Areas of Expertise

Commercial Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution, Contract Law & Equity, Competition & Consumer Law, Information Technology & Telecommunications Law, Corporations Law

John Howard is a litigator with more than 30 years’ experience and mainly practises in the Federal and Supreme Courts across Australia. He and his team also appear regularly in all courts and tribunals of New South Wales.

He practices in all aspects of, business, property and company law disputes and investigations. Having also practiced for some years as a commercial lawyer before specialising in dispute resolution John has an excellent understanding of both the legal and commercial drivers behind commercial disputes and their successful resolution.

John's clients represent a wide range of industries including IT, ICT, major commercial property trusts, property developers, agribusiness, downstream and upstream oil and gas, resources companies, FMCG companies, hi-tech companies, professional and financial services companies and political parties. John is also the firm's relationship partner for certain New South Wales government departments and agencies.

John has particular expertise in contract law, competition and consumer law, corporations law and cross-border disputes. He is also experienced and regularly engages in all forms of alternative dispute resolution including mediations, arbitrations, expert determinations, and structured negotiations.

What others say

"Recommended Lawyer – Australia, Dispute Resolution"
Legal 500 Asia Pacific
"Leading Lawyer – Australia, Gaming Law"
Best Lawyers Peer Review 2022 – 2024


Senior Party Officials

John and his team recently successfully advised and acted for the now former Prime Minister, the NSW Premier, the federal president of the Liberal Party of Australia and another senior party official In high profile expedited proceedings in the New South Wales Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia. The proceedings involved an urgent challenge to the powers and validity of the actions of a Committee (comprising the Prime Minister, the NSW Premier and one other) appointed by the Liberal Party Federal Executive to take over the management of the party’s NSW Division and make the “captains’ picks” for party endorsement of candidates in 12 House of Representative seats located in NSW. The NSW Court of Appeal unanimously ruled in favour of John’s clients and the High Court refused the plaintiff special leave to appeal clearing the way for the 2022 Federal election to be called. The judgement of the Court of Appeal clarifies the law and is now one of the leading precedents on the justiciability of disputes arising out of the rules/constitutions of unincorporated political parties in Australia. Camenzuli v Morrison [2022] NSWCA 51.

Caltex Australia

Acted for Caltex Australia, against a large international software solutions company in the Commercial List of the Equity Division of the Supreme Court of NSW in a very substantial multimillion dollar dispute relating to the provision to Caltex of a fuel/credit card payment and reporting software system capable of dealing with millions of transactions each year. Both sides alleged multiple breaches and repudiation of contract by the other and claimed very substantial damages. The proceedings were factually and legally complex with many gigabytes of electronic discovery, and very significant lay and expert evidence involving many witnesses based in four countries. The matter settled just before trial.

Huaxin Energy (Australia) Pty Limited

Successfully acted for Huaxin Energy (Australia) Pty Limited and a related company as defendants in Supreme Court of Queensland Commercial List proceedings for multi-million dollar damages and again on appeal to the Queensland Court of Appeal. The plaintiffs (as vendors) claimed damages for breach by the defendants (as purchasers) of implied terms the plaintiff’s alleged existed in an asset sale agreement between the parties relating to the sale of a valuable mining tenement. We were successful both at first instance and on appeal to the Court of Appeal and the case is now a leading precedent on when and to what extent to imply terms in commercial contracts.

Bondi Beach Astra Retirement Village Pty Ltd

Successfully acted for Bondi Beach Astra Retirement Village Pty Ltd as plaintiff in Supreme Court of New South Wales Equity Division Real Property List proceedings with certain proprietors of a strata unit in a retirement village in their capacity as executors and successors in title to a deceased resident of the village. The defendants argued that our client was not an operator of the retirement village and that they were not bound to sell their unit as a unit in a retirement village but simply as a strata title unit for over 55s. The court agreed with our client’s position that it was an “operator” for the purposes of the Retirement Villages Act (NSW) and, in particular, that the unit in question formed part of a “retirement village” under the Act and thus the defendants were bound to comply with the Act if they wished to sell. The case is a leading precedent on the interaction of contract, strata and retirement village law. [

Secure Parking Pty Ltd

Successfully acted for a large public carpark operator, Secure Parking Pty Ltd, in defending a multimillion dollar for damages brought against it in the Supreme Court of New South Wales Equity Division by its former commercial landlord alleging repudiation of a public car park lease by Secure during the Covid lockdown. The court ultimately held, contrary to the landlord's case and consistent with John's position, that on a proper construction of the lease and applying the facts, it was the landlord which had repudiated the lease by purporting to terminate it when there had been no repudiatory conduct by Secure Parking. bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2022/931.html