Peter Butler AM RFD
Peter is a highly experienced litigator who regularly advises Australia’s largest companies on class actions, contractual disputes, and regulatory issues.
Peter has practised as a litigator in Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York, and regularly advises Australia’s largest companies on Corporations Law matters, contractual disputes, construction disputes, class actions and regulatory issues.
Peter regularly lectures on a variety of litigation topics including directors’ obligations, privilege and the conduct of litigation in the Supreme and Federal courts. Peter is co-author of Class Actions in Australia in Litigation Issues in the Distribution of Securities: An International Perspective.
Major clients he has acted for include ANZ, NAB, CBA, Macquarie Bank, Westpac, Caltex, Leucadia, Honeywell, Telstra, BHP, CSR, CSIRO, Lend Lease, University of NSW, Shell, Coles Myer, Santos, Cash Converters Ltd, Johnson & Johnson, Standard Poor’s, Ashley Services Ltd, Reuters Plc and many others. He has advised the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments on a range of issues and has advised investment banks and other financial institutions in relation to securities market and other investigations by ASIC, AUSTRAC and APRA.
As a class actions specialist, he has acted in numerous high-profile class actions, including for clients such as Johnson and Johnson, Toyota, Bayer, Cash Converters and Ashley Holdings, among others.
Peter assisted the firm in a number of senior management roles before accepting a secondment to London to work as Special Counsel for the Board and as Head of Compliance at a major public company. He became Freehills’ first Head of Litigation. Since then he has maintained a substantial litigation practice and has returned full time to his practice following his resignation as Managing Partner in February 2010. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2018.
Recognised as one of Australia’s strongest litigators by Best Lawyers in Australia 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024; Doyles – Recommended 2021; Who’s Who Legal: Commercial Litigation 2021 and 2022; Who’s Who Legal: Australia & New Zealand 2021 and 2022; Who’s Who Legal: Australia 2020; Global Awards 2019 – Commercial Litigation Lawyer of the Year; Australian Financial Review ‘Best Lawyers’ in Class Actions, ADR and Litigation 2017; and PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook. He is a Fellow of ACICA.