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Judicial Profiles

The Hon Peter Heerey AM 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


Relevant qualifications and awards

  • BA University of Tasmania
  • LLB (First Class Honours) University of Tasmania
  • Queen's Counsel (1985)
  • Member, General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the judiciary through the Federal Court of Australia, to the development of legal principle in the areas of intellectual property, trade practices and military law, and to the community (26 January 2002)


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


Academic apointments

  • Chair, Advisory Board for the Graduate Program in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Melbourne
  • Member, Advisory Board for the Competition Law Program at the University of Melbourne
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Tasmania.
  • Judge in Residence
    • Samford University, Birmingham Alabama (1993)
    • McGill University, Montreal, Quebec (1996-97)
    • University College Dublin (2001)
    • University of Tasmania (2005)
  • Taught Patent and Trade Mark Law at the Monash University campus in Prato, Italy, 2007. 


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
  • Apco Service Stations Pty Ltd v ACCC (2005) ATPR 42-078
    Price fixing
  • News Ltd v South Sydney District Rugby League Football Club Ltd (2000) 111 FCR 456 (full Federal Court)
    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, his Honour's dissent was affirmed by the High Court: [2003] HCA 45; (2003) 215 CLR 563
  • ACCC v Boral Ltd (1999) 166 ALR 410 (trial)
    Justice Heerey delivered the trial judgment in this case; the case was ultimately was appealed to the High Court where his Honours decision was affirmed.


Relevant speeches and publications

Note, this does not purport to be a complete list

Articles and notes


  • The Merchant of Venice and the Trade Practices Act (speech delivered an after dinner speech at the University of South Australia Trade Practices Workshop October 2008 and later published in the Australian Law Journal: Hon Peter Heerey QC, 'The Merchant of Venice and the Trade Practices Act' (2010) 84 ALJ 112)
  • Substantial Market Power after Boral (paper delivered to the Fourteenth Annual Workshop of the Competition Law and Policy Institute of New Zealand, Auckland NZ on 23 August 2003)
  • Past Present and Future of section 46 (paper delivered to the Conference on Trade Practices Law and Economics, Victor Harbour SA on 13 September 2003)
  • Trade Practices Act 1974 - 24 Years On (paper presented at the 1998 Corporate Law Conference sponsored by the Leo Cussen Institute and the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, 24 September 1998)
  • Developments in Part IV and Section 155 of the Trade Practices Act (paper delivered at the Leo Cussen Institute Melbourne on 28 November 1994)



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.