Matthew Barrett

ADMITTED  1993    BAR  1995

PHONE  9225 7173
MOBILE  0413 382 089

Matthew Barrett, LL.B , BA, SJD


  • Banking and Finance
  • Bankruptcy and Insolvency
  • Building and Construction
  • Commercial Law
  • Common Law
  • Contract
  • Corporations
  • Equity / Equitable Relief / Trusts
  • Personal Injuries
  • Product Liability
  • Rent
  • Securities
  • Torts (Other Than PI)
  • Trade Practices

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Broad commercial experience including trial, appellate and advice work.

Matthew completed articles at Purves Clarke Richards (then a large litigation law firm in Melbourne) before working at his father's sole practice in the CBD. That early experience gave Matthew a first-hand understanding of the demands of large scale litigation as well as the limitations and particular needs of smaller practices.

There followed an Associateship with Sweeney J in the Federal Court and a period as research assistant to Heerey J.

Since coming to the Bar in 1995, Matthew has appeared and advised in a range of commercial matters, including large complex cases. Early experience in insolvency and bankruptcy was followed by broader commercial cases involving equity and trusts, professional negligence, building and construction, product liability, property, general torts, corporate governance and wills and estates.

Matthew has been briefed by the ACCC to conduct examinations under the Trade Practices Act and was retained as independent counsel to assess a large number of damages claims resulting from the Longford gas explosion.

Matthew is a nationally accredited mediator, a member of the Commercial Bar Association, and holds a doctorate in law for his thesis on the equitable defence of unclean hands.

Recent cases include:

Mantovani v Vanta [2020] VSC 736. Appeal from Judicial Registrar regarding whether trust exists and entitlement of beneficiary to trust documents.

Rossignoli v Rossignoli [2017-2019] VSC. Application to remove trustees of family discretionary trusts and injunct appointor from exercising powers. Also appearing in a related proceeding defending an application for the appointment of a receiver to the assets the discretionary trust. This matter involved numerous interlocutory disputes and several multi-party mediations. Case settled.

Paul Rossignoli v Rossi Recycling & Anor [2019] VSC 220 – whether related proceedings should be heard together.

Bamco v Contek [2019] VCC 327 led by Hayes QC – defending negligence claim re construction of boardwalk alleged to have caused a tree to fall and destroy a hotel.

Guizhou v Livestock Air [2019] VCC 105 defending a claim alleging the defendant had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in international trade agreement.

FSS Trustee Corporation v Eastaugh & Anor [2017] VSCA 2018, led by D Collins QC regarding the construction and interpretation of the First State Superannuation Scheme, a fund worth billions of dollars with several hundred thousand members.

Jones v 2Scale Design Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 253 – application for leave to appeal from a decision of the VCAT in its planning jurisdiction.

FSS Trustee Corporation v Eastaugh & Anor [2016] VSC 636 led by Dr I J Hardingham QC regarding the construction and interpretation of the First State Superannuation Scheme.

Deutsch v Trumble (2016) 52 VR 108, concerning an application by object of a discretionary trust for access to trust documents held by Court appointed trustee of deadlocked trust.

Equity Trustees v Jewish Care (Victoria) Inc [2015] VSC 73, an application by a trustee seeking direction of the Court as to whether the facility in question was within the purposes of the trust and, if not, whether the trust fund should be applied cy pres.

Flint Ink NZ Ltd v Huhtamaki Aust Pty Ltd L & Anor [2014] VSCA 166 led by K J A Lyons QC (as he then was) regarding whether a claim was made “through or under” another party subject to an arbitration agreement for the purposes of the International Arbitration Act.

In the Matter of an Application by ETU (National ) Pty Ltd [2014] VSC 525 led by Dr I Hardingham QC for the rectification of a trust deed for the inclusion of a power to accumulate and distribute income.

Lion-Dairy & Drinks Pty Ltd v Huhtamaki Australia Pty Ltd & Anor [2013] VSC 555 a proceeding concerning the application of the International Arbitration Act and in particular whether the claim was being made “through or under” another party.

Ondaatje v Holden [2014] VCC 883, led by A Clements QC – a claim for breaches of merchantable quality and defective goods provisions underTrade Practices Act in relation to a car spontaneously catching fire and destroying it and a house.

Australian Associated Motor Insurers Limited v Elmore Haulage Pty Ltd [2013] VSCA 54, regarding the interpretation and application of an exclusion in an insurance policy of damage caused by intentional conduct. Whether motor vehicle collision was suicide.

Elmore Haulage Pty Ltd v Australian Associated Motor Insurers Limited (Unreported, County Court of Victoria, 30 March 2012, Judge Bowman).

Main-Road Property Group v Pelligra & Sons Pty Ltd – led by D Meagher QC acting for a group of 20 investors in a failed property development scheme involving complex and intricate breaches of fiduciary and statutory duty by promoters and recipients of trust property. Settled.

Main-road Property Group Pty Ltd v Pelligra & Sons Pty Ltd (No. 4) [2010] VSC 27 – led by D Meagher QC - client lawyer privilege issues.

Batchelder v Holden [2009] VSC 29 - regarding the meaning of goods having a "defect" and not being of merchantable quality under the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

Main-Road Property Group Pty Ltd v Pelligra & Sons Pty Ltd [2009] VSC 435 – application to discharge a freezing order obtained ex parte.

Main-Road Property Group Pty Ltd & Ors v Pelligra & Sons Pty Ltd & Ors [2007] VSC 43 – led by D Meagher QC resisting application to injunct counsel and solicitors from continuing to act.

McAskell & Anor v Timelink & Anor [2010] VSCA 79 led by G Golvan QC – appeal for determination of preliminary question as to meaning of “building action” as defined by the Building Act 1993.

A Team Diamond Headquarters Pty Ltd & Anor v Main Road Property Group Pty Ltd & Ors [2009] VSCA 208 – resisting an application for leave to appeal from a costs order.

McAskell & Anor v Cavendish Properties Ltd & Ors (No 2) [2008] VSC 563 led by G Golvan QC concerning question whether particular claims concerned “building work” and works “for” or “in connection with” construction of a building.

McAskell & Anor v Cavendish Properties Ltd & Ors [2008] VSC 328 led by G Golvan QC concerning whether confidential terms of settlement between plaintiff and some defendants discoverable where all claims were apportionable.

Xiberras v Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Inc [2005] VSC 457 led by A Richards QC – concerning a governance dispute within the Wurundjeri community.

From 30 Apr 2009, liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.