James Whittaker

Partner. Sydney.

+61 2 9210 6667 |   |  vCard
James Whittaker

James Whittaker specialises in litigation that is large, difficult and complicated. He brings practical and strategic thinking to large scale problems, making them manageable and solvable.

His 25 year career has been spent in the superior courts and tribunals of Australia – as well as keeping his clients out of them. In representing large national and international corporations, governments and associations, his work is often pioneering in nature and of international importance.

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James Whittaker specialises in litigation that is large, difficult and complicated. He brings practical and strategic thinking to large scale problems, making them manageable and solvable.

His 25 year career has been spent in the superior courts and tribunals of Australia – as well as keeping his clients out of them. In representing large national and international corporations, governments and associations, his work is often pioneering in nature and of international importance.

In addition to large scale litigation, he has particular expertise in class actions, white collar crime, corporate governance of government related entities and procedures and Royal Commissions.

James works in particular with large multinationals, on cross-jurisdictional litigation.

“Much admired for his strategic foresight” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide
James Whittaker

James' Expertise

  • Commonwealth of Australia Represented in proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW. Successfully defended 12 cases brought against the Commonwealth (Department of Defence) for gas exposure– each matter was struck out.
  • Independent Commission Against Corruption James is currently acting for the ICAC in administrative law proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW.
  • David Ipp QC James currently acts for David Ipp QC, the former ICAC Commissioner and formerly a Judge of the NSW Court of Appeal in proceedings brought against Mr Ipp by the Obeid family relating to ICAC findings of corruption by the Obeid's.
  • National Broadband Network Advising the Commonwealth of Australia on litigation issues arising from the National Broadband Network and the decision to remove Telstra from the bid process.
  • Collapse of OneTel Limited In the area of insolvency, since 2001 James has been lead adviser to Alcatel Lucent on its $1.6 billion exposure following the collapse of OneTel (a matter in which he continues to act).
  • Commercial Disputes Acting for Johnson & Johnson, Woolworths, Theiss, Parker Enzed (a US based multinational), NRMA, Leighton Contractors, Arnott’s Biscuits (part of Campbells Soups Inc) and in respect of a raft of commercial disputes including multi-billion dollar class actions.
  • Royal Commissions James has acted for clients in the Building Industry Royal Commission, the Police Royal Commission and Centenary House Royal Commission and related civil litigation.

James' Leadership

  • Australian Institute of Company Directors Member
  • University of NSW Guest lecturer - Indigenous People and the Law (undergraduate), Native Title (post graduate), Litigation (undergraduate)
  • Corrs Chambers Westgarth Litigation, Workplace Relations, IPT&C and RISS Division Leader
    Executive Leadership Team Member
    North America Focus Group Chair
    United Kingdom and Europe Focus Group Member

What others say

  • “Leading Lawyer - Dispute Resolution” Chambers Asia Pacific and Global Guides, 2006-2018
  • “One of Australia's best litigation solicitors” David Ipp QC, 2017
  • “Best Lawyer - Alternative Dispute Resolution Law” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2013-2018
  • “Best Lawyer - Class Action Litigation Law” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2010-2018
  • “Best Lawyer - Litigation and Product Liability Litigation” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2009-2018
  • “James Whittaker wins praise from both clients and peers for his work in this space, particularly where construction, white-collar crime or product liability issues are concerned” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2016
  • “Commercial and user-friendly” Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2015
  • “Impresses with his experience in complex contentious issues, particularly class actions or matters involving product liability or white-collar crime issues” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2015
  • “Much admired for his strategic foresight and diplomatic handling of difficult situations” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2014
  • “[One] of the most competent dispute resolution practitioners in Australia; [his] clients are in exceptionally good hands” Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2012/13
  • “Lawyer of the Year - Class Action Litigation - Sydney ” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2013
  • “He invests time in understanding the industry as well as our specific business” Chambers Global Guide, 2013
  • “Lawyer of the Year - Product Liability - Sydney” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2012
  • “James Whittaker heads Corrs Chambers Westgarth's ‘stand out’ national practice...that clients say ‘adds real value in complex litigation’” Chambers Global Guide, 2011
  • “Leading Lawyer - Dispute Resolution” Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2014-2017
  • “James is an objective and very responsive adviser who stands out for his clear articulation of choices” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2018

James' Thinking