About the Section
The Business Law Section (BLS) was established in August 1980 by the Law Council of Australia with jurisdiction in all matters pertaining to business law. It is governed by a set of by-laws passed pursuant to the Constitution of the Law Council of Australia and is constituted as a Section of Law Council of Australia Limited.
It provides a forum through which lawyers and others interested in law affecting business can discuss current issues, debate and contribute to the process of law reform in Australia, and enhance their professional skills.
The Business Law Section:
- Prepares more than half of the Law Council's submissions each year, putting the views of the business community and the legal profession directly to the Federal Government and its agencies, and Federal Parliamentary Committees.
- Provides a forum for debate of current issues, and assists lawyers to develop and maintain their professional skills and knowledge, through a schedule of regular conferences, workshops and seminars.
- Represents the Law Council on a number of bodies - for example, the National Taxation Liaison Group and its sub-committees, the Customs and Border Protection National Consultative Committee and its sub-committees and the ASX Corporate Governance Council.
- Gives its members the opportunity to develop a network of professional contacts in their fields of practice.
- Gives its members access to a range of discounts and corporate plan arrangements for domestic and international air travel, accommodation, and car rental.
BLS Strategic Plan 2022-2026
The purpose of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia is to be an objective and independent national body comprised of experts who actively contribute to the ef-fective development, implementation and administration of business law in Australia in accordance with its guiding principles.
The Business Law Section has developed a new strategic plan which will guide the BLS through challenging times over the next few years.
Click here to view the plan
Mr Philip Argy, Chair
Philip Argy is an experienced lawyer, mediator and arbitrator. He specialises in intellectual property, science, technology and competition law and has been a computer buff for nearly 50 years as well as being an experienced programmer. Philip left Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King and Wood Mallesons) at the end of 2007 after being with the firm for almost 32 years (24 of them as a partner). He established ArgyStar.com in January 2008 to evangelise and implement dispute resolution strategies in the IT sector. He is a Consulting Principal to Keypoint Law as well as maintaining his eponymous law firm.
Philip is on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) panel of neutrals for the resolution of intellectual property disputes. Euromoney's Best of the Best repeatedly listed Philip as one of the best information technology lawyers in the world. He is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Past President of the Australian Computer Society and current Chairman of the ACS Disciplinary Committee. He is a Committee member of Sydney Angels, the largest angel investor group in Australia, and Chairman of One Education Foundation Limited, a national charity that provides laptops for primary school children.
Philip is a Past President and founding member of the New South Wales Society for Computers and the Law, and a long standing member of the Australian Corporate Lawyers' Association. Philip is also a past Chairman of the Law Society of NSW Legal Technology Committee and past Treasurer of the Mediator Standards Board.
Professor Pamela Hanrahan, Deputy Chair
Dr Pamela Hanrahan is a lawyer, legal academic and author who specialises in corporate law, corporate governance, financial services regulation, data governance and business ethics.
She is Professor of Commercial Law and Regulation at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Business School, a Senior Fellow of the Melbourne Law School, a member of the Centre for Law Markets and Regulation at UNSW, an associate of the Centre for Corporate Law at the University of Melbourne, and founding director of the Cybersecurity and Data Governance Research Network at UNSW Sydney. She is also a founding member of the Society of Investment Law (USA), a Fellow of FINSIA, and a solicitor member of the Law Society of New South Wales.
Pamela is Deputy Chair of the Executive Board of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, a member of the National Corporate Governance Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of the Conexus Institute Advisory Board and a non-executive director of Landcom. In 2010-11, she was the Queensland Regional Commissioner of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and in 2013-15 served as the Registrar of Community Housing for New South Wales. In 2016-17, Pamela was an appointed member of the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce and in 2018 she was an adviser to the Hayne Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
Mr Adrian Varrasso, Treasurer
Adrian is the head of MinterEllison's tax practice. Adrian is a member of the BLS's Taxation Committee, having been Victorian and National Chair, and now sits on the Executive of the BLS. Adrian also holds various roles outside of his practice, including being a member of the ATO's Commissioner's Remedial Power panel and the University of Melbourne Law School Dean's advisory board.
- Mr Greg Rodgers (Immediate past chair)
- Mr John Keeves
- Ms Rachel Webber
- Dr Elizabeth Boros
- Ms Caroline Coops
- Mr Clint Harding
- Ms Shannon Finch
- Mr Peter Leech
Committees of the Business Law Section
The Business Law Section currently has 14 specialist committees and working groups. To learn more about the work of each committee please click on the links below.
The Competition and Consumer Committee provides a forum through which lawyers, economists, academics and other interested parties can discuss competition and consumer law issues. The committee meets regularly to discuss legal developments, policy issues and potential areas of competition and consumer law reform. Read more.
Chair: Ms Jacqueline Downes
The Construction and Infrastructure Committee advises on policy and legislative reform impacting on the building and construction sector in Australia. The committee sees their role as consultative with government and other peak legal membership bodies such as state law societies and building practitioners associations. The committee’s key role is in commentary on legislative reform including drafting and education. Read more.
Chair: Ms Adrienne Parker
The Corporations Committee takes an active role in consultation and submissions to Federal Treasury, ASIC, ASX, the Takeovers Panel and other regulators on law and policy reform proposals as they relate to Australian corporations and securities laws. Including topics such as corporate governance, fundraisings, takeovers, continuous disclosure, directors and officers duties and liability frameworks for corporations and their officers. The committee also collaborates with the Financial Services Committee on financial services reforms, and broader reforms emerging from the Royal Commission. Read more.
Chair: Mr Robert Sultan
The Customs and International Transactions Committee focuses on legal issues associated with international trade, particularly trade in goods. The committee’s focus areas are customs compliance, tariff classification, free trade agreements, tariff concession orders and Australia's obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation. Read more.
Chair: Mr David Ware
The Digital Commerce Committee was formed in the 1990s as the E-commerce Committee and has a focus on commercial and government/regulatory transactions with business and consumers using digital and related technologies and platforms including digital marketing, procurement, supply and service delivery, contracting, authentication, signing and consents. Read more.
Chair: Ms Susannah Wilkinson
The Financial Services Committee monitors developments in the laws and regulations governing financial services, actively contributing to public consultation on changes to these laws. These include, for example, the Australian Financial Services License regime, the National Credit Code, the Banking Code of Practice, the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act, the Personal Property Securities Act. Read more.
Chair: Ms Phillipa Bell
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Working Party was formed to represent the views of the Law Council in relation to issues involving foreign corrupt practices, including law reform initiatives in this area and OECD scrutiny of Australia's compliance with its obligations under the relevant directive. Read more.
Chair: Mr Greg Golding
The Foreign Investment Committee was formed initially to engage with the Federal Government on much needed reform to Australia’s foreign investment regime. Following the rewrite of the legislation in 2015 the committee has continued to be actively engaged with the Federal Government at both bureaucratic, board and ministerial level. Read more.
Chair: Ms Wendy Rae
The Insolvency & Restructuring Committee (IRC) was formed in 1994 (formerly known as the Insolvency and Reconstruction Law Committee). The IRC is the peak legal body at the federal level for insolvency and restructuring and its members are many of Australia’s most respected and senior insolvency and restructuring lawyers. Read more.
Chair: Mr Chris Pearce
The Intellectual Property Committee has been active in law reform of Australia’s intellectual property system for over 40 years. It comprises barristers, solicitors and academic scholars who, through its various sub-committees, debate and contribute to the process of law reform across all aspects of intellectual property law. Read more.
Chair: Mr Angus Lang
The Media and Communications Committee focus is in the areas of privacy (jointly with the Privacy Committee), defamation and broader media and communications reform (particularly arising from competition law reform). The Committee's membership is a mix of practitioners, from private practice, the bar and in-house counsel. In addition to practitioners in the areas of traditional media and telecommunications, the Sydney group now has representatives from the area of online platforms.
Chair: Mr Justin Quill & Ms Connie Carnabuci
The Privacy Law Committee is focused on developments in privacy laws, mostly on the Federal level and from a business law perspective. The committee contributes regularly to initiatives such as the introduction of consumer data right, Digital Platform Inquiry and the privacy impacts of emerging technologies such use of biometric data and artificial intelligence. The committee also takes a keen interest in key investigations and enquiries undertaken by privacy and other regulators as these relate to privacy and data. Read more.
Chair: Ms Olga Ganopolsky
The SME Business Law Committee was initiated by Prof Bob Baxt in 2010 to represent the perspective of small businesses when providing submissions and consultations in areas where other BLS committees represented the interests of the large business clients of the practitioner members. Read more.
Chair: Mr Bruce Collins
Through its policy and consultation work the Taxation Committee plays a key role in the strategic direction of the tax system and in the identification of opportunities to improve tax administration generally. The last four years have seen a marked increase in the number of significant changes and amendments to tax laws, many of which charter new and complex territory. The complexity of the tax system has continued to grow unabated. Read more.
Chair: Ms Angela Lee
Ms Jessica Morrow
Business Law Section
T. (02) 6246 3737
Ms Kay Barney
Business Law Section
T. (02) 6246 3718
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