Michelle Carr

Partner. Sydney.

+61 2 9210 6258 |   |  vCard

Michelle takes on the toughest, most complex disputes and delivers outstanding results.

Throughout her career, cases she has won have redefined distinct areas of the law.

Michelle has particular expertise in large document litigation involving big exposures and reputations in superior jurisdictions. She is best known for her commercial litigation skills and also advises on insurance, claims on directors and officers, trade practices and other commercial matters.

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Michelle takes on the toughest, most complex disputes and delivers outstanding results.

Throughout her career, cases she has won have redefined distinct areas of the law.

Michelle has particular expertise in large document litigation involving big exposures and reputations in superior jurisdictions. She is best known for her commercial litigation skills and also advises on insurance, claims on directors and officers, trade practices and other commercial matters.

Michelle has defended three class actions including based on allegations of anti-competitive conduct in the airline industry. She is also advising internationally on regulator investigations of price fixing and has just obtained a judgment against the ACCC in which the regulator failed to establish conduct in a market in Australia in an action against her client (appeal pending).

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“Thinks outside the square, is determined and gets on with the task” Australian Legal Business

Michelle's Expertise

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Air New Zealand Ltd and Garuda Michelle acted for Air New Zealand Ltd defending allegations by the regulator of anti-competitive conduct in a market in Australia for air freight services. Michelle’s client obtained a judgment in its favour on 31 October 2014. The case is significant for the industry and is currently the subject of an appeal by the regulator including on a finding that the conduct alleged by the regulator did not occur “in a market in Australia.” The outcome surprised many observers after other airlines agreed to pay penalties in similar actions.
  • De Brett Seafood v Qantas and fifteen other respondents and cross respondents In a class action alleging anti-competitive conduct in the air freight industry, Michelle acted for Air New Zealand Ltd, the only airline against which the action was dismissed with costs and interest ordered for Michelle’s client of $3,033,397.00 paid as a lump sum to Air New Zealand by the class applicants. The action was maintained in Australia as part of a series of high profile actions related to freight and security surcharges raised by the airlines in various locations around the world.
  • Landmark Case: Aon v ANU Michelle achieved a unanimous High Court judgment that overturned the existing law relating to the entitlement to make a late strategic change in the conduct of litigation. The decision affects case management principles in all civil jurisdictions across Australia and is one of the most significant practice and procedure decisions of the last fifteen years.
  • European Commission - Brussels On behalf of a client, Michelle attended the European Commission as part of a New Zealand delegation that successfully defended a Statement of Objections by EC prosecutors against a number of industry participants including her client.
  • Baulderstone Hornibrooke v Gordian Michelle obtained judgment and an indemnity costs order for her client in a dispute over defects in construction of the Third Runway at Sydney Airport. Described by the trial judge as “the most complex case that I have heard…from a perspective of factual parameters”, the decision was unanimously confirmed on appeal. The judgment for Michelle’s client was described as a “spectacular defeat” for the opposition in a “fiercely contested case”.
  • NRMA v Heydon & Ors Michelle acted for Dyson Heydon in the NRMA demutualisation litigation, successfully defending Mr Heydon QC in an action also involving Allen, Allen & Hemsley and Abbott Tout over the “Free Shares” offer.
  • Yates v Simos & Ors Michelle acted for Theodore Simos QC (later Justice Simos) in an action alleging negligence in a compensation claim related to a land resumption by the New South Wales Government in Darling Harbour. Mr Simos was exonerated in the last contested litigation in which James Allsop appeared instructed by Michelle (now Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia).

What others say

  • “Awards” Global Competition Review Prize, Washington DC, 24 April 2015, Behavioural Matter of the Year - Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa for the defence of Air New Zealand Limited, in Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Air New Zealand Limited [2014] FCA 1157
  • “Best Lawyer - Insurance” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2014-2016
  • “Best Lawyer - Alternative Dispute Resolution” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2013-2016
  • “Best Lawyer - Class Action Litigation” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2012-2016
  • “Best Lawyer - International Arbitration” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2010-2016
  • “Sydney International Arbitration Lawyer of the Year” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2014
  • “Leading Lawyer - Insurance” Chambers Asia Pacific and Global Guides, 2008-2013
  • “Michelle Carr is highly commended for her litigation skills” Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2011
  • “A highly effective litigator who succeeds by thinking creatively and not being drawn into the 'group think' mentality that traps so many lawyers. She is very 'hands on' with the crucial details and a tenacious fighter, keeping her clients’ interests constantly in clear focus. It would be scary to be on the other side!” Air New Zealand's General Counsel, John Blair
  • “A ‘linchpin’...she is somebody who thinks outside the square, is determined and gets on with the task - sometimes you get the sense that partners go to meetings, but delegate the work afterwards - whereas Michelle will read through truckloads of lever arch files herself because she is so keen to make sure she’s across the details.” Australian Legal Business