Fiona McLeod (barrister)

Fiona Margaret McLeod AO, SC (born 1964) is an Australian barrister practising at the Victorian Bar.

Fiona McLeod

Born1964 (age 55–56)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Years active1991–present

McLeod was born in Melbourne,[1] one of four children born to William Richard McLeod and Margaret Frances McLeod (née Stuckey). Her early schooling was in Melbourne, then Auckland, then at the Presbyterian Ladies' College back in Melbourne. She attended the University of Melbourne, where she received a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. She later received a Masters of Public and International Law from the University of Melbourne. McLeod was President of the Australian Law Students' Association in 1987.

McLeod was employed as an articled clerk and solicitor by the law firm Cornwall Stodart in Melbourne. She was admitted as a barrister in Victoria in 1991 and later in New South Wales. She was appointed Senior Counsel in Victoria in 2003.

In 2013, McLeod was appointed chair of the Victorian Bar Council, and in 2015 was the president of the Australian Bar Association. She was appointed to the executive of the Law Council of Australia in 2014, serving as treasurer in 2015, president-elect in 2016 and President in 2017.

McLeod attended the 2020 Summit participating in the Regional Security and Prosperity stream. At the time she was the President of Australian Women Lawyers.

She is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Australian Academy of Law. She is a Council member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Advisory Council of the University of Melbourne Law School and the Victorian University Sir Zelman Cowan Centre,

Described as an 'Outstanding Advocate and Leader of the Profession' (The Advocate Award) and one of Melbourne's most "influential, inspirational, provocative and creative individuals" (The Age), Fiona has been recognized for her clear legal advice, advocacy and strategic thinking in commercial and public law matters.

She has represented the Commonwealth in major cases including the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Queensland Floods Commission and the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse. She has been briefed in notable matters including the Murrindindi bushfire class action and MFB Burnley toxic waste case. She appeared in the Gunns 20 litigation, the Casey landfill gas migration action and Blue Wedges case concerning the dredging of Port Philip Bay.

She has been awarded for her contribution to the advancement of women and human rights issues, in particular, human trafficking. She has received a number of awards for her leadership of the profession.[2]

On 5 March 2014 McLeod was appointed to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.[3][4]

On 22 March 2019 McLeod replaced Josh Spiegel as the Labor candidate for the seat of Higgins in the 2019 federal election. The change was made from central party leadership who wanted a higher profile candidate, because of reports that the formerly safe Liberal seat was winnable.[5] At that election, she came closer to taking the seat off the Liberals than any Labor candidate had come before. She managed a swing of six percent to Labor, enough to make this longstanding blue-ribbon Liberal seat marginal against Labor for the first time.

McLeod was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2020 Australia Day Honours for "distinguished service to the law, and to the legal profession, at the national and international level, and to women lawyers."[6]


  1. ^ Who's Who in Australia. ConnectWeb. 2019.
  2. ^ Bullock, Lara. "Women in Law Awards winners revealed". Retrieved 2016-03-07.
  3. ^ "ABA Vice President Fiona McLeod SC given Victorian honours | Australian Bar Association". 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  4. ^ "Law Council of Australia Executive Member Fiona McLeod SC Awarded Victorian Honour". 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  5. ^ Sakkal, Paul (2019-03-21). "Labor dumps Higgins candidate in favour of high-profile lawyer". The Age. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  6. ^ Stehle, Mark (25 January 2020). "Australia Day Honours 2020: Full list of recipients". Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Entertainment Co. Retrieved 25 January 2020.

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