Tristan receives briefs across a broad variety of civil commercial matters.

This includes:

  • Corporations/Insolvency matters - including claims for breaches of directors duties, insolvent trading claims, and unfair preference claims; conducting public examinations, claims for voidable transactions both on behalf of an against liquidators, bankruptcy related proceedings, including on behalf of the Official Trustee in Bankruptcy.
  • Taxation disputes – in the Federal Court and AAT both on behalf of and against the Commissioner of Taxation, and in the NCAT against the Chief Commissioner of Revenue.
  • Various commercial and equitable applications - including appearing in building and construction disputes, appearing for and against financiers, and appearing in numerous general commercial matters.

Tristan has appeared unled before NSW Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of NSW and Victoria, Federal Court, Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, District Court of NSW, Local Court of NSW, Magistrates Court of Victoria and QLD, the AAT and NCAT. He also is an experienced junior counsel, working collaboratively with a leader.

Tristan places a particular emphasis on attempting to sensibly resolve matters, and actively engages in ADR processes wherever possible to seek the best possible outcome in the most cost-effective way for his clients.

Prior to being called to the bar, Tristan held the position of Principal Lawyer (acting) within the ATO, where he had practised in litigation from 2006 to 2014. In this role he handled complex insolvency, taxation, and debt recovery matters. Tristan also instructed counsel in matters in the High Court in both its original and appellate jurisdiction, as well as making countless appearances across many jurisdictions as solicitor advocate on behalf of the ATO.

Upon leaving the ATO in early 2014, he was engaged as Special Counsel in his family's small practice, Cleary’s Commercial Lawyers, where he was responsible for all litigation. This included Family Law (property orders), minor criminal matters, insurance litigation, and general debt recovery.

Outside of his professional career, Tristan is passionate about skiing, including having spent several seasons at Whistler Blackcomb in Canada working as a ski instructor. He also plays tennis and basketball, and is an avid Manly Warringah Sea Eagles fan.

For further assistance on any queries relating to Tristan's practice, please contact his Clerk, Jo McGoldrick, on (02) 9151 2999 or email


We accept briefs in all areas of commercial practice and in our barristers' other areas of practice. For further information or advice on our barristers and their availability, fees and areas of practice please contact our Front of House team.

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