(02) 9236 8670


Level 6, 169 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000


Dr Christopher Ward SC is an experienced and powerful commercial advocate before trial courts, appellate courts and arbitral tribunals. He has a multidisciplinary practice and works in large commercial disputes and inquiries, international law, constitutional and governmental disputes.  He has expertise in anti-corruption and bribery cases, and appears regularly in significant commercial cases.

He a recognised expert in the fields of public and private international law where he has particular expertise in foreign judgments, the law of the sea, aviation, resources and investor-state disputes.

He appears regularly in Australia as an advocate in cases which involve domestic and international law and accepts instructions in areas as diverse as human rights, maritime boundaries and diplomatic immunity.

Areas of Practice

Commercial Disputes

Public International Law

Investor-State Arbitration

Constitutional & Administrative Law

Aviation Law

Appellate and High Court


Doctor of Philosophy (Law) (Australian National University)

Master of Laws (Class I) (Cambridge University)

Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (University of Sydney)

Bachelor Science (Genetics & Biochemistry) (University of Sydney)


Senior Counsel for the State of New South Wales (2015)

President, International Law Association (Australian Branch)

Adjunct Professor of International Law, Australian National University 

Chairman, Canberra Racing Club Inc.

Select Cases

Berry v Innovia Securities Ltd (reserved) (commercial law, fraud, corrupt conduct, contract)

Gordian v Westport (international commercial arbitration; reinsurance)

Leighton Holdings Ltd v Hodge (resolved) (commercial law, fraud, corruption)

Saab Aircraft Leasing Inc & Lambert Leasing Inc v v QBE Insurance Ltd [2015] NSWSC 750 (aviation and commercial insurance)

AWB Oil for Food Inquiry (advice to Commissioner the Hon TRH Cole QC) 

In the matter of the Status of Norfolk island as a Non-Self-Governing Territory (2016)

In the matter of Al Jazeera Journalist Peter Greste (2014-2015) (Foreign prisoners, Egypt)

In the matter of Chan and Sukumaran (2014-2015) (Death Penalty, Indonesia)

X Co v Papua New Guinea (Investor-State arbitration)

International Organisation for Migration (middle eastern arbitration proceedings)

Cortes v Republic of Venezuela (diplomatic immunity)

Petrotimor v Commonwealth (Full Federal Court of Australia) [2003] FCAFC 3 (oil & gas; Timor Gap Treaty)

Re Maritime Union of Australia; ex parte CSL Pacific Shipping Inc (for CSL Shipping) (High Court of Australia) [2003] HCA 43 (extraterritorial jurisdiction; maritime law)

Fair Work Ombudsman v Pocomwell Limited (No 2) [2013] FCA 1339 (employment, industrial, offshore oil rigs)

QZ v Department of Forensic Medicine (NSW) [2011] NSWCA 412 & [2012] HCA Trans 164 (human rights and discrimination)

Kirk Group Holdings Pty Ltd v Industrial Court of NSW (for Kirk) (High Court of Australia) [2010] HCA 1 (jurisdictional error)

Old UGC Inc v McRann (for Old UGC Inc) (High Court of Australia) [2006] HCA 24 (conflict of laws)

Fair Work Ombudsman v Valuair Limited (No 2) [2014] FCA 759 (aviation; conflict of laws; industrial)

In the Matter of East Timor's Maritime Boundaries (with Professor Vaughan Lowe, for Petrotimor/Republic of East Timor )

In the Matter of Japanese Whaling in the Pacific (for International Fund for Animal Welfare) 

In the matter of the delimitation of certain Indonesian islands (advice to NGO)

In the matter of “X Co” (UN sanctions and exportation of certain restricted materials; advice to Gadens)

In the matter of the Catholic Church and the Alien Tort Statute (for the Catholic Church)

In the matter of the threatened application of the death penalty by Indonesia (the Bali Nine)

In the matter of the extraterritorial application of industrial legislation to New Zealand (for Qantas)

In the Matter of the Mandatory Application of the Death Penalty by Singapore against an Australian Citizen

Zorba v Turkey (for Zorba) (European Court of Human Rights) 

The extraterritorial application of the Workplace Relations Act to flight crew (for Qantas)


National and International Litigation: Partners or Competitors (contributed chapter in Litigating International Law Disputes: Klein, N Ed, 2013)

The Domestic Relevance of International Tribunal Decisions (Doctoral Thesis)

International Law Association Reports (Ed) (2000 – 2012)

The Margin of Appreciation in Australian Law (2003) Aust Bar Review

Principles of Interpretation Applicable to Legislation Adopting Treaties (1998) 26 Fed.LR 207.

Agency & Distribution Law (in International Encyclopedia of Agency & Distribution Agreements) 1996, 1998 & 2000 (International Bar Association).

Drawing a Line in the Sand: Legal Issues Raised by the United Nations Security Council (1998) Aust.Int.L.J. 82.

Disputes Involving Trusts in Australia (in Nedim Vogt (ed)) 1999 Helbing & Lichtenhahn.

Voices in the Pacific: A Survey of Local and Regional Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (1998) Asia-Pacific Journal of Environmental Law 78.

Book Reviews

International Law: Contemporary Principles & Practice (AILJ 2007) 

Fairness in International Law and Institutions (1999) International.& Comp.LQ 

Antarctic Environmental Protection (1997) Law Society Bulletin of the ACT

Admiralty Jurisdiction (1997) Law Society Bulletin of the ACT

Minority Rights in the New Europe (2000) Melbourne University Law Review

International Commercial Arbitration (2011) The Arbitrator & Mediator

Judging the Security Council (forthcoming Australian Yearbook of International Law 2012)