Dr Michelle Sharpe practices primarily in the area of general commercial and regulatory law specialising in contract and consumer protection law and disciplinary hearings. She regularly appears in all jurisdictions either led or on her own.
Michelle is the author of Unconscionable Conduct in Australian Commercial and Consumer Contracts published by LexisNexis in August 2018.
Michelle has also published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters in the areas of consumer protection and legal ethics. Recent articles include: "ASIC v Kobelt: a consumer protection blackout?" (2019) 27 Australian Journal of Competition and Consumer Law 283 and “More Than a Feeling: Finding Statutory Unconscionable Conduct” (2019) 27 Australian Journal of Competition and Consumer Law 108.
In November 2018 Michelle was named 'Barrister of the Year' in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.
Michelle has had 3 readers: Sally Whiteman, Anastasia Smietanka and Christie Jones.
Michelle is also a secretary and director of Melbourne City Opera, a not-for-profit organisation (formed in 1997) which produces and promotes Italian opera and rising opera stars.
Some recent cases (2017 - 2019) in which Michelle has appeared include:
- City of Greater Dandenong v I Cook Foods - acted for the food business and director each charged with 48 offences under the Food Act 1984.
- Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation & Financial Services Industry - provided advice to and assisted an industry association in the preparation of written submissions.
- An international commercial arbitration under the UNICTRAL Arbitration Rules in respect of the sale of a large agricultural business (led by Michael Heaton QC)
- Legal Services Commissioner v Sandbach - acting for regulator in disciplinary proceedings against a barrister charged with misconduct for, allegedly, having made allegations of fraud in court without a proper basis
- Consumer Affairs Victoria v Hoskins (Maroondah) Pty Ltd & Peters  FCA 1973 - sole counsel for regulator in Federal Court proceedings against real estate agency for false or misleading statements in underquoting properties and unconscionable conduct in all the circumstances in respect of incentive commission.
- Legal Services Commissioner v Logan  VCAT 375 - sole counsel for regulator in disciplinary proceedings against solicitor found guilty of misconduct for, among other things, acting without instructions.
- ACCC v Medibank Private Limited  FCA 1006 and appeal - led by Lachlan Armstrong QC in Federal Court proceedings against Medibank for mfalse or misleading statements made in respect of cover for in-hospital diagnostic services and unconscionable conduct .
- Consumer Affairs Victoria v Melbourne South Eastern Real Estate trading as Barry Plant Mount Waverley  FCA 1763 - sole counsel for regulator in Federal Court proceedings against a real estate agency for false or misleading statements in underquoting of properties.
- Consumer Affairs Victoria v Melbourne South Eastern Real Estate Pty Ltd trading as Hocking Stuart Doncaster & Ors  FCA 1448 - sole counsel for the regulator in Federal Court proceedings against a real estate agency for misleading and deceptive conduct in engaging in underquoting of properties and against two directors of the agency for being knowingly involved.
- Boral Constructions Material Group Limited v Harman - sole counsel for Boral in County Court claim against a guarantor alleging that the guarantee is unenforceable against her because she was a volunteer and Boral had not explained the terms of the guarantee to her (i.e. wives' equity) - settled in April 2017.
- Legal Services Commissioner v O'Brien  VCAT 1064 - sole counsel for regulator in disciplinary proceedings against a solicitor who signed withdrawals of caveat without instructions. The Tribunal ordered the solicitor to pay a fine of $45,000, together with the Commissioner's costs fixed at $30,000, and a suspension of the solicitor's practicing certificate of 9 months (suspended for 2 years).
- R v Witt  VSC 19 - co-counsel in private prosecution of a solicitor for conetmpt of court
- Body in Balance Chiropractic Pty Ltd v Jambere Pty Ltd & Ors  VCC 1835 - sole counsel for plaintiff in a County Court claim for specific performance of a sale of business contract, alternatively damages.
- Consumer Affairs Victoria v Valentic - led by Neil Clelland QC in VCAT disciplinary proceedings brought by Consumer Affairs Victoria against celebrity estate agent, Frank Valentic, under the Estate Agents Act - matter settled during closing submissions.
- Mornington Shire v 194 Dromana Parade Pty Ltd - sole counsel for defendant (subsidary of Bayland Property Group) in respect of charges that protected vegetation had been unlawfully removed. The defendant pleaded to the charges and made a charitable donantion. No conviction was recorded or penalty imposed.
- All Vet Waste Pty Ltd v Carville & Ors - sole counsel in Federal Court trial for director respondent alleged to have been knowingly involved in company's misleading and deceptive conduct - matter settled shortly after the conclusion of opening submissions for the director.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation. The information referred to above has been supplied by the barrister concerned. Neither Victorian Bar Inc nor the barrister's clerk have independently verified the accuracy or completeness of the information and neither accepts any responsibility in that regard.
PH +61 3 +61 3 9225 8722
Chambers: Room 1401
460 Lonsdale Street
Banking & Finance
Building Law & Construction Law
Competition Law & Consumer Law
Corporations Law & Securities Law
Insurance Law & Professional Negligence Law
Property & Probate
Competition Law & Consumer Law
Restraint of Trade
Equity & Trusts
Wills & Probate
Inquests, Inquiries, Tribunals & Commissions
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
Public Law & Administrative Law
Admitted to the Legal Profession:
12 Jul 2000
Signed Victorian Bar Roll:
21 Nov 2002
BA (juris) LLB (first class hons) PhD
Also Entitled to Practise in
All Australian States and Jurisdictions
Clerking System Review Working Group
Equality and Diversity Policy Working Group
Legal Aid Working Group