Dr Freckelton QC

Ian Freckelton is an experienced Queen’s Counsel in full-time practice as a barrister throughout Australia, working from Crockett Chambers in Melbourne. He is a member of the Victorian, Northern Territory and Tasmanian Bar Associations and took silk in 2007. He has a busy mixed trial, appellate and advisory practice in administrative law, disciplinary law, personal injury law, human rights law, criminal law and commercial law. Dr Freckelton’s advocacy is modern in style and orientation, and assertive, highly researched and nuanced to the forum in which he appears. His focus is upon addressing the full picture of disputes which bring clients to him for legal advice, recognising that law and litigation are just a part of the overall fabric of relationships that can lead to conflict.

He has appeared in many significant cases involving government instrumentalities. He has also appeared in judicial inquiries/Royal Commissions and inquests. He has also provided advice to persons and entities likely to be affected by parliamentary inquiries and investigations conducted by entities such as ASIC and anti-corruption bodies.

Dr Freckelton has also conducted inquiries into allegations/concerns about prominent figures. In 2017/2018 he was briefed to conduct an investigation into concerns about sexually inappropriate conduct on the part of the Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

In over two and a half decades at the Bar, Dr Freckelton QC has appeared in leading cases across a wide range of legal areas in all States and Territories in Australia. He has also undertaken advisory work for cases in New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.

In 2017 Dr Freckelton was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Nauru, principally dealing with judicial reviews and appeals. He discharges his responsibility as a (part-time) judge in Nauru, along with his work as a barrister in Australia, flying to Nauru as required.

Dr Freckelton has also been appointed to a number of tribunals on a part-time basis, including the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and Victoria’s Mental Health Tribunal (formerly the Mental Health Review Board), Psychosurgery Review Board, Medical Practitioners Board, Psychologists Registration Board, Disciplinary Appeals Board, Investigation Review Panel, Suitability Panel, and the Northern Suburbs Football Disciplinary Tribunal. He has fulfilled functions on a pro tem basis for Tasmania’s Psychologists Registration Tribunal and in the university disciplinary context.

Dr Freckelton holds a “higher doctorate”, an  LLD (Doctors of Laws) in Health Law from the University of Melbourne (2017), and a doctorate, a PhD in Expert Evidence from Griffith University (1998). He is also a part-time Professorial Fellow in Law and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, an Adjunct Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University, an Adjunct Professor in the Australian Centre for Health Law Research in the Law Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), an Adjunct Professor of Law at La Trobe University, and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand. He fulfils such functions after court hours. He was a Deputy Director of Monash University’s Centre for the Advancement of Law and Mental Health (CALMH) and Vice-President of Monash’s International Institute of Forensic Studies (IIFS).

Dr Freckelton has held honorary or adjunct positions as a Professor of Law at Sydney, Macquarie, and La Trobe Universities. Between 2008 and 2013 he was a Professor of Law, Forensic Medicine and Forensic Psychology at Monash University. He has also held visiting positions at the University of Melbourne in the Criminology Department and also at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the University of Iceland. He has received a variety of ARC grants, as well as awards in relation to his research.

Dr Freckelton is an inaugural member of Victoria’s Coronial Council and is a member of the Asia-Pacific Coroners Society and the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales. He is also a member of the Netherlands Centre of Forensic Expertise, Bond University’s Centre for Law, Government and Public Policy, and of the Therapeutic Jurisprudence Society Global Advisory Council. He is the Vice-President of the Australasian Chapter of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health. He was a Board member of La Trobe University’s Centre of Public Health Law and Bond University’s Centre for Forensic Excellence. He is a former transnational President (1991-1997) and Victorian President (2006-2009) of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law and in 1997 was elected to honorary life membership. On two occasions he was Vice-President of Victoria’s Council for Civil Liberties. He has been the Chief Examiner for the Law Institute of Victoria‘s assessment for specialisation of criminal law solicitors since 2007. He has been the representative of the Criminal Bar Association of Victoria to the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is currently a member of the advisory board to Flinders University’s Centre for Crime, Policy and Research and has been a member of a working group of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer of the Cancer Council Victoria.

Dr Freckelton is the founding Editor of the Journal of Law and Medicine (1993-    ) (Thomson Reuters) and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law (1994-  ) (Taylor & Francis). He is member of the editorial boards for the New Zealand Journal of Family Law; the British Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies; Ethics, Medicine and Public Health; the Deakin Law Review and the Australasian Journal of Forensic Sciences. He is the author of  over 600 peer reviewed articles and chapters of books, and more than 200 book reviews, as well as the author and editor of over three dozen books on evidence law, health law, compensation law, coronial law, disciplinary law, causation, therapeutic jurisprudence, criminal law, sentencing, policing, and scholarly misconduct. He has also co-edited a volume of essays about the former High Court judge, Michael Kirby, Appealing to the Future (Thomson/Reuters).

Dr Freckelton’s most recent books are Scholarly Misconduct (Oxford University Press, 2016), Expert Evidence and Criminal Jury Trials (Oxford University Press, 2016, with Delahunty, Horan and McKimmie) and Tensions and Traumas in Health Law (Federation Press, 2017, with Petersen).

Dr Freckelton has held many appointments as a consultant. He  was a member of the Expert Advisory Panel for Mental Health Act Reform in Victoria, a consultant to the Victorian Law Reform Commission on its references on Guardianship and Administration, Bail, and Sexual Offences and Mental Impairment. He was also an invited consultant to the Victorian Office of Police Integrity in its work of Deaths Associated with Police Contact, and Chair of the Inter-Professional Advisory Team for the Australian Institute of Radiography which assessed the feasibility of advanced practice for radiographers and radiation therapists.

Dr Freckelton is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL) and also of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences (FASSA), as well as being an Honorary Fellow of the Australasian College of Forensic Medicine. In 2012 he was also appointed an Ambassador for Club Melbourne, a body which facilitates the attraction of international scholarly gatherings to Victoria.

In 2015 Dr Freckelton was appointed by the Victorian government as a Special Commissioner at the Victorian Law Reform Commission to lead its reference on the Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: http://www.lawreform.vic.gov.au/all-projects/medicinal-cannabis, which resulted in the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 (Vic). In 2017 he was appointed by the Federal Minister for Health to be an inaugural Member of the Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis.

Dr Freckelton has also given over 500 addresses in more than 30 countries and has conducted training workshops and symposia for many different professionals, including medical practitioners, psychologists, accountants, and occupational health and safety experts. He has been an instructor for the Victorian Bar Readers Course.

Between 2010 and 2013 Dr Freckelton was Chair of the Howells List (including the Laurence/Roberts Lists) at the Victorian Bar which then numbered approximately 180 barristers.

In 2017 Dr Freckelton was re-elected as a member of the Victorian Bar Council, having served on a variety of Bar Committees over a number of years. He is currently a member of the Victorian Bar Ethics Committee and a representative of the Victorian Bar to the Supreme Court Library Committee and there Victorian Law Library Committee.


For an interview with Dr Freckelton, see https://whatididwhatido.com/2017/08/10/ian-freckelton/


Dr Freckelton QC is contactable through his clerk: Ric Howells: richowells@vicbar.com.au and on +61 3 92257666