BAR PRACTICEAreas of Practice

Dr Freckelton KC has a mixed trial, appellate and advisory practice at the Bar. He commenced practice in Victoria in 1988 and took silk in 2007.

His practice is based in Melbourne but Dr Freckelton has appeared in significant cases in all jurisdictions in Australia, as well as undertaking advisory work internationally.

Many of his cases involve complex expert evidence. He is the editor of the 7 volume subscription service, Expert Evidence, and the author of Expert Evidence: Law, Practice, Procedure and Advocacy (Thomson Reuters, 2019)

His principal areas of practice are:

Administrative and Human Rights Law

All areas of merits review of administrative decisions and appeals against first instance state and federal tribunal decisions. He has appeared in a wide array of administrative law cases, including a number of the major cases in relation to Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, and case involving allegations of discriminatory conduct. Dr Freckelton has frequently been briefed by the Victorian Government Solicitors Office and by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the Victorian Institute of Teaching, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Victorian Taxi Directorate.

He has also appeared in a number of leading human rights cases, including those that have interpreted Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, including the Barwon Jail Children’s Rights case: Certain Children v Minister for Families and Children (No 2) [2017] VSC 251, (2017) 266 A Crim R 152 for which he, his juniors, Walters AO KC and the Human Rights Law Centre received the Tim McCoy award in 2017, and the Victorian Bar Public Interest / Justice Innovation Award in 2019.

He is the co-author of the Council of Australasian Tribunals (COAT), Practice Manual for Tribunals (2006). He has also been a COAT Committee Member in Victoria.

Inquisitorial Proceedings: Judicial Inquiries and Royal Commissions Law

Dr Freckelton has extensive experience in inquisitorial proceedings, including  judicial inquiries, Royal Commissions and inquiries undertaken by investigative agencies. He was briefed in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse ( ) for parties affected and then in 2014 he appeared for the forensic scientist whose conduct was the subject of attack before the Eastman judicial inquiry into the murder of Assistant Commissioner Winchester, conducted by Justice Martin in the ACT: see .

He is currently briefed on behalf of a number of parties before the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, has taken briefs in the Disability Royal Commission, the Mental Health Royal Commission and is extensively involved in the Lawyer X Royal Commission, representing the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police.

Coronial Law

Dr Freckelton has appeared for over three decades in many leading cases at trial and on appeal in coroners’ courts throughout Australia. In Victoria these include many fatal police shooting cases, deaths in prisons, industrial deaths, hospital deaths and institutional deaths. Well known cases include the fatal police shooting inquests of the 1990s, the Kew Cottages Inquests, the Tyler Cassidy Inquest, the David Wilson backpacker Inquest; the Wiemabilla Inquest in Queensland;  the Briscoe Inquest, the Kumanjayi Walker and the Domestic Violence Inquests in the Northern Territory; the Lindt Cafe Inquest in New South Wales and the Bourke Street Mall Inquest in Victoria.

He is also the author (with David Ranson) of Death Investigation and the Coroner’s Inquest (Oxford University Press, 2006, 2nd edn, forthcoming 2024), and many articles and chapters of books on coronial law and practice.

Since 2010 Dr Freckelton has been an active member of Victoria’s Coronial Council.

Disciplinary Law

Health practitioner, veterinarian, teaching, accounting, architects,  builders, legal profession, judicial officer, local councillor, police, foster carers, church and sporting disciplinary cases at trial and appellate level. Dr Freckelton has appeared for over two decades in many of Australia’s leading disciplinary cases in the health practitioner area and in other jurisdictions. He has also been a member of a number of investigative and disciplinary tribunals in the contexts of:

  • policing (Police Complaints Authority of Victoria),
  • medical (Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria),
  • psychology (Psychologists Registration Board of Victoria, and pro tem disciplinary committee in Tasmania),
  • teaching (Disciplinary Appeals Board of Victoria),
  • health professions (Investigation Review Panel of Victoria),
  • foster carers (Suitability Panel of Victoria), and
  • football (Northern Suburbs AFL Disciplinary Tribunal).

He has also written extensively about disciplinary law, and undertaken training for tribunal members. His major publications in the area include Regulating Health Practitioners (Federation Press, 2006) and (with Belinda Bennett) Regulation of Health Practitioners (Thomson Reuters, 2021, forthcoming).

Local Government Law

Trial and appellate cases (including in relation to former Councillor Muto), as well as advisory work and investigations. Dr Freckelton has prosecuted high profile local government cases, investigated conduct by councillors (including in relation to Melbourne Lord Mayor Doyle) and given extensive advice about adherence to statutory, workplace safety and ethical obligations by councils, councillors and council employees. He is also the author of the introduction to Paula Hoctor and Michael Robertson, Workplace Investigations (Lexis Nexis, 2018)

Personal Injury Law

Trial and appellate cases. Dr Freckelton has appeared in a number of Victoria’s best known appellate decisions in respect of transport accident, workplace accident and historical sexual abuse matters for both plaintiffs and defendants. These have included Elsdon v Victorian WorkCover Authority [2012] VSC 347; Transport Accident Commission v Kutz [2011] VSC 236 (AMA Guides); Rekatsinas v Transport Accident Commission [2010] VCAT 967 (Charter) Serwylo v Transport Accident Commission [2010] VSC 421 (affirmed by Ct of App: [2011] VSCA 305) (AMA Guides); Transport Accident Commission v Elworthy [2007] VSC 48; McRitchie v Transport Accident Commission [2000] VSC 151; (2001) 17 VAR 347;  Bentley v Furlan [1999] 3 VR 63; Mobilio v Transport Accident Commission [1998] 3 VR 833; Transport Accident Commission v Lake (1997) 11 VAR 260; (1998) 1 VR 616; and Transport Accident Commission v Dennis (1997) 25 MVR 421; (1998) 1 VR 702.

He has also been briefed in many cases involving personal injuries, including in relation to injuries asserted to have been inflicted either by negligence or intentionally by participants in sports, health practitioners and members of the clergy. He has a particular experise in psychiatric injury (pure mental harm) litigation.

Health Law and Medical Negligence Law

Dr Freckelton has appeared in many significant cases at trial and appellate level in relation to health law generally and practitioner negligence and malpractice. He has appeared for both plaintiffs and defendants. Dr Freckelton has also been briefed in many cases involving medical practitioners’ candidacy to obtain fellowships with the learned colleges. He has also appeared in the leading end-of-life case Gardner; Re BWV [2003] VSC 173 and the special medical procedure litigation relating to childhood gender identity disorder, Re Jamie [2012] FamCAFC 8 and Re Jamie [2013]  FamCAFC 110 .

For 25 years, between 1996 and 2021, Dr Freckelton was a member of Victoria’s Mental Health Tribunal and  Victoria’s Mental Health Review Board and also for a lengthy period Victoria’s Psychosurgery Review Board. He has a particular interest and experience in mental health law.

In 2015 Dr Freckelton was the Commissioner at the Victorian Law Reform Commission who ran its reference on Medicinal Cannabis.

Between 2018 and 2020 Dr Freckelton was briefed for a number of providers and peak bodies in relation to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety .

He is the editor of the Journal of Law and Medicine, the founding editor and editor-at-large of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, and (with Kerry Petersen) the co-editor of  Tensions and Traumas in Health Law (Federation Press, 2017), Disputes and Dilemmas in Health Law (Federation Press, 2006), Controversies in Health Law (Federation Press, 1999) and (with Mendelson) Causation in Law and Medicine (Routledge, 2002)He is the co-author of Pandemics, Public Health Emergencies and Government Powers (Federation Press, 2021) and Public Health Law in Australia (Federation Press, 2023) and the co-author of  COVID-19: Law and Regulation (OUP, 2023).

He is also the Co-Director of the Masters of Health and Medical Law program at the University of Melbourne.

Criminal Law

Dr Freckelton is an experienced criminal lawyer at both trial and appellate level. He both prosecutes and defends and has appeared in a significant number of leading criminal law cases at trial and on appeal . He has undertaken many cases in the occupational health and safety area, as well as in relation to confiscation of profits.

He is the Editor of the 6 volume work, Victorian Criminal Law, Investigation and Procedure (Thomson) and of the 4th, 5th (with D Andrewartha) and 6th and 7th (with Kerryn Cockroft)  editions of the leading practitioner book, Indictable Offences in Victoria. He also edits for Thomson Reuters its volumes on Laws of Australia volumes on Sentencing and Criminal Procedure.

Dr Freckelton also has a particular interest in international criminal law and has written extensively in the area.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Law

Dr Freckelton has appeared in many leading criminal injuries compensation cases, both at appellate tribunal and Supreme Court level, as well as against offenders under s85B of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic).

He is also the author of the leading Australian text on the subject, Criminal Injuries Compensation Law, Practice and Policy (LBC Information Services, 2001).

Guardianship and Administration

Dr Freckelton has been briefed in many sensitive guardianship and administration cases before the former Board in Victoria and before VCAT. Such matters have often had ramifications with other areas of actual and potential litigation.

Commercial Law

Dr Freckelton has undertaken many cases for both plaintiffs and defendants in the context of commercial and corporate disputation.

Family Law and Children’s Court Law

Dr Freckelton has appeared in a number of significant Family Court cases in relation to the best interests of children, including those with disabilities.

Dr Freckelton has regularly been briefed in appellate matters relating to the protection of children, in particular by the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria.

Integrity and Scholarly Misconduct

Dr Freckelton has been briefed in a number of cases involving allegations of corruption, lack of integrity and scholarly impropriety, including alleged misconduct by students and staff at universities and research centres,  involving issues raised by whistleblowers within academia and between academics. He is the author of  Scholarly Misconduct and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2016).

He has also been briefed in advisory matters, including by the PNG Independent Commission against Corruption.

Dr Freckelton’s clerk can be contacted for bookings for cases: Foley’s List, Owen Dixon Chambers, 205 William St, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000; 03 92257777;