Justice Bernard Murphy

Honourable Justice Bernard Murphy, Justice of the Federal Court of Australia.

Justice Murphy is a justice of the Federal Court of Australia, having been appointed to the bench in June 2011.

His Honour is one of the Court’s Coordinators of class actions and is Co-Chair of the Court’s Class Action Users Group. His Honour has published 58 judgments in class action matters including in relation to interlocutory disputes, class action trials and in appeals as a member of the Full Court of the Federal Court. His Honour is recognised as a leading judge in class action jurisprudence.

Prior to his appointment, his Honour was a Senior Partner of law firm Slater & Gordon from 1990 to 1995 where he got his first taste of major group litigation. In 1996, his Honour moved to the law firm Maurice Blackburn and started the firm’s class action practice in 1998, which went on to become the largest class action practice in Australia. His Honour was Chairman of Maurice Blackburn from 2005 until his appointment to the Court in 2011.

For the 13 years prior to his Honour’s appointment, his Honour was a pioneer of class action litigation in Australia and he conducted, supervised and advised on more than 30 class actions including in relation to directors’ duties, corporate misconduct, cartel conduct, major catastrophes, and consumer and social justice issues. The cases in which he was involved include:

  • The first four successful securities class actions in Australia, which settled for a combined total of $566.5 million, two before trial, one during trial and one after trial.
  • The first two successful cartel class actions in Australia which settled before trial for a combined total of $161 million before trial.
  • The first two successful ‘catastrophe’ class actions in Australia (the first a major gas explosion and the second a major bushfire) which settled for a combined total of $530 million, both after trial.


His Honour is a Principal Fellow of the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne where he has lectured in Class Action Law since 2007. He is a member of the Melbourne Law School Advisory Council.
His Honour speaks widely at seminars and conferences in relation to the role class actions play in enhancing access to justice, and has published numerous academic articles in that regard: see, for example, Murphy and Cameron, Access to Justice and the Evolution of Class Action Litigation in Australia (2006) 30 Melbourne University Law Review 399; Murphy and Morabito, The First 25 Years: Has the Class Action Regime Hit the Mark on Access to Justice, in 25 years of Class Actions in Australia, 1992-2017 (ed. Grave and Mould, 2017); Jagot, Murphy and Moss, Open Justice and Class Actions, including a Judicial Perspective, in The Australian Class Action: a 30-Year Perspective (ed Legg and Metzger, 2023).


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The Global Class Actions and Mass Torts Conference is a prestigious international event that focuses on the concept of collective redress, which refers to legal mechanisms that allow a large group of individuals who have suffered similar harm or injury to pursue their claims together as a single entity.

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