John Kettle


  • +61 7 3233 8962
  • +61 2 8241 5614
  • +61 419 646 379
  • vCard

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin (LL.B first class honours) and Oxford University (BCL), John joined McCullough Robertson in February 2013 following a successful career in Dublin and London.

John now leads McCullough Robertson’s international practice whilst continuing with his commercial and competition law practices.

John has almost 20 years’ experience in major transactional and project work with a focus on competition law, merger control, energy (gas and electricity), utilities, resources, TMT, transport, regulated industries, agribusiness, intellectual property, life sciences and administrative law.

He also has a strong understanding of the government sector with considerable experience in privatization and State transactional matters.

John’s clients include significant corporates, multinationals, private equity, entrepreneurs, government entities and international law firms.

John is a former chair of the International Bar Association’s Public Law Committee, and vice-chair of the Irish Law Society’s ER & International Affairs Committee. 

John sits on several not-for-profit boards in Australia, including the Queensland Futures Institute’s Energy Committee. 

John is also a guest lecturer in competition law at the University of Queensland.

Examples of John’s recent work include:

  • advising Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) on various matters
  • advising AuctionsPlus on various matters
  • advising various Councils on diverse matters
  • advising trade associations on various competition matters
  • advising numerous overseas businesses on establishment in Australia 
  • advising ID Leisure Ventures on its acquisition of Australia’s iconic Hoyts Cinemas and Val Morgan Media from Pacific Equity Partners
  • advising Pool Corporations on its acquisition of Pool Systems Australia
  • advising on the sale of Seabird Aviation to Seeker Aircraft America
  • advising AB Volvo on Australian merger control issues in its acquisition of the off-road hauler business from Terex
  • advising Platform Speciality Products Corp on the Australian aspects of its acquisition of the agrochemical business of Chentura Corp
  • advising Corporate Travel Management on its acquisition of Chamber Travel (UK)
  • advising interests in relation to the backdoor listing of digital BTC on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) via the reverse takeover of Macro Energy Limited
  • advising Ringers Technologies LLC on its acquisitions of EBBE Pty Ltd
  • advising RAE Energy on the Australian aspects of its acquisition of UT Quality Inc.
  • advising numerous food and agribusinesses on supply chain arrangements
  • advising numerous food and agribusinesses on supply chain competition issues and the approach of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and on ACCC investigations
  • advising Archer Daniel Midland on the Australian aspects of the sale of their global cocoa business to Olam International
  • advising UK Symington’s Limited on the sale of their Raguletto, Five Brothers and Chicken Tonight businesses to Simplot
  • advising Australian Agricultural Company Limited (AACo) on general commercial matters
  • advising Whitsunday Regional Council on the corporatisation of the Whitsunday Regional Airport assets (the gateway to the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef), and
  • advising in relation to the regulation of e-cigarettes.

Examples of John’s work in Ireland include:

  • advising the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland energy regulators in drafting the contractual arrangements for the Irish single electricity market which is similar to the National Electricity Market in Australia
  • advising on the establishment of Gaslink, Ireland’s gas pipeline system operator
  • advising Royal Bank of Scotland’s Ulster Bank, Bank of Scotland and Den Danske’s Irish bank, National Irish Bank, on the legality of the Irish Government’s guarantee for Irish banks during the GFC, successfully gaining equivalent treatment for them on competition law grounds
  • advising Kerry Group plc (Ireland’s leading agribusiness) in overturning in the Irish courts the Irish Competition Authority’s decision to veto its acquisition of a competing business. This was a judicial first in Ireland and similar to the Franklin/Metcash case
  • advising the Irish Government in dealing with enforcement proceedings taken by the European Commission relating to alleged breaches of European law in Ireland’s gas and electricity markets
  • advising big pharma on competition, regulatory and joint venture matters
  • advising Ireland’s largest logistics provider on all aspects of its business
  • advising in landmark European Union case to force disclosure of MEP expenses
  • advising Aorcoach, Ireland’s first scheduled private bus company on corporate and commercial issues in breaking down the state-owned transport company’s monopoly
  • advising CityJet on regulatory, competition and corporate issues.


In its Competition/European Law: UK 2012 profile, Chambers UK Law Directory recently commented that: “He acts for clients from heavily regulated industries before both European and Irish competition authorities. Kettle is celebrated for his “fantastic knowledge, practical application to the case" and the way in which he "communicates his points clearly."

John is a Recommended Lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific and listed as a leading lawyer in Energy Law in Best Lawyers 2017.

He likes football and prides himself on the fact that after taking FIFA  to the International Sports Tribunal in Lausanne, Switzerland they changed their player transfer rules.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms     Best Lawyers Award Badge

Click here to download the International brochure.

John Kettle