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Peter Butler AM RFD

Partner

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

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Experience

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 Internal 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 investigations by ASIC and APRA.

As a class actions specialist, he has acted in numerous high-profile class actions, including for clients such as Johnson and Johnson, Cash Converters and Ashley Holdings, among others.

Background

Peter became a partner of the Melbourne office at Freehills at 29 years of age after graduating from the University of Melbourne. He was seconded to Sydney office at Freehills, and 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 of Reuters Plc. 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.

Market Recognition

Recognised as one of Australia’s strongest litigators by Australian Financial Review ‘Best Lawyers’ in Class Actions, ADR and Litigation 2017; PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook; Who’s Who Legal: Australia 2019; Best Lawyers in Australia 2019; Commercial Litigation Lawyer of the Year – Global Awards 2019.