Katharine Brown

Katharine Brown

  • Admitted: 2017
  • Bar: 2021


Koiki Mabo Chambers
66 Dudley Street
West Melbourne


Katharine has a broad trial and appellate practice. 

Before joining the Bar, Katharine was an associate to the Hon Justice Gageler AC at the High Court of Australia. She was previously a Senior Solicitor at the Office of Public Prosecutions, and a Solicitor at the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office. 

She holds a Master of Laws from Duke University and has lectured Evidence Law in the postgraduate programs at Melbourne and Monash Universities. 

Earlier in her career, Katharine  worked at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City and the Duke Law Innocence Project in North Carolina. 

Katharine read with Emrys Nekvapil, now SC, and her senior mentor is Peter Morrissey SC.

Selected recent matters:

Constitutional and Administrative law and Human Rights

  • Waratah Coal v Youth Verdict & Ors (No 6) 2022 QLC 21 — acted for objectors in seven-week trial successfully opposing the approval of a new coal mine on grounds including climate change impacts under the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld), led by Saul Holt KC with Emrys Nekvapil SC and Kasey McAuliffe Lake.
  • Asmar & Ors v Albanese [2022] VSCA 19; [2022] HCASL 71 — acted for appellants in matter concerning the justiciability of preselection decisions by a registered political party, led by Ron Merkel KC, with Emrys Nekvapil and Colette Mintz, and in related application for expedition for special leave to appeal, led by Ron Merkel KC and Noel Hutley SC, with Emrys Nekvapil and Colette Mintz.
  • Provided publicly published advice to the ACT WorkSafe Inspector on Parliamentary Privilege in the context of Parliamentary contempt proceedings, led by Saul Holt KC.
  • Badger v Bayside City Council [2022] VSC 140 — acted for defendant in urgent proceedings about whether corflute signs on residential properties breached State-wide planning scheme and whether the scheme was an impermissible burden on the implied freedom of political communication, with Emrys Nekvapil.
  • Police v Bennell (Hobart Magistrates’ Court, ongoing) — defending charges against a Tarkine Forest protestor in matter raising issues under s 109 of the Constitution.
  • Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs v AZC20 [2022] FCAFC 52 — acted for respondent on appeal, with Matthew Albert.
  • Various migration matters in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (unled).
  • Regularly advising government clients on questions of statutory interpretation.

Criminal and quasi-criminal law

  • Buckley v The King (application for special leave) — acting for the applicant in matter concerning the construction and application of mandatory sentencing provisions, led by Saul Holt KC with Paul Smallwood.
  • D’Aloia v The King (Victorian Court of Appeal, ongoing) — acting for respondent on appeal (unled at disclosure stage).
  • County Court trial (ongoing), with Amelia Beech.
  • Pleas, bail applications and proceedings arising under the Serious Offenders Act 2018 (Vic) in the County and Supreme Courts (unled).

General civil and commercial litigation

  • IBAC v The Age (ongoing) — acting for IBAC in proceedings concerning breach of confidence, led by Emrys Nekvapil SC.
  • Goodrich v Kilmore Racing Club Inc & Racing Victoria Ltd (Supreme Court of Victoria, ongoing) — acting for defendant in trial concerning breach of contract and breach of statutory duty, led by Emrys Nekvapil SC.
  • Attorney-General v O’Sullivan (Supreme Court of Victoria, ongoing) with Liam Brown, Crown Counsel.

Anti-discrimination and human rights

  • Athwal v State of Queensland (Queensland Court of Appeal, ongoing) — discrimination case under s 10 of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), raising issues under s 109 of the Constitution, led by Saul Holt KC with Matt Jackson.
  • BA, DC v State of Queensland (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, ongoing) — acting for plaintiffs in discrimination and human rights claim concerning detention of children in watch-houses, led by Saul Holt KC with Matt Jackson.
  • Discrimination proceedings in VCAT (unled).
  • Advice to individuals and government departments on the operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

Regulatory and disciplinary proceedings

  • Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Limited v AHPRA (Federal Court, ongoing) — acting for AHRPA in proceedings seeking declaratory relief, led by Saul Holt KC.
  • Regulatory investigation and compulsory examinations for the Australian Energy Regulator, led by Ruth Higgins SC with Premala Thiagarajan, Radhika Withana and Matthew Peckham.
  • Regulatory prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (unled).

Environmental law

  • Applications for reconsideration of 19 coal and gas proposals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), led by Emrys Nekvapil SC, with Maya Narayan and Julia Wang.

Tort & class actions

  • Pabai v Commonwealth (Federal Court, ongoing) — briefed to assist with First Nations evidence.

Katharine is also regularly briefed to advise across a range of areas, led and unled.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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