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Peter Butler AM RFD



Peter is a highly experienced litigator who regularly advises Australia’s largest companies on Corporations Law matters, contractual disputes, class actions and regulatory issues.



The former Head of Litigation for Herbert Smith Freehills, Peter has held several management roles within the firm including Managing Partner. He also spent two years on secondment to Reuters in London as Special Counsel for the Board and Head of Compliance.

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 Internal Perspective.

Peter regularly lectures on topics including directors’ obligations and legal professional privilege. He is the Chair of the Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Pro Bono & Citizenship Council. He was the Chairman of the Starlight Children’s Foundation from 2008-2016 and is now a Board member. He is the Chair of the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Advisory Council; and the Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law Board of Advisors (Practical Law). He is also a Board Member of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation; and the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC).

Recognised as one of Australia’s strongest litigators by Australian Financial Review ‘Best Lawyers’ in Class Actions, ADR and Litigation 2017; Best Lawyers International 2015; PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook, and ranked ‘Leading’ by Doyles survey of Commercial Litigation Practitioners 2015; Who’s Who Legal: Australia 2017.

Peter has advised the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments on a range of issues. He has regularly advised corporations in Australia and overseas, and also the boards of corporations.

Major clients he has acted for include ANZ, NAB, CBA, Macquarie Bank, Westpac, Caltex, Leucadia, Honeywell, Telstra, BHP, CSR, Lend Lease, Shell, Coles Myer, Santos, Cash Converters Ltd, Johnson & Johnson, Ashley Services Ltd, Reuters Plc and many others. He has advised investment banks and other financial institutions in relation to securities market investigations by ASIC and APRA. He has acted in several class actions claims for clients, such as Johnson and Johnson, Cash Converters and Ashley Holdings.

Other recent experience includes:

  • acted for Johnson and Johnson in a class action (successfully resolved after a 16 week hearing)
  • acting for Cash Converters on two separate class actions
  • advising Standard and Poor in relation to class action issues in the Federal Court
  • acting for Ashley Holdings on a class action
  • acting for the CEO of a public company against ASIC following the resolution of a class action
  • acted for a bank regarding ASIC enquires in the context of a possible class action
  • acting for Leucadia National Corporation in substantial litigation regarding a rectification claim and other matters against Fortescue Metals Group Ltd

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