria

President, Australasian Law Students Association

President, Law Student Society, University of Melbourne

Woman Lawyer of the Year, Australian Women Lawyers 2018

Victorian Honour Roll of Women, 2014

Barrister of the Year Award, Lawyers Weekly, 2015

Mentor of the Year Award, Lawyers Weekly, 2015

Excellence Award, LawyersWeekly, 2015

The Advocate Award, Lawyers Weekly, 2013

Women in Law Award, Lawyers Weekly, 2012

Anti-Slavery Australia Freedom Award, Australian Government, 2011

Ron Merkel QC Award, Victorian Bar, 2011

The Age Top 100, The Age Newspaper, 2011

Public Interest Award, Victorian Bar, 2010

Justice Innovation Award, Victorian Bar, 2010

Women Lawyers Achievement Award, Victorian Women Lawyers and Women Barristers Association, 2005



Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality Safety - Senior Counsel for Bupa Aged Care and Assisi 2019

Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry - Senior Counsel for Hollard BRC and Greenstone Financial Services 2018

Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse - Senior Counsel for the Commonwealth 2013-2017

Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry – Senior Counsel for the Commonwealth, 2011- 2012

Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission – Senior Counsel for the Commonwealth, 2009-2010

Christian Youth Camps Ltd v Cobaw Community Heath Services  Victorian Court of Appeal, appearing for intervenor International Commission of Jurists concerning competing rights of anti-discrimination and freedom of religion under Equal Opportunity laws and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities - refusal to provide accommodation services to the plaintiff, a state-wide youth suicide prevention project targeting same-sex attracted people, on grounds of incompatibility with doctrines of religious group. 



Rowe v Ausnet Electricity Services & Ors (Murrundindi Bushfires class action) (formerly Liesfield v SP Ausnet) Class action representing victims of the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires for personal injuries, dependency claims, property and economic loss and property damage. Issues concerning operation and maintenance of electricity transmission assets and failure of State parties to warn communities of the progress of the fires. Case settled for $300M. 

Metropolitan Fire Brigade v City of Yarra
Supreme Court of Victoria and Court of Appeal, claim for cost of cleanup of toxic waste abandoned on former industrial land. Interpretation of recovery provisions of the EPA. Acting for plaintiff, successful at trial. Judgment upheld on appeal, application for special leave to appeal to the High Court pending, trial on quantum awaiting decision on special leave application.

Wheelahan & Ors. v City of Casey 
Supreme Court of Victoria, claims exceeding $200 million for remediation costs associated with methane leaching landfill (‘Casey landfill’ case). Acting for Frankston City Council


Commercial Law

Director Consumer Affairs v Domain Register Pty Ltd December 2016 - VID 328 of 2015 Federal Court Murphy J, misleading and deceptive conduct, unsolicited domain name registration services Fair Trade Act and Australian Consumer Law 

John Gdanski v Palms Court Management 2016 Victorian Supreme Court, on appeal to Court of Appeal, commercial property dispute over undisclosed easement 

Huber v Chua Min Wee & Ors. 2015-16 Provision of expert reports to the High Court of Singapore instructed by TSMP Law Corporation (Singapore) concerning beneficial shareholding of tax haven companies and the operation of the Corporations Act and Bankruptcy Act upon a cross border dispute. 

ASIC v Narain - 247 ALR 659; 66 ACSR 688; ASIC v Citrofresh - 245 ALR 47 - at trial, on appeal and on special leave to High Court breaches of continuous disclosure obligations and directors duties. Appeared at trial, on appeal and on special leave to High Court

Haslam v Money For Living (Admin Appointed) - 250 ALR 419; ASIC v Money For Living (Admin Apptd) (No 2) - 59 ACSR 510 - for ASIC in Federal Court, unregistered managed investment scheme involving reverse mortgage style products

ASIC v GDK Financial Solutions Pty Ltd - 236 ALR 699; 60 ACSR 447 - for ASIC in Federal Court, on appeal to Full Court and in High Court, winding up of unregistered managed investment schemes and related proceedings.

VCA v APRA - 105 ALD 236; 92 ALD 724 – for APRA at the AAT, prudential regulation of the superannuation industry regulation and breaches of directors duty

Aussie Airlines Pty Ltd v Australian Airlines Ltd - 139 ALR 663; 135 ALR 753 in Federal Court, and Full Federal Court for Aussie Airlines, third party interest in letting of airport facilities.

Sky Channel Marketing Pty Limited v Hall [2006] FCA 854; Sky Channel Marketing v Hall and Australian Jockey Club; Sky v TVN & Austar [2005] NSWSC 909 - for Thoroughvision/TVN, NSW Supreme Court and Federal Court, restrictive trade practices concerning sports broadcasting rights of thoroughbred racing in NSW and Victoria



Timbercorp Securities Ltd - [2011] VSC 83 acting for principal secured creditor ANZ Bank instructed by Allens, advice on effect of contractual arrangements re proceedings in Victorian Supreme Court

National Safety Council of Australia (Vic Division) - [1992] 1 VR 485 acting for the liquidator John Perrins in a number of recovery proceedings in Victorian Supreme Court including claims of unfair transactions and preferences

TEAC Australia Ltd (later ACN 005 408 462) - acting for ASIC on winding up application and restraint of director by injunction in Federal Court

Estate Mortgage Managers Ltd. - acting for the new trustees Messrs Murphy and Allen in NSW Supreme Court proceedings against the auditors over representations in management reports

Pyramid Building Society Ltd (In Liq) - acting for liquidator Robert Edge in a number of recovery proceedings in Victorian Supreme Court


Administrative Law

VCA v APRA - 105 ALD 236; 92 ALD 724 – for APRA at AAT, superannuation industry regulation and breaches of duty

Kennedy v Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria - 21 VR 292 regulation of medical practitioner, on appeal from Medical Board to Supreme Court of Victoria

Weinstein v Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria - 21 VR 29 Supreme Court and Court of Appeal concerning the regulation of conduct of a medical practitioner on appeal to Vcitorian Supreme Court and apprehended bias and powers of statutory inquiry into misconduct of medical practitioner

Geelong Community For Good Life v EPA and Shell - 20 VR 338 - concerning the Corio Shell Refinery and EPA issuing of pollutant emissions licenses to Shell Refinery in Corio in the Victorian Supreme Court

Blue Wedges Inc v Minister For The Environment, Heritage And The Arts - Port Philip Dredging Case concerning the dredging of toxic metals and other contaminants and dumping in Port Philip.

Inquests have included review of practices of corrections and parole, deaths in custody; deaths in hospital; road accidents and deaths at public venues. Inquest into the death of Sarah Cafferkey



DPP v Kannan, prosecuting slavery offences under the Commonwealth Criminal Code 2017

Local Government Inspectorate v Tsitsas, successfully defending Local Government Act offences leading to withdrawal of charges 2016-2017