John Wakefield



Sydney Office


John leads Holman Webb’s national Dispute Resolution Team in Sydney.  He is recognised for his expertise and technical ability in all aspects of dispute resolution including arbitration and mediation.  He advises upon issues arising in a wide range of complex matters including appeals, constitutional law (Court of Disputed Returns), administrative law (professional conduct, discrimination, taxation appeals, ASIC reviews, FOS appeals, NDIS applications for review and appeals to FCAFC), securities enforcement, insolvency, Corporations Act, Australian Consumer Law, reinsurance law, professional indemnity, general commercial and equity including trust, estate administration and international and domestic arbitration.

In 2009, John was appointed a judicial member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales.  From 2014 to 2021 he was a senior member (part-time) of the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal sitting in administrative and equal opportunity and occupational divisions and on the appeal panel.  Prior to 2009 he was for ten years a member of the professional conduct committee of the Law Society of New South Wales.

John is recognised by the Law Society of New South Wales as an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation.  He has been included in Best Lawyers International for Alternative Dispute Resolution since 2018. He was the winner of the Australasian Law Awards Arbitrator of the Year Award in 2018.

John is a former President and Director of the Australian Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators a charity dedicated to the education and grading of arbitration practitioners internationally with over 15,000 members in 100 countries.  In 2017, John was elected as the Australasian trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators for four years. 

John is also Chair of the Australian Disputes Centre, a not-for-profit enterprise providing meeting and hearing rooms for alternative dispute resolution, the teaching of mediation to the National Mediation Association standard and a national focus for alternative dispute resolution.  John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.  He is a member of the Approved Faculty List for the Chartered Institute and has taught, examined and moderated in the Fast Track to Fellowship and Diploma of International Commercial Arbitration courses in Australia and Asia.  He is an accredited mediator.

John was updating co-author of the Australian chapter on Remedies for International Sellers of Goods (Volume 1), 1990 (D Campbell ed.) (and updated), Yorkhill Law Publishing.  He also writes and speaks regularly about issues in alternative dispute resolution.

Professional Memberships


Firstly John’s team works to understand the objectives of their clients. They then proceed effectively and efficiently, at each stage of the process, to achieve those objectives. They manage to resolve 90% of disputes before hearing. For those cases which do go to court, they work in their client’s interest to control the process and the variables which come into play to best effect.

Areas of Expertise

General Commercial Litigation encompassing Appellate; Banking and Finance; Corporations Law; Commercial Contracts; Securities Enforcement; Insolvency; Trade Practices; Professional Negligence; Intellectual Property; Copyright; Trademarks; Wills and Estates; Equity, International and Domestic Arbitration; Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution.




Who We Are


What We Do