Doug did Articles with Minter Ellison.   He is a qualified economist and company director and has worked in senior roles for the ACCC.

Doug has a diverse commercial practice.  He accepts briefs to appear and advise in commercial disputes in all jurisdictions, regularly appearing in Mediations, Applications and Hearings.  He also appears in appellate matters.

Doug is an accredited mediator under the NMAS.  He is a highly regarded mediator due to his extensive commercial experience and reputation for cutting through complex legal arguments to the real issues in dispute.  He has a particular interest in farming and agricultural cases of all types (including Estate matters) due to his background as a farm economist, his knowledge of agriculture, water, and ongoing connections with the land.

Doug was appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in December 2018.

In his extensive and busy commercial practice, Doug has recognised specialisations in franchising law, competition, consumer warranty and regulatory law, and agricultural matters.

He acts in franchising matters for both Franchisees and Franchisors and is available to mediate any franchise disputes.

Doug has acted for and against many well-known national franchise groups and is highly regarded for a practical and commercial approach as well as his technical knowledge of and expertise in franchising law.

Doug regularly acts for parties who are investigated or prosecuted by the ACCC and the Director of Consumer Affairs (DCAV) for:

  • anti-competitive conduct including price fixing, cartel conduct and alleged misuse of market power;
  • allegations of misleading conduct; and
  • alleged breaches of statutory warranties.

He negotiates settlements and undertakings with the ACCC and DCAV and designs compliance programs and undertakings as part of settlements.  He is available as an independent compliance program auditor.

Doug appears for clients in government inquiries.

Doug is a past Chairman of South East Water Limited, Chairman of the Victorian Water Industry Association and a Commissioner of the Taxi Services Commission. 

He conducts mediations in corporate disputes, partnership disputes, and advises in relation to governance.

Doug is joint sub-editor of the 'Snapshots' section of the Australia Competition and Consumer Law Journal.

A selection of cases:

  • Reus v Reus [2018] Fam Crt (resolved during trial) – third party loan claim by father of husband in family law proceedings.
  • Tian Ci Australia Pty Ltd v Neilsen and Wells [2017] VCC (27 September 2017) - Application for stay granted pending appeal to Court of Appeal.
  • Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Big Aussie Deals Pty Ltd [2017] (17 August 2017) E12911075 - civil penalty hearing for product safety notice breaches on basis of proposed Orders by consent
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v The Joystick Company Pty Ltd [2017] FCA 397 (2 May 2017) - civil penalty hearing seeking orders by consent for misleading and deceptive advertising of e-cigarettes
  • Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Marlo Woods (Australia) Pty Ltd [2016] (24 June 2016) E13095145 - contested civil penalty hearing for product safety notice breaches where previous contraventions of similar provisions
  • Tickner v The Boat Clinic Pty Ltd (Civil Claims) [2015] VCAT 2062 (4 November 2015) - claim for declarations that money not owing under agreement to repair yacht
  • Francis v Eggleston Mitchell Lawyers Pty Ltd [2014] FCAFC 18 - appeal to Full Court against decision at trial to not annul bankruptcy
  • In the Matter of Fehring Livestock Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) [2012] VSC 326 - dispute about the appointment and fees of an administrator
  • Francis v Eggleston Mitchell Lawyers Pty Ltd (formerly Eggleston Mitchell Lawyers) [2012] HCATrans 232 - summons in original jurisdiction of High Court of Australia
  • Bahonko v Casey City Council [2012] VSCA 310 - enforcement of debt for council rates
  • Stevens v Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria (Occupational and Business Regulation) [2011] VCAT 947 - unlawful fund raising
  • Phillips v Australian Finance and Leasing Limited [2009] VSCA 287
  • French v Queensland Premier Mines Pty Ltd and Ors [2006] VSCA 287 - concerning Torrens title and mortgage obligations

To get in touch with Douglas Shirrefs | or for more information please contact the Clerk on: +61 3 9225 7222 or

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.