Mr Peter G Willis S.C.

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Peter Willis appears and advises in a wide range of corporate and commercial and public law matters, especially in the Supreme and Federal Courts. He also appears before VCAT and Planning Panels Victoria.

His experience focuses on commercial law and equity, especially in financial services and resources, as well as public law (constitutional and administrative law, planning and environment law, international law and native title) for Government and private clients. He has served as a director and compliance committee member of an Australian financial services licensee and as chairman of the Disciplinary Appeals Board of the Victorian Education department. He was selected by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in Energy Law in 2017.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Peter was a parter of Mallesons Stephen Jaques and acted in corporations and securities, commercial, banking and  finance and resources transactions in Melbourne and London. He also served as Ministerial Adviser to two Federal Attorneys-General.

Peter is Editor of the Victorian Reports (from 2016) and Chair of CommBar's Equity Section and Chair of the Bar's Human Rights Committee. 

He is an Executive Committee member of the International Law Association Victorian chapter and Australian representative on the ILA's International Securities Regulation Committee of experts and a Senior Advisor to Transparency International Australia.   


  • AMPLA (Australian Mining & Petroleum Law Assoc)
  • American Society of International Law 
  • Australian Institute of Administrative Law 
  • International Bar Association (Sections on Business Law and Energy, Environment & Resources Law)
  • International Law Association (Vice-President, Victorian Committee)
  • Law Council of Australia (Business Law and International Law sections)
  • Victorian Bar Commercial Bar Association (chair, Equity Section)
  • Victorian Bar Human Rights Committee (chair)
  • Victorian Bar Indigenous Justice Committee
  • Victorian Planning & Environmental Law Association  

Leading cases include:

Banking and Finance

Burge v Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2016] HCATrans 224 - Loan - mortgagee in possession - determination of Finanical Ombudsman Service Ltd - application for injunction against mortgagee sale.

Argot (ACN 074 97 109 Pty Ltd) v The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd (2013) 305 ALR 722; (2013) 97 ACSR 63; [2013] VSCA 241 - Life insurance - unit-linked investment policy - arbitrage - contractual construction - repudiation - valuation of policy - administration of switching between portfolios - good faith.

Affirming ACN v NMLA [2011] VSC 519; varying ACN v NMLA [2012] VSC 177. Special leave to appeal successfully resisted: [2014] HCASL 172.

Smolle v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited [2008] FCA 1065 - re-instatement of investment claim.

Commercial Law and insolvency

Jafari v Alderuccio (2015) VSCA [not public] - Receivers appointed by Court - principles.

Stewart v Atco Controls Pty Ltd (2014) 252 CLR 307; [2014] HCA 15 -  Equity - insolvency - liquidators, receivers and administrators - equitable lien for costs, expenses and remuneration incurred in getting in, preserving and realising asset of company for benefit of creditors - lien has priority over mortgagor's security - lien not disapplied by conduct of liquidator in failed attempt to set aside security - lien not affected by section 564 of Corporations Act - Re Universal Distributing Co principle explained.

Reversing Atco Controls Pty Ltd v Stewart (2013) 31 ACLC 13-065; [2013] VSCA 132. Affirming Re Newtronics Pty Ltd (2011) 29 ACLC 11-054; [2011] VSC 349. 

Newtronics Pty Ltd v Atco Controls Pty Ltd (2008) 69 ACSR 317; (2009) 25 VR 411 (CA); [2010] HCATrans 109 (HCASL) - Letters of comfort - Contract by parent company not to enforce security and to provide financial support to subsidiary - Whether promissory or merely representational - Whether circumstances surrounding the letters were sufficient to create legal obligations; Receivers - Whether validly appointed - Reasonable belief of valid appointment - Whether receivers relieved from liability on basis that conduct was honest and ought fairly be relieved - ss 419(3) and 1318 Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

We Two Pty Ltd v Shorrock (No 2) (2005) 220 ALR 749 - Trade mark infringement - private international law - foreign judgment in breach of compromise - when party should be ordered to vacate judgment - discretionary factors; compromise of action - accord and satisfaction - enforcement of terms - summary procedure.

Corporations and Securities

Re Jervois Mining Ltd (2016) 117 ACSR 205; [2016] NSWSC 1650 - Listed company - Removal of directors - Contravention of Corporations Act notice provisions for convening general meeting of members - Corporations Act ss 203D, 249F, 249N, 249O, 250BD, 1322.

Kinarra Pty Ltd v On Q Group Ltd (2008) 65 ACSR 438; (2008) 26 ACLC 182 - Listed company - Financial assistance for purchase of shares in contravention of s 260A of Corporations Act 2001.

Australian Securities & Investments Commission v GDK Financial Solutions Pty Ltd [2006] FCA 1415 - Managed investment schemes - unregistered scheme - winding up - court ordered - effect of "winding up" - procedure for winding up - receiver appointed - powers of receiver - whether powers should be the same as those of a company liquidator.

Paint Horse Association of Australia Ltd v Holobradek [2003] VSC 411- Companies - Directors - Application for interlocutory injunction to restrain defendant from representing herself as being director of plaintiff - Alleged irregularities in calling of meeting at which existing directors were voted out of office and replaced by other directors including defendant.

Trade Practices

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission v BMW Australia Limited [2003] FCA 727; (No. 2) [2003] FCA 864; [2004] FCAFC 167 - Trade Practices - Consumer protection - s 61C of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) - compliance with prescribed product safety standard - wording of warning to be placed on vehicle jacks - whether warning is dangerous - meaning of "words to the same effect" - Compliance program - whether appropraite to order by way of relief.


George v Kollias [2007] VSC 46 - Trusts - Trustee Act 1958, s 63A - Multifamily, multi-generration discretionary trust - Application for approval of variation arrangement - Consented to by all beneficiaries of full age and capacity - Whether for benefit of minors and persons unborn - Whether to  approve.

Constitutional and Administrative Law

Bright v Northern Land Council and others [2017] FCA - ADJR review of decision of Native Title Registrar to register land use agreement - representative Aboriginal body under Native Title Act certifying that all persons who hold or might hold native title had been identifed - plaintiff not identified - whether representative body exercising statutory role in fiduciary capacity - conflict of interest.

Burge v Commonwealth Bank of Australia [2016] HCATrans 224 - Application for constitutional writs - Original jurisidiction of High Court - Constitution, s 75.  

Victoria v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (2013) 218 FCR 172; [2013] FCAFC 160 - Constitutional law - States - power of the Executive of the State to adopt policies and guidelines for contracting and awarding tenders for public works - Victorian Code of Practice for Building and Construction Industry and Implementation Guidelines - relationship with federal Fair Work Act 2009. 

Reversing CFMEU v Victoria [2013 FCA 445; CFMEU v McCorkell [2013] FCA 446; and CFMEU v Victoria [2013] FCA 1034. Special leave to appeal to High Court successfully resisted: [2014] HCA Trans 173.

Mark Lane Jangala v The Commonwealth and Northern Land Council and others [2014] FCA - Administrative Law - Aboriginal Land Rights - nomination of land by Land Council for purposes of radioactive waste management facility - identification of traditional Aboriginal owners - consultation with traditional owners - what is required - whether right people were consulted - good faith and proper purpose - conflict of interests - effect of statutory "no validity" clause.

Planning and environment

Iluka Resources Ltd v Horsham Rural CC [2017] VCAT 107 - Planning - intersection of plannig scheme and Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act - disposal of mineral sands by-product - naturally-occurring radioactive material - whether inconsistent with Environmental Effects Statement or rehabilitation obligations.

AGL Loy Yang Pty Ltd v Secretary, DEDJTR [2016] VCAT 1249 - Mineral Resources - appeal against conditions attached to Work Plan Variation - consent orders, where interested third party (Council) neither consented nor opposed.

Caramar Holdings Pty Ltd v Banyule CC [2016] VCAT 450 - Planning - medium density devlopment in context of newly-adopted structure plan for major activity centre.  

Day v Hobsons Bay CC [2016] VCAT 435 - Planning - Residential in-fill development in vicinity of major hazard facility (refinery) - avoding incremental intensification of risk.  

Newport Properties Vic Pty Ltd v Hobsons Bay CC [2016] VCAT 240 - Planning - redevelopment of former industrial land - proximity of high-pressure gas pipeline - regime to avoid impact of development.

NP Development Pty Ltd v Hobsons Bay CC & Ors (Red Dot) [2014] VCAT 861 - Planning - redevelopment of former industrial land - proximity of major hazard facility (petroleum storage).   

Native Title

Griffiths v Northern Territory [2014] FCA 256 - Native Title - Compensation for extinghishment - preliminary questions - vacant Crown Land covered by claimant applications - effect of Crown to Crown grants - s 47B, Native Title Act 1993. 

Mullett on behalf of the Gunai/Kurnai People v Victoria (No. 2) [2010] FCA 1514; [2010] FCA 1144 - native title consent determination for Gippsland.

Edwards on behalf of the Wamba Wamba, Barapa Barapa, Wadi Wadi People v Victoria [2010] FCA 744- Native Title - change of government policy - Victorian Native Title Settlement Framework - concerns about delay.

Rose on behalf of the Kurnai Clans v Victoria [2010] FCA 460 - Native Title - overlapping claims - issue of group composition - whether application as currently defined includes all persons who hold native title.

Lovett on behalf of the Gunditjmara People v Victoria [2007] FCA 474 - native title consent determination for Western Victoria - principles to be applied by Court in making consent determination.

Yorta Yorta v Victoria (2002) 214 CLR 422 - requirement of continuity of claimant's society as underpinning for traditional laws and customs.

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Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.

Formal Details 0

  • Admitted to Practice
    01 March 1982
  • First Signing Bar Roll
    18 November 1999
  • Date Appointed Silk
    24 November 2015
  • Qualifications
    LLB (Hons), BA Hons

Areas of Speciality

  • Banking & Finance
  • Corporations & Securities
  • Equity
  • Insolvency Law
  • Intellectual Property & Trade Practices
  • International Law
  • Public Law