Michael is a commercial disputes partner with extensive experience in major commercial litigation, major asset restructuring and insolvency reconstruction and transactional work and dispute resolution for banks and other financial institutions.

Michael practices throughout Australia with a primary focus on Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. 

A significant amount of his work is associated with his experience as a leading insolvency and reconstruction practitioner. Michael has a reputation as the go-to person on difficult assignments. He is a commercially focussed litigator who is fully cognisant of the business imperatives facing a client involved in litigation.

Michael has been recognised by his peers as ‘Lawyer of the Year’ by Best Lawyers in Australia 2022 in the area of Insolvency and Reorganisation Law in Adelaide. Michael has  also recognised as one of the Best Lawyers in Australia in the areas of Insolvency and Reorganisation (2012 – 2023) and Banking and Finance law (2014 – 2023). Michael has been recognised as an “outstanding” Asset Recovery lawyer in Who’s Who Legal (2017), and acknowledged for his expertise in the banking and finance sectors, as well as in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2020) for his work in Restructuring and Insolvency. In Doyle’s Guide he has been acknowledged as a preeminent lawyer (2014 & 2015) and a leading lawyer (2016-2017, 2020-2021) in Insolvency and Restructuring and a leading lawyer (2015) and a recommended lawyer (2016-2019, 2021) in Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution in South Australia.

Michael Barrett’s recent experience includes:

  • Acting for the Australian Taxation Office in ongoing Federal and Supreme Court litigation in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia in a range of matters including the procurement of Freezing Orders, the role and duties of directors, and associated disputes.
  • Acting for former shareholders in a substantial action in the Victorian Supreme Court in relation to fraud and deceit proceedings relating to the disposal of interests to a subsidiary of a major foreign company.
  • Acting for the former directors of Gunns Plantations Limited in relation to a class action arising out of the offering of Managed Investment Schemes.
  • Acting for the former directors of the Gunns Limited Group in respect of proceedings, now completed, in Victoria and Tasmania.
  • Representing in 2020 and 2021, Adelaide Airport Limited in relation to the administration of the Virgin Australia Group and liability issues as a result of the global pandemic.