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Judicial Profiles

The Hon Peter Heerey QC

Queen's Council, Dawson Chambers
Federal Court of Australia (1990-2009)
Former Deputy President, Australian Competition Tribunal

Qualifications | Work History| Relevant judgments | Relevant speeches and publications

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Relevant qualifications

  • BA University of Tasmania
  • LLB (First Class Honours) University of Tasmania
  • Queen's Counsel (1985)


Relevant work history

  • Queen's Council, Dawson Chambers (2009-)
  • 1990-2009 - Judge, Federal Court of Australia (17 Dec 1990 - 16 Feb 2009 (ret.))
  • Queens Counsel from 1985
  • Practiced at the Victorian Bar from 1967
  • Practiced as a solicitor in Hobart


Relevant judgments

  • ACCC v Visy Industries Holdings Pty Limited (No 3) [2007] FCA 1617 (2 November 2007)
    Admission of cartel conduct - penalties of $36m + imposed.
    Justice Heerey, in accepting agreed penalties, made several statements about cartel conduct generally and also famously observed that this 'cardboard box' cartel 'must be, by far, the most serious cartel case to come before the Court in the 30 plus years in which price fixing has been prohibited by statute'. Other statements of note include:

    • [306] Cartel behaviour of the kind with which this case is concerned is extremely destructive of the competition on which the prosperity of a free market economy depends. Often the profits can be immense, and the risk of detection slight. Of its nature, cartel behaviour is likely to occur in secret and between parties who seek mutual benefit. In the present case, detection occurred purely by chance when Amcor’s solicitors, in the course of quite unrelated litigation, stumbled across incriminating material.
    • [312] Every day every man, woman and child in Australia would use or consume something that at some stage has been transported in a cardboard box. The cartel in this case therefore had the potential for the widest possible effect.
    • [315] The cartel here went on for almost five years. Had it not been accidentally exposed, it would probably still be flourishing. It was run from the highest level in Visy, a very substantial company. It was carefully and deliberately concealed. It was operated by men who were fully aware of its seriously unlawful nature
  • News Ltd v South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club Ltd [2003] HCA 45
    Deals with s 45's prohibition of exclusionary provisions in relation to South Sydney's exclusion from the national rugby competition in 2000.
    Justice Heerey was a dissenting judge in the Full Federal Court decision. However, an appeal to the High Court was successful.


Relevant speeches and publications

Note, this does not purport to be a complete list

Articles and notes


  • October 2008 - delivered an after dinner speech at the University of South Australia Trade Practices Workshop entitled
    'The Merchant of Venice and the Trade Practices Act.' (later published in the Australian Law Journal: Hon Peter Heerey QC, 'The Merchant of Venice and the Trade Practices Act' (2010) 84 ALJ 112)



The Hot Tub
Justice Heerey features in a video produced by the University of Melbourne's Competition Law & Economics Network (CLEN) demonstrating Australia’s approach to expert evidence in competition law cases - a mock 'hot tub'. The mock 'hot tub' based on the facts in Boral and presided over by retired the Hon Peter Heerey QC who was the first instance judge in that case. In addition to the Hon Peter Heerey QC, the expert roles were played by Dr Philip Williams (for the ACCC) and Richard York (for Boral) and counsel were played by David Shavin QC (who acted for the ACCC in the Boral case) and Jack Fajgenbaum QC.