Catherine Kelso is a commercial litigator specialising in complex commercial disputes and sensitive regulatory matters. Her areas of focus include financial services, regulatory investigations, international trade and investment and Royal Commissions and public inquiries.

Catherine is particularly noted for her experience in conducting and managing large-scale and sensitive contentious matters, most recently as a Solicitor Assisting the Financial Services Royal Commission. Before that, she acted for Australia in its successful defence of a multi-billion dollar investor-state arbitration claim brought by a global tobacco company challenging Australia's world-first tobacco plain packaging measures. She has also acted in high-profile litigation in the Federal Courts over the development of the Western Sydney Airport site. Currently, she is acting for major financial services entities in class actions, regulatory investigations and complex customer disputes.

Catherine's advice is informed not only by her experience in large-scale litigation, but also by her previous work for the regulator of financial services in the UK, specialising in European Community law and cross-border financial services.

Catherine is committed to supporting pro bono legal services and has volunteered at a community legal centre for over a decade.

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Expertise

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Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Solicitor Assisting the Financial Services Royal Commission Royal Commission: Catherine was responsible for the management of multiple rounds of hearings, instructing Counsel Assisting, managing complex compulsory information gathering processes, dealing with multiple party representatives and consumer witnesses, and supervising legal teams and large-scale document review.

Western Sydney Airport: Catherine a in large-scale litigation in the Federal Court in relation to the development of the Western Sydney Airport site.

Tobacco packaging litigation: Catherine assisted with the Commonwealth's defence of constitutional challenges in the High Court to tobacco plain packaging legislation.

Coal exploration licences: Catherine acted for a government authority in Federal Court proceedings challenging the refusal of exploration licences for a proposed underground coal gasification project.

Equine Influenza Commission: Catherine was appointed as a Solicitor Assisting the Equine Influenza Commission of Inquiry.

Liability and class action risk: Catherine is acting for a major financial services entity in class action proceedings in the Federal Court. She also advised defendants on liability and class action risks arising from the equine influenza outbreak in Australia.

Department of Defence: Catherine has acted for Defence in various commercial disputes, sensitive disputes and in contentious contract renegotiations for a large military procurement.

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International Arbitration

Philip Morris v Australia: Catherine acted for Australia in an international investor-state arbitration and successfully defended a multi-billion dollar claim challenging world-first tobacco plain packaging legislation. Catherine supervised a complex discovery, led extensive forensic inquiries across multiple jurisdictions and briefed an international counsel team including Solicitors-General.

World Trade Organization: Catherine assited with trade disputes against Australia in the WTO relating to tobacco plain packaging legislation.

Termination of petroleum production sharing contract: Catherine advised a joint governmental authority in international arbitral proceedings arising from the termination of a petroleum production sharing contract.

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Investigations and Crisis Management

Financial services customer disputes: Catherine is acting for a major financial services entity in regulatory investigations and complex customer disputes.

Foreign currency conversion investigation: Catherine led a large team of external lawyers assisting in a regulatory investigation of foreign currency conversion services.

Investigation into offshore oil spill: Catherine acted as legal adviser to an investigation team conducting inquiries into a major offshore oil spill.

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Knowledge

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