Matthew Lees is a partner in Arnold Bloch Leibler’s competition and intellectual property practices. He focuses on achieving outstanding results for clients through understanding their business and finding innovative solutions.
Matthew has successfully defended clients in high-profile and cutting-edge regulatory prosecutions, including the ACCC’s first case under the current law on misuse of market power and APRA’s first court case following the Hayne royal commission into the banking industry.
With nearly two decades of experience, Matthew advises clients on a wide range of investigations, disputes and transactions, including ACCC merger clearances.
He has been recognised by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific in the areas of competition & trade and intellectual property.
Matthew joined Arnold Bloch Leibler as an articled clerk. He was admitted to practice in 2004 and appointed a partner in 2011. After 10 years in the litigation team, he helped start the firm’s competition practice group in 2013.
On behalf of the firm, Matthew has contributed submissions to numerous government reviews. His opinions and articles have been published in major Australian newspapers as well as legal journals and books. He has delivered seminars in Australia and overseas, as well as competition law training for the CEOs of some of Australia’s largest companies.
Before joining the firm, Matthew graduated from The University of Melbourne with first class honours in law and a degree in pure mathematics. He subsequently completed a Masters of Laws, during which he studied economics at Melbourne Business School.
Matthew was an inaugural member of the Future Leaders Program of the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee and has worked on matters with some of Japan’s premier law firms.
“Matthew Lees is a stand-out in terms of practical and commercial advice. He has a brilliant legal mind and is able to tailor advice to suit the audience and client needs.”
- cartels, misuse of market power and other anticompetitive practices;
- ACCC approval of mergers, acquisitions and other transactions;
- misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, unfair contract terms and consumer protection;
- trade mark, copyright and patent infringement;
- product liability, safety and recalls; and
- contract interpretation.
Directorships & memberships
- Australia Japan Society of Victoria.
Matthew has acted in a range of matters, including:
- ACCC v TasPorts: defending Tasmania’s state-owned port operator against the ACCC’s first misuse of market power case under the current law (case settled without penalty through mediation shortly before trial);
- Fonterra: successfully defending the largest dairy exporter in the world, in a high-profile investigation by the ACCC regarding milk prices; also representing Fonterra in a related public inquiry by the ACCC, a Senate committee inquiry and a class action by dairy farmers;
- APRA v Kelaher: successfully defending the former managing director of IOOF in the first court action by the prudential regulator following the Hayne Royal Commission (all alleged contraventions were dismissed by the court);
- Fonterra v Bega Cheese: representing Fonterra in complex dispute in the Supreme Court of Victoria regarding a long-term trade mark licensing agreement for Australia’s best-selling cheese brand;
- ME Bank: providing ACCC merger clearance advice to ME in relation to sale of its business (successfully sold to the Bank of Queensland for $1.325 billion);
- Kinetic: negotiating a new long-term contract with the Victorian government for SkyBus, Melbourne’s privately-operated public transport airport bus service;
- Defending investor class actions against Timbercorp Securities, Nufarm and Challenger Financial Services Group;
- Successfully defending the managing director of an international software company in a criminal prosecution for fraud and forgery (acquitted on all charges);
- TasPorts: obtaining ACCC approval for the privatisation of mooring services at commercial sea ports in Tasmania;
- Nufarm, JB Hi-Fi and various clients: in ACCC cartel investigations;
- ASIC investigations and prosecutions for suspected insider trading, market manipulation and related offences;
- Bupa: in Supreme Court of Victoria proceedings concerning rights of subrogation against a medical indemnity insurer;
- Recovering intellectual property and other assets for the international headquarters of a Japanese religion from its breakaway Australian chapter.
Awards & recognition
Matthew is recognised by international legal guide, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, in the areas of competition & trade and intellectual property.