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John Wakefield

Chairman of Partners


Sydney Office


John is chair of Holman Webb Lawyers and practices in dispute resolution in the firm’s Sydney office. His dispute resolution experience extends through Federal and State Courts, as well as international / domestic arbitration for contracting entities, lenders and borrowers, insurers and re-insurers.

In 2009, John was appointed a judicial member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales. Since 2014, he has been a senior member (part-time) of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal sitting in the Administrative and Equal Opportunity and Occupational Divisions and on the Appeal Panel. He is a fellow and past president of the Australian branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. In 2016, John was elected chair of the Australian Disputes Centre. In 2017 he became a member of the board of trustees of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. John is also a mediator, qualified to the national standard (NMAS). He teaches and speaks regularly on current issues in ADR.

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.

Professional Memberships

  • Law Society of New South Wales
  • Law Society of England & Wales
  • Fellow Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration
  • Accredited Specialist Commercial Litigation
  • Part-time senior member of NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Occupational Division, Administrative, Equal Opportunity Division and Appeal Panel) 2014 to date
  • Part-time judicial member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal of NSW (Legal Services Division and Equal Opportunities Division) 2009 - 2013
  • Board Member of the Australian International Disputes Centre 2013 - 2014, Chair from 2015
  • Chair, Australian Branch, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 2010-2013
  • Member for Australasia, Board of Trustees, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2017 to date


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.


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