John Toohey Chambers

Chambers

John Toohey Chambers

Contact Information

Level 3, Council House; 27-29 St George's Terrace, PERTH, WA, 6000
(08) 6315 3386
0408 097 046
(08) 6315 3399

Professional Information

Profile

Greg went to the Independent Bar in Western Australia in 1993 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2002.

He was made an Adjunct Professor of Law in 2001 at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Since 2000 he has regularly taught a course in Indigenous Peoples and the Law at the University of Notre Dame Australia and in 2011 at the University of Western Australia

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION AND INSURANCE
Greg's current practice includes commercial litigation (e.g., UGL Engineering Pty Ltd -v- Complete Power Solutions Pty Ltd [2014] WASC 211) and insurance law (e.g.,Ward v Metlife Insurance Ltd [2014] WASCA 119).

ENVIRONMENT PLANNING AND HERITAGE
In 1990, while Principal Legal Officer of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, Greg appeared as Counsel in the High Court in Bropho v Western Australia [1990] HCA 24, a case which determined that the Aboriginal Heritage Act (by implication) bound the Crown. Greg's practice at the Bar continues to include that area of law, along with related Environment and Planning law; and featured a large body of litigation between 2005 and 2007 over a permaculture development based on a survey-strata plan in the South of the State, (e.g.,The Owners of Rosneath Farm – Strata Plan 35452 and Rowell & Anor [2007] WASAT 95).

FAMILY LAW
Greg practised as a sole practitioner between 1983 and 1988 in Cairns, North Queensland and half of his practice was in family law, mostly referred from Women's Shelters. His current practice includes family law (e.g., Stanford v Stanford [2012] HCA 52 submissions on a property alteration order, the Family Law Act and the Constitution; a parenting and costs case: [2014] FCWA 28; and a restraining order appeal: Baron v Walsh [2014] WASCA 124).

LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Greg was appointed as an Inquirer under the Local Government Act, with the powers of a Royal Commissioner, to inquire into the City of South Perth (2001-2) and the City of Joondalup (2004-5) with his reports resulting in the dismissal
of the elected Councils for failure to provide good government. He continues to practice in the area of local government (e.g., Minchin & ors v Town of Claremont [2008] WASAT 338)

CRIMINAL LAW
Greg was a founding Committee member of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia as a student in 1973-4. His first employment as an admitted practitioner was with the ALSWA in 1976-8 in Kalgoorlie and Perth and he also worked in Aboriginal Legal Services in Cairns, North Queensland from 1981-83 where he was mainly involved in Criminal defence advocacy. He continues to act in occasional criminal trials.

NATIVE TITLE
Between 1978 and 1980 Greg completed a Research project, funded by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies on the topic "Aboriginal Land Rights at Common Law" and in 1982 issued the writ in the High Court in Mabo v Queensland[1992] HCA 23 . He had the conduct of that case to its completion, ultimately appearing as counsel for Eddie Mabo in the High Court. A substantial part of his practice at the Bar has been in native title.

HUMAN RIGHTS
In 1982 he was the instructing solicitor in Koowarta v Bjelke Petersen [1982] HCA 27, in which the High Court determined that the Racial Discrimination Act was a valid exercise of the external affairs power under the Constitution. Another significant area of practice for Greg at the Bar has been in racial discrimination and racial vilification matters (e.g., Clarke v Nationwide News Pty Ltd trading as The Sunday Times [2012] FCA 307); Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (e.g., Ashton v Wall & Beechers Pty Ltd (1992) EOC 92-423,447,488); Disability Discrimination (Burns v Education Department of WA [2014] FCC reserved decision) and numerous refuge cases. In 2009 he received the Law Award from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Between 2009 and 2013 Greg represented a personal injuries lawyer in relation to allegations of professional misconduct (Legal Profession Complaints Committee -v- O'Halloran [2013] WASC 430; [2011] WASAT 95).

PERSONAL INJURIES
Since 2009 Greg has been briefed in numerous numerous Workers Compensation and Motor Vehicle Accident matters.

EQUITY
In 2013 Greg was Counsel for the Plaintiffs in Collard v Western Australia [2013] WASC 455, a test case for Western Australia on the application of a fiduciary duty of the State to the 'Stolen Generation' of Aboriginal people in WA.



Membership of Professional Organisations

  • Law Council of Australia: Chair, Australian Environment and Planning Law Group; Member, Australian Human Rights Committee; Member, Access to Justice Committe
  • Law Society of Western Australia: Councillour, Convenor, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee; Convenor, Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law Committee; Deputy Convenor, Access to Justice Committee
  • Legal Practice Board, Member, Professional Affairs Committee
  • Criminal Lawyers Association of WA
  • International Commision of Jurists, WA Branch, President; Australian Section, Vice-President
  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Areas of Practice

Admitted to Practice

  • Western Australia (1976)
  • Queensland (1980)
  • Federal (1981)
  • Northern Territory (1998)

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws - University of Western Australia 1974

Elected to WA Bar Association

1992