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.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Inquests, Royal Commissions and Statutory Tribunals
- Trade Practices and Competition
A selection of some notable cases in recent years
Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes – 2022/23 – Crime
Mr Gray is Senior Counsel Assisting the Special Commission.
V’landys v Australian Broadcasting Corporation  FCAFC 80 – Defamation
Mr Gray appeared for the ABC, the successful respondent in the full Federal Court. The appellant, Mr V’landys, had sued the ABC over a “Four Corners” program about cruelty to racehorses.
Duma v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd (No 3)  FCA 47 – Defamation
Mr Gray’s client, William Duma, a Cabinet Minister in the Government of PNG, was awarded damages of $465,000, including aggravated damages, over a series of defamatory articles in the Australian Financial Review.
Bazzi v Dutton  FCAFC 84 – Defamation
Mr Gray appeared in the Full Federal Court for the successful appellant, Mr Bazzi, who had published a tweet about the then Defence Minister Mr Dutton. The Court overturned a finding by the trial judge that an imputation pleaded by Mr Dutton was conveyed by Mr Bazzi’s tweet.
Thunder Studios Inc (California) v Kazal (No 12)  FCA 110 – Defamation, Injurious Falsehood, Misleading and Deceptive Conduct.
Mr Gray’s clients were awarded damages totalling over $1.5 million for a series of indefensible publications on various websites and social media sites.
Gould v Jordan (No 2)  FCA 1289 – Defamation
Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondent, Mr Jordan, the Commissioner of Taxation, who had made some remarks referable to Mr Gould in the course of an address to the National Press Club. The Federal Court upheld Mr Jordan’s qualified privilege defence (reply to attack).
Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd & Ors v Voller (2021) 273 CLR 347;  HCA 27 – Defamation
Mr Gray appeared for Mr Voller both in the NSW Court of Appeal (105 NSWLR 83) and subsequently in the High Court. Mr Voller was successful in both appeals. The courts 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  98 NSWLR 672;  NSWCA 259 – Offers of amends; offers of compromise
Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondent in the NSW 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  NSWSC 1996 – Breach of confidence; breach of statutory duty
Mr Gray appeared for the defendant publishers who defeated claims of breach of confidence, and breach of statutory duty, arising from a newspaper article about criminal proceedings.
O’Brien v ABC  97 NSWLR 1;  NSWCA 338 – Defamation
Mr Gray appeared for the successful defendant, the ABC, both at first instance and on appeal, in defamation proceedings about a ‘Media Watch’ programme.
Kazal v Thunder Studios Inc (California)  FCAFC 111 – Contempt
Mr Gray appeared for the successful respondent, both 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  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)  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  NSWSC 1729;  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  FCA 242; 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.
- Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (Sydney) 1976
- Bachelor of Laws (Sydney) 1978
- Master of Laws (London) 1982