Leslie, Catherine

Special Counsel Tax Litigation

Catherine has more than 35 years’ experience in the interpretation and application of Commonwealth tax laws and is an expert in tax dispute resolution processes.

She has acted for the Commissioner of Taxation in a wide range of disputes arising under different taxing regimes (in particular income tax, GST and fringe benefits tax), including many significant High Court and Full Federal Court matters. More recently, these have included the High Court matters, Ausnet Transmission Group Pty Limited v Commissioner of Taxation and BHP Billiton Limited (now BHP Group Limited) v Commissioner of Taxation (income tax) and Commissioner of Taxation v Qantas Airways Ltd and Commissioner of Taxation v MBI Properties Pty Ltd (GST). In addition to conducting complex, major litigation, Catherine provides technical and strategic advice to assist in managing and resolving individual disputes informally and in identifying and addressing issues of broader significance.

In 2009, Catherine received the Graham Hill Award for her contribution to the practice of taxation law. The then Commissioner of Taxation said, ‘the work that Catherine does in ensuring that matters are litigated in a way conducive to the administration of justice underpins a society’s respect for the rights of its citizens and the citizen’s respect for society.’ Catherine was also a finalist in Australian Corporate Lawyers Association’s Government Lawyer of the Year awards in 2015.

Relevant experience

Catherine’s relevant experience includes:

  • conducting numerous tax appeal matters for the ATO in the High Court, Federal Court and Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • acting for the ATO in declaratory proceedings and judicial review matters
  • advising and assisting the ATO in relation to information gathering, objections, alternative dispute resolution processes and settlements
  • acting for Screen Australia on Tribunal proceedings arising under Division 376 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.


Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney, 1979


Finalist in the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association ‘Government Lawyer of the Year’ award, 2015

Graham Hill Annual Award in recognition of her significant contribution to the conduct of tax litigation, 2009