Michael Will

Michael practises in administrative law, commercial and government related litigation, and public sector employment and workplace relations law and has more than 30 years experience in working for and with the Australian Government.

Part of Michael’s practice includes representation and advice on defamation law, and he has given advice on this area of the law to various government agencies and employees.

As Chairman of the Administrative Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia, Michael is regularly called upon to make and co-ordinate submissions to Government and Parliament on the administrative law aspects of law reform proposals.

Michael has been named Lawyer of the Year for Canberra Labour and Employment Law by Best LawyersTM Australia 2015 and 2018. He has also been named Canberra Litigation Lawyer of the Year by Best LawyersTM Australia 2013.

Michael has also been recognised in Best LawyersTM Australia as one of the best lawyers in the fields of Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Employee Benefits Law, Government Practice, Labour and Employment Law, Litigation, Public Law and Regulatory Practice. He was also listed as a recommended lawyer for employment and workplace relations in the Australian Capital Territory in Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2009. 

Experience

  • Successfully represented ACTEW Corporation Ltd in a constitutional challenge involving section 90 of the Australian Constitution before the High Court of Australia brought by Queanbeyan City Council concerning the ACT Government's ability to impose charges on water. The decision of the Court clarified the law on section 90, in particular as it applies to water and Territories;
  • Advised and represented the Department of Defence in proceedings commenced in the Copyright Tribunal under section 183 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth);
  • Acting for the Commonwealth of Australia in negotiating the settlement of over 500 claims brought by importers and associated entities affected by the introduction of a new customs cargo system;
  • Acting for Airservices Australia in the landmark case of Hughes Aircraft Systems International v Airservices Australia which involved the making of new, and still current, law on government procurement and tendering;
  • Representing the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and Federal Court proceedings concerning the registration of pharmaceutical products and medical devices;
  • Representing the Australian Federal Police (AFP), as counsel in Freedom of Information proceedings in the AAT;
  • Succesfully represented (including on appeal to the ACT Court of Appeal) the Independent real estate agency in litigation brought by 56 purchasers of units in the former Canberra International Hotel; and
  • Acting for the Australian National University in Supreme Court proceedings against its insurers and insurance broker relating to the destruction of the Mt Stromlo Observatory in the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons)

Professional Memberships

  • Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory
  • Member (and Past President) of the National Executive of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law
  • Member of the Federal Litigation Section of the Law Council of Australia and Chairman of the Administrative Law Committee of the Law Council of Australia

Publications

  • 'From Barratt to Jarratt: Public Sector Employment, Natural Justice, and Breach of Contract', AIAL Forum, No. 49, July 2006
  • 'Judicial Review of Statutory Authorities', AIAL Forum, No. 47, December 2005
  • 'Informed Purchasers', The Australian Corporate Lawyer, December 2006
  • 'Balancing the scales with next High Court appointments', Canberra Times, 20 July 2007
  • 'Payback: Using Set-Off to Recover Money From Employees at the Time of Termination', with Jennifer Fisher, 21 Australian Journal of Labour Law 101, 2008