Ruth C A Higgins SC

Ruth C A Higgins SC
Level 9, 2 Chifley Square


Who's Who Legal Australia - Competition

Ruth Higgins SC appears in proceedings across Australia in competition, public, commercial, energy, media and corporate criminal law matters. She acts for listed companies (Apple, Qantas, Volkswagen, Nissan, Tabcorp, CBA, BlueScope, Woolworths), energy companies (AGL, BP, Origin, Energy Australia, Hydro Tasmania), media companies (Telstra, Today FM, Seven, Vodafone) and government instrumentalities, including the ACCC, NCC, ASIC and APRA. 

In competition law proceedings, Ruth has appeared in the High Court of Australia in ACCC v Flight Centre Limited (2016) 91 ALJR 143 and Commonwealth v Director, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (2015) 258 CLR 482; and in a special leave application in respect of an access determination under Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth): Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd v The Australian Competition Tribunal & Ors [2018] HCATrans 55 9 (see also Application by Glencore Coal Pty Ltd [2016] A CompT 6 and (No 2) [2016] ACompT 7.

She appeared in one of the early cases brought under the civil cartel provisions (ACCC v Renegade Gas Pty Ltd and Others (2014) FCA 1135), in the first modern criminal cartel case, CDPP v Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha [2017] FCA 876, and is currently briefed for the Commonwealth director of public prosecutions in a related shipping cartel matter and in the alleged criminal banking cartel.

Other notable competition cases include: ACCC v Cascade Coal Pty Ltd (No 3) [2018] FCA 1019; ACCC v Cement Australia Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 159; ACCC v Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd (No 4) (2017) 353 ALR 460; ACCC v Colgate Palmolive Ltd (No 3) [2016] FCA 676; ACCC v Colgate-Palmolive Pty Ltd (No 2) [2016] FCA 528; Application for Authorisation of Acquisition of Macquarie Generation by AGL Energy Limited [2014] A Comp T 1; McHugh v Australian Jockey Club Limited (2014) 314 ALR 20; ACCC v Cement Australia Pty Ltd (2013) 310 ALR 165; ACCC v Informed Sources and Others VID 450/2014; Apple Inc & Another v Samsung Electronics Co Ltd NSD 1243 of 2011.

In the energy sector, Ruth has appeared in many of the applications brought against decisions of the Australian Energy Regulator under the now-repealed limited merits review regime: eg, Application by DBNGP (WA) Transmission Pty Ltd [2018] ACompT 1; SA Power Networks v Australian Competition Tribunal (No 2) [2018] FCAFC 3; Applications Nos 1-8 [2016] ACompT 1–8; Application by ActewAGL Distribution [2010] ACompT 4; Application by EnergyAustralia [2009] ACompT 9. She also regulatory participates in energy arbitrations, including, recently, the first Access Arbitration under Part 23 of the National Gas Rules between Hydro Tasmania (AETV Pty Ltd) and Tasmanian Gas Pipeline Pty Ltd. 

Ruth also appears in many class actions including, recently, those against Volkswagen concerning diesel emissions; the Nissan matter concerning Takata airbags; and the Provident debentures class action. 

Ruth has appeared at various inquiries including acting as counsel assisting the ACCC East Coast Gas Enquiry; at private and public hearings of the ICAC; and acting as counsel for Macquarie Generation at the Special Commission of Enquiry into Electricity Transactions. She is currently acting for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in the Royal Commission into Financial Services. 

Ruth is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, an assistant general editor of the Australian Law Journal and a pool member of the Dispute Resolution Panel appointed under the National Electricity Rules. 

Ruth won the Glasgow University medal in law; completed a doctorate in legal philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford; and lectured at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, and a visiting fellow at New College, Oxford. Her publications include The Moral Limits of Law (OUP, 2004), three collections of essays co-edited with Justin Gleeson SC and a forthcoming monograph, Law’s Candour (all through Federation Press). 

Ruth has been included in Best Lawyers Australia since 2008 and Chambers Global since 2011. She is listed in Doyle’s Guide as a leading silk for competition law, and as a recommended silk for commercial litigation, insolvency law and media and communications.

Since 2015, Ruth has been elected to the NSW Bar Association Bar Council, having previously been a director of the Bar Association between 2007 and 2009. She was appointed chair of a professional conduct committee of the Bar Association in 2018.

WWL says: Ruth Higgins SC is recognised by peers as “excellent” in the competition space. They commend her impressive work on competition-related litigation.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Australia which can be purchased from our Shop.

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