+61 2 9132 5700 clerk@153phillip.com.au
Peter Gray SC

Peter Gray SC

  +61 2 9132 5718

Peter Gray was admitted to the Bar in 1986, and appointed Senior Counsel in 2003. He specialises in defamation and related media law, and has appeared in many prominent cases.

He also practises generally in the commercial and common law fields, including trade practices and professional negligence, as well as in criminal law. He has extensive experience in the conduct of commissions of inquiry both state and federal.

He is an experienced mediator, having conducted numerous mediations since the early 1990s. He is accredited pursuant to the National Standards and is on the panels of mediators approved by the NSW Supreme and District Courts.

Practice Areas

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate
  • Commercial
  • Criminal
  • Defamation
  • Equity
  • Inquests, Royal Commissions and Statutory Tribunals
  • Trade Practices and Competition

Some Notable Cases in Recent Years

Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd & Ors v Voller [2020] NSWCA 102 – Defamation

Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondent, Mr Voller, in the NSW Court of Appeal, which confirmed that various media companies were the ‘publishers’ of comments posted by third parties to the FaceBook pages of those media companies.

Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Vass [2018] 98 NSWLR 672; [2018] NSWCA 259 – Offers of amends; offers of compromise

Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondent in the Court of Appeal. An offer of amends under the Defamation Act was held capable of acceptance by a plaintiff even after the plaintiff had made an offer of compromise (of a higher amount) under UCPR r. 20.26.

Jane Doe v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd [2018] NSWSC 1996 – Breach of confidence; breach of statutory duty

Mr Gray appeared for the successful defendants in defeating a claim that a newspaper article about criminal proceedings was in breach of a statutory duty not to publish such material and was a breach of confidence.

O’Brien v ABC [2018] NSWLR 1; [2017] NSWCA 338 – Defamation

Mr Gray appeared for the successful defendant, the ABC, at first instance and on appeal, in defamation proceedings about a ‘Media Watch’ programme.

Kazal v Thunder Studios Inc (California) [2017] FCAFC 111 – Contempt

Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondent, at first instance and on appeal to the Full Federal Court, in proceedings concerning contempt of court, interference with the due administration of justice, and principles of sentencing for contempt.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – 2013 to 2017

Mr Gray was leading counsel for a large institution over the course of the Royal Commission.

Khalid v Legal Aid Commission of NSW [2016] NSWSC 1640 – Administrative Law

Mr Gray appeared for a prisoner, accused of terrorism offences, who sought judicial review of a decision by the Legal Aid Commisssion.

French v Fraser (No 3) [2015] NSWSC 1807 – Defamation

Mr Gray appeared for the plaintiff who was awarded substantial damages, including aggravated damages, in respect of a campaign against him of social media harassment and vilification.

McBride v Christies Australia Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 1729; [2015] NSWSC 754 – Equity

Mr Gray’s client, a successful defendant, obtained orders for indemnity costs in proceedings in which allegations against her of breach of fiduciary and other duties, in connection with works by well-known artists, were dismissed.

Dye v Commonwealth Securities Limited & Ors [2012] FCA 42;[2012] FCA 407

Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondents in lengthy and complex Federal Court proceedings involving defamation, injurious falsehood, sexual harassment, discrimination and trade practices claims, all of which were dismissed and indemnity costs awarded.

Publications & Presentations

  • Mr Gray is a co-author of the “Defamation” title in Halsbury’s Laws of Australia.
  • He has published and presented numerous papers and seminars.

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (Sydney) 1976
  • Bachelor of Laws (Sydney) 1978
  • Master of Laws (London) 1982