Ross Freeman
Managing Partner, Disputes, Competition and Insurance, Melbourne
For more than 25 years, I have worked as a commercial litigator in complex, bet-the-company litigation. This includes high-stakes class actions, contractual matters, joint venture arrangements, regulatory investigations and disputes, and civil penalty proceedings.

I am renowned in Australia for defending prosecutions involving directors’ duties, continuous disclosure, insider trading, fraud, bribery and corruption.

My clients tend to be listed companies, their directors and executives, investment banks and other financial intermediaries. However, I have advised and acted for dealers and investment advisers involved in Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) banning order hearings. I also represent corporations and individuals involved in anti bribery and corruption investigations or prosecutions for offences under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Career highlights

  • Billabong International Limited – acted in an alleged non disclosure and/or market misrepresentations class action
  • OZ Minerals – acted for the company’s directors and executives in three class actions involving ASIC investigations
  • MFS Group – defended three non-executive directors of MFS Investment Management Limited in a class action brought by unitholders in the Premium Income Fund, alleging breach of statutory directors’ duties
  • Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited – acted in a shareholder class action in relation to losses caused by a significant writedown of goodwill in Sigma’s accounts, as well as assisting with a concurrent ASIC investigation and subsequent criminal proceedings against former executives
  • Media World Communications – acted for a non-executive director and corporate adviser in a class action arising out of the company’s collapse after technology it owned was found to be fraudulent
  • Former CEO of James Hardie Industries Limited – advised in ASIC civil penalty proceedings
  • Newcrest Mining Limited – acted as strategic counsel in relation to a regulatory investigation by ASIC dealing with market disclosure issues
  • Advised some of Australia’s most significant advisory committees, including ASIC’s advisory committee on market supervision powers and a small expert group supporting the Australian Government’s ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce

Awards and recognition

  • Leading Individual, Dispute Resolution – Chambers Asia-Pacific: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • “Sources describe Ross Freeman as ‘excellent – good to deal with and very sensible’.” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2016
  • “Practice head Ross Freeman has extensive experience in representing financial services providers and other major corporates in class actions and regulatory investigations.” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • “Ross Freeman is characterised by one source as a ‘very good lawyer who’s particularly strong in regulatory work and acting for clients with issues with ASIC’.” – Chambers Asia Pacific, 2014
  • “Litigation specialist Ross Freeman wins praise from clients for his ‘personable manner,’ and sources add that he is ‘great on the strategic and legal side’.” – Chambers Asia Pacific, 2013
  • Leading Individual, Anti-Bribery and Corruption – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017
  • “Ross Freeman is a widely acknowledged financial services regulation specialist and an ‘extremely well-regarded litigator.’ His handling of work in this specific area is described as ‘extremely calm and collected and very organised.’ Another source adds that his is ‘one of the names you would see the most.’” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2017
  • Leading Individual, Dispute Resolution – Chambers Global: 2012, 2013
  • Leading Individual, Financial Services Regulation – Chambers Asia-Pacific: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • “Ross Freeman is a seasoned practitioner who is known for his skilled handling of ASIC investigations and other contentious regulatory matters. He recently advised on the Australian component of a multi-jurisdictional Libor investigation faced by a client.” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • “Ross Freeman is very strong in representing clients in regulatory disputes, particularly with ASIC. He regularly assists companies with their internal investigations into alleged improper practices.” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014
  • “Ross Freeman regularly advises clients on ASIC and ASX compliance, investigation, and enforcement proceedings, concerning such issues as breach of directors’ duties, insider trading and market misconduct.” – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2013
  • Leading Individual, Financial Services Regulation – Chambers Global, 2012
  • Leading Individual, Dispute Resolution – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • “Ross Freeman is a ‘fantastic relationship manager’.” – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2014
  • “An ‘astute litigator who get[s] to the core issues quickly’, Ross Freeman is ‘at the head of the pack’.” – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: 2009/10, 2011/12 
  • Recommended, Litigation – Best Lawyers: 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018
  • Recommended, Alternative Dispute Litigation – Best Lawyers: 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Recommended, Class Action Litigation – Best Lawyers: 2017, 2018
  • Recommended, Regulatory Practice – Best Lawyers: 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Leading, Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution (Melbourne) – Doyles Guide, 2016