Bachelor of Arts (University of NSW), 1976
Bachelor of Laws (University of NSW), 1978
Winner of Gustav and Emma Bondy Prize for Jurisprudence (University of Sydney, 1981)
Master of Laws (University of Sydney), 1986
Master of Dispute Resolution (University of Technology, Sydney), 2015
Background & Experience
Admitted as a Solicitor, July, 1979
Active in the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the 1970s and the 1980s
Late 1980s and early 1990s , campaigner for post-Tienanmen refugee rights
Member of Equal Opportunity Tribunal of New South Wales from 1984 to 1987, and from 1982 to 1983, of the Race Relations Consultation to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board
Journalist and Columnist (Author of weekly columns, “Levitt’s Lore” and “Life According to Levitt”, published in Eastern Suburbs Messenger and City of Sydney Times, between 1997 and 2004)
2006, Founding Director, Black & White Justice Foundation Limited (formerly Errol Wyles Justice Foundation Limited);
Mediator and Negotiator - Successfully completing “Mediating Disputes”’ and ‘Dealing with Difficult Conversations”, Harvard Law School, (Program on Negotiation), June, 2012 (Boston, MA, USA)
Stewart has had wide international legal experience, strategising and managing litigation in the US, South Africa and PNG.
During his long career, particularly as a Class Action lawyer, Stewart Levitt has come to act for thousands of people across the continent, with whom he has developed strongly positive personal relationships. Because he enjoys the fight and is an eloquent and outspoken advocate for his clients and their causes, Stewart has been known to upset some people and certain vested interests. As Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you stood up for something, sometime in your life”. Tenacious as ever, Stewart subscribes to Abraham Lincoln’s byword, “Courage is the greatest virtue”.
He is known as one of Australia’s leading practitioners in securities class actions and banking/finance and insolvency litigation, having instigated and conducted the Storm Financial litigation against major banks. He is not only an industry leader but a prominent public commentator and person of influence, having effectively campaigned for policy reforms, as the author of comprehensive submissions to Federal parliamentary enquiries on institutional and regulatory failures during the GFC (2009), and on the role of ASIC (2013)
Acting for company directors and private businessmen, in board, partnership and joint venture disputes, drafting complex contracts focused on the mining industry, and frequently appearing in criminal and commercial courts, Stewart is not only a versatile lawyer but also a tenacious and skilful litigator, with exceptional tactical and advocacy skills.
He has appeared both with and without Counsel in the High Court of Australia and has acted as agent for firms in Israel and Asia and briefly, as speechwriter for a serving President of the Republic of Nauru.
Stewart has acted as legal counsel for several European consular legations in Sydney. He has also written speeches for significant Australian and foreign politicians and media releases for significant individuals and corporations.
In June 2012, he successfully completed the Harvard Law School ‘Program on Negotiation’ courses in “Mediation of Disputes” and “Advanced Negotiation – Dealing with Difficult Conversations” and is available as a mediator, as an ADR practitioner (bypassing or settling litigation) and as a collaborative lawyer. (If you want to use another lawyer to litigate, he is prepared to provide parallel representation to negotiate on your behalf with your opponents.) In 2013, he completed the LEADR Course on Mediation and in 2015, he was awarded the degree of Master of Dispute Resolution by UTS (Syd).
Stewart represented indigenous leader, Lex Wotton, at his trial in connection with the 2004 Palm Island Riot and on Wotton’s challenge to the constitutionality of Queensland Corrective Services legislation in the High Court, as well as currently, in Class Action Litigation against the State of Queensland.
Stewart has successfully undertaken Land & Environment Court Appeals and Human Rights cases, and has acted in many pro bono matters, particularly for indigenous people seeking justice from the criminal law, in northern Australia.
Stewart was the instigator of, and is the chief spokesman for, the Black and White Justice Foundation Limited (formerly, the Errol Wyles Justice Foundation Limited). He has consulted to film-makers on the production of documentaries on social justice issues close to his heart.