Robert Johnston Partner

Meet Robert

Robert is one of Australia's leading commercial litigation lawyers specialising in large scale, complex disputes and class actions.

Robert has been involved in some of Australia’s leading commercial disputes including shareholder class actions, directors' and officers' liability, auditor and other professional indemnity claims, regulatory proceedings and insolvency matters.

Robert is also a recognised insurance expert advising on policy wordings and recoveries.

With over 25 years' experience, Robert has dealt extensively with regulators including ASIC, APRA, the ACCC and the ASX and has represented clients in Royal Commissions and other major inquiries.

Robert has regularly been recognised as a leading expert in the areas of dispute resolution, class actions, insurance and reinsurance and professional negligence by Chambers Global, Asia Pacific Legal 500, Legal Who's Who, Euromoney's Expert Guides, Doyle's and Best Lawyers. He is regarded as "strategic and approachable", a lawyer who "really looks after his clients" and with an "outstanding level of personal service".  Robert is known for providing early, practical assessments in cases and for his strategic and commercial advice.


Class actions


Acting in the defence of 3 shareholder class actions involving continuous disclosure breaches and audit negligence claims.

Dick Smith Class Action

Acting for institutions in a $300M shareholder class action.

Federal Court

Personally appointed by the President of the Federal Court as an expert to assist the court in a significant class action.

RiverCity class action

Acting in defence of the $250 million IPO shareholder class action which included claims against AECOM’s traffic forecasts.

Pan Pharmaceutical

Advising on the class action against Commonwealth and company arising from TGA decision to cancel licenses including the claims resolution process.

MFS PIF Class Action

Acting for class action claimants in a $300 million collapsed property trust claim against auditors.

Aristocrat shareholders’ class action

Acting for the litigation funder in this seminal class action securities claim.


Hayne Royal Commission

Acting for ASIC and one of its commissioners.

AIG Insurance

Seeking indemnity under a $300 million D & O policy with securities claims extension in an international arbitration in Amsterdam.

Octaviar litigation

Acting for liquidators in their $275 million claims against the auditors.

BrisConnect litigation

Acting for a party involved in ARUP’s allegedly deficient traffic forecasts in the bank lenders’ $2 billion claim.

Lane Cove Tunnel claim

Acting in defence of AMP’s $150 million claims of negligence made against the major traffic forecaster, Parsons Brinkerhoff traffic forecasting.

Jackson James Hardie Enquiry

Advising compensation fund trustees at enquiry.

Storm Financial

Representing major bank’s witnesses in ASIC enquiries and subsequent litigation.

Opes Prime

Advising insurers in relation to various claims against the stock-brokers and bankers.


Acting in defence of the then largest ever class action.


Advising Rich against ASIC.


Listed as a leading lawyer in Class Action Litigation
Best Lawyers Australia, 2014 - 2020
Listed as a leading lawyer in Litigation
Best Lawyers Australia, 2019 - 2020
Listed as a leading lawyer in Insurance Law
Best Lawyers Australia 2018 - 2020
Ranked as a leading Dispute Resolution lawyer
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2019-2020
Recognised as a recommended lawyer in Dispute Resolution
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2018
Robert Johnston is described as "good in the class action space and right across it."
Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2020
Listed in insurance, reinsurance and professional malpractice
Legal Who's Who
Listed in insurance and reinsurance
Euromoney Expert Guide
Listed in commercial litigation
Doyle's Guide

Career & qualifications


  • Bachelor of Economics, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney


  • Law Council of Australia - Class Action Executive Committee
  • International Bar Association - Vice Chair Consumer Litigation Committee
  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Australian Professional Indemnity Insurance Association
  • NSW Supreme Court Commercial List Users Group
  • Federal Court Class Action Users Group


Insights Read more insight

Three game changers in 10 days in the class action space

First, on 29 November 2019, the Queensland floods class action judgement was delivered by Beech-Jones J in Rodriguez & Sons Pty Ltd v Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater (No...

Recent Australian class action highlights

With a 25-year-old class action regime that is well established for all types of matters (consumer, competition and shareholder claims) and which does not face the significant interlocutory...

BOQ caught out on insurance policy clause

A judgment handed down in the Supreme Court of New South Wales this week involving the Bank of Queensland (Bank of Queensland Ltd v AIG Australia Ltd [2018] NSWSC 1689) highlights just how critical...