Dr Michelle Sharpe practices primarily in the area of general commercial and regulatory law, specialising in contract, property and consumer protection law and disciplinary hearings. She regularly appears in all jurisdictions, including VCAT, on her own.
Michelle has a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours from the University of Adelaide and a Doctorate from the University of Melbourne. Michelle’s doctoral thesis examined the doctrines of duress, undue influence, unconscionable conduct and statutory unconscionable conduct.
Michelle is highly experienced in matters involving breaches of consumer protection law, having acted for (and against) State and Federal agencies. She has written and contributed to papers and publications on consumer protection – particularly in the area of unconscionable conduct. In 2018 Lexis Nexis will be publishng a book authored by Michelle on unconscionable conduct in Australian commercial and consumer contracts.
Michelle has had 3 readers: Sally Whiteman, Anastasia Smietanka and Christie Jones.
Michelle is the founding member and former chair of the Victorian Bar's Health and Wellbeing Committee. During her 9 years on that committee Michelle helped to establish a wellbeing program which included a 24/7 counselling service for barristers. This program was a finalist for the Australian Psychological Society Health and Wellbeing Award for 2015. Michelle has also given papers and written publications on the subject of mental ill health in the legal profession.
Some recent cases (2016 - 2017) in which Michelle has appeared include:
- The Gold Buying Company Pty Ltd & Ors v Business Licensing Authority  VCAT 1840 - sole counsel for the Business Licensing Authority in successfully resisting application to stay suspension of 3 second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers licences.
- ACCC v Medibank Private Limited  FCA 1006 (currently on appeal) - led by Lachlan Armstrong QC in Federal Court proceedings for ACCC in for misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct in respect of benefits for in-hospital diagnostic services.
- Consumer Affairs Victoria v Melbourne South Eastern Real Estate trading as Barry Plant Mount Waverley - sole counsel for regulator in Federal Court proceedings against a real estate agency for misleading and deceptive conduct in engaging in underquoting of properties.
- Consumer Affairs Victoria v Melbourne South Eastern Real Estate Pty Ltd trading as Hocking Stuart Doncaster & Ors - 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).
- 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.
For Michelle's full CV, click here.
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
Property & Probate
Insurance Law & Professional Negligence Law
Corporations Law & Securities Law
Competition Law & Consumer Law
Building Law & Construction Law
Banking & Finance
Competition Law & Consumer Law
Restraint of Trade
Equity & Trusts
Public Law & Administrative Law
Tax Law & Revenue Law
Technology Law & Media Law
Admitted to the Legal Profession:
12 Jul 2000
Signed Victorian Bar Roll:
21 Nov 2002
BA (juris) LLB (first class hons) PhD
Clerking System Review Working Group
Equality and Diversity Policy Working Group
Legal Aid Working Group