Biography

Richard is a partner and the head of Gilbert + Tobin’s Disputes + Investigations group, as well as a member of Gilbert + Tobin’s Board of partners.

An experienced, strategic and pragmatic litigator, Richard specialises in significant commercial litigation (including class actions) and investigations. He regularly advises banks, large corporations and their boards on major dispute, regulatory and governance issues.

Richard has been involved in a wide range of substantial complex commercial litigation in Australian superior jurisdictions including the High Court. Issues raised in those disputes include class actions, cartel conduct, mergers, market disclosure, resources, confidential information, directors' duties, complex financial and banking products, market misconduct, securities, capital raisings, tax, contracts, financial services, infrastructure, funds management, insolvency and restructuring.

He was recently the lead advisor to Westpac in relation to the Financial Services Royal Commission, and previously led Westpac’s defence of the landmark Bank Bill Swap Rate litigation.

Richard’s experience includes:

  • Acting for the former CEO of Vocation Limited in relation to the ongoing class action against the company.
  • Leading the Gilbert + Tobin team advising Westpac in relation to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
  • Advising Westpac in its defence of the high profile and complex ASIC prosecution concerning alleged manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap rate (BBSW) which is one of the largest ASIC investigations and prosecutions ever. 
  • Representing the former CEO of Vocation in relation to an ASIC prosecution for alleged breaches of the continuous disclosure regime and directors duties.
  • Advising BT Financial Group in relation to its successful defence of the landmark ASIC prosecution concerning the delineation between personal and general advice with widespread ramifications for the wealth and financial advice industry.
  • Advising Archer Capital in its A$200 million claim against Sage Plc.
  • Advising Amcor in relation to the ACCC investigation and subsequent class action against it concerning alleged cartel behaviour.
  • Advising on a range of significant and complex regulatory investigations and enforcements.
  • Advising Seven Network in relation to a confidential independent investigation of allegations concerning its CEO.

Richard is ranked as a leading Individual for Regulatory Compliance & Investigations and Dispute Resolution.

THE LEGAL 500 ASIA PACIFIC 2020

'Richard Harris is an exceptional litigation partner. I consider him to be one of our key trusted advisors, whom I rely on for providing sound, commercial and pragmatic advice‘

THE LEGAL 500 ASIA PACIFIC 2020

‘Richard Harris’ experience in [regulatory compliance and investigations] is second to none.  He provides huge value at the firm. Having led major regulatory investigations, litigation and the Royal Commission, his experience is unrivalled.’ 

THE LEGAL 500 ASIA PACIFIC 2020

Richard is ranked as a leading individual for both Dispute Resolution and Financial Services Regulation.

Chambers Asia-Pacific

Widely acknowledged by commentators as a "prominent name in the market, with a very strong following" and "an amazing practice." Clients extol him as "a key strategic adviser and the kind of person you go to for bet-the-farm litigation," with an ability "to dive deep into all parts of a business and get across an incredible breadth of material." He is best known for his representation of household-name clients facing intense regulatory scrutiny or litigation entailing significant reputational risk. 

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020

Richard is recognised for his skills in Litigation.

Best Lawyers Australia 2020

“He is identified by peers and clients alike as a standout practitioner for contentious regulatory mandates”.

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019

Richard was singled out by one client for "providing advice that is balanced, considered, strategic and commercial" and for "quickly adapting to our needs and the changing environment we operate in."

Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018