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Ian Robertson AO


Ian is a corporate, commercial, media and regulatory lawyer who advises a wide range of Australian and overseas clients with particular emphasis on the media, entertainment and technology industries.

Ian joined Holding Redlich in Melbourne as a lawyer in 1989 and was appointed as a partner in 1990. In 1994 he relocated to Sydney to establish the firm’s Sydney office and he was the Managing Partner of the Sydney office until 1 July 2015 when he became National Managing Partner.

He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia as a leading lawyer in the categories of Corporate Law and Entertainment Law since 2011 and he is recognised as a Leading Technology, Media and Telecommunications Lawyer in Doyle’s Guide.

On 26 January 2018, Ian was appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the arts, particularly the Australian film industry and screen production sector, and to the law.


Ian's experience includes:

  • public policy, public sector governance, and regulatory issues including as the Chair of a Victorian Government statutory agency (Film Victoria), Deputy Chair of two Commonwealth Government statutory agencies (Screen Australia and Film Australia) and a board member of an Australian Government regulator (the Australian Broadcasting Authority, including jointly leading the radio “cash for comment” inquiry)
  • extensive broadcasting regulatory experience including serving for seven years on the Board of the predecessor agency to the ACMA, the Australian Broadcasting Authority
  • acted for the media group Southern Cross Austereo in respect of all legal and regulatory aspects arising from a prank call made by Sydney radio station 2Day FM to a London hospital, including proceedings before the Full High Court
  • advising advertising agencies on all aspects of their activities including ensuring that advertising campaigns comply with all applicable laws, regulations and industry codes
  • mergers and acquisitions in the Australian media industry
  • all aspects of the development, financing, production, co-production and distribution of film and television projects, including large budget motion pictures, for Australian and international clients.


  • Film Victoria – President of the Board (2011 to 2020)
  • Beyond International Limited – Director (2005 to date)
  • Screen Australia – Deputy Chair (2008 to 2013)
  • Ausfilm International Inc. – Director (2001 to 2009) and Chair (2003 to 2007)
  • Australian Broadcasting Authority – Member (1997 – 2004)
  • Cinemedia Corporation (now called Film Victoria) – Board Member (1998 – 2000)
  • Film Australia Limited – Director (1991 – 1997) and Deputy Chair (1996 – 1997)
  • Melbourne Parks and Waterways – Director (1994 – 1996)
  • Camberwell Grammar School – Member of Council (1991 – 1994)
  • Next Wave Festival – Board of Management (1989 – 1993)


14 April 2021 - Knowledge

The importance of clearly distinguishable #advertising on social media

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

In the first case found to breach the tightened rules on distinguishable advertising, Ad Standards upheld a complaint that an influencer did not clearly disclose a partnership with a clothing brand.

23 September 2020 - Knowledge

Ad Standards upholds first complaint under body image rule

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

A Calvin Klein ad was recently found to breach the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics for advertising that promotes an unrealistic body image.

26 August 2020 - Knowledge

Advertising in the time of COVID-19 – how to avoid breaching community standards on health and safety

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications, #COVID-19

Ad Standards has recently determined that advertisements showing conduct contravening COVID-19 health and safety orders will likely breach the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics.

05 August 2020 - Knowledge

Hitting it out of the park: The ACCC’s draft News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

The ACCC’s newly released proposed Mandatory Bargaining Code seeks to address concerns that Google and Facebook do not adequately compensate Australia’s traditional media companies for use of their content and the implications that this has for public interest journalism in Australia.

21 July 2020 - Knowledge

Australia is ready when you are Mr DeMille

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Last week, the Australian Government announced a $400 million top-up to the Location Offset which means that eligible large budget international films and television projects which shoot in Australia will be able to receive a rebate of approximately 30 per cent of their Australian production expenditure.

15 July 2020 - Knowledge

Advertising & Marketing Law: The vital importance of clearing pre-existing material (part 1)

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

The use of celebrities, brands and other third party content in advertising is common, but not without risk. If you don’t take steps to properly clear and permission the material you use, you may be on the receiving end of expensive legal proceedings.

16 June 2020 - Knowledge

Advertising agencies and the law: Liability for the content of advertisements (part 4)

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

In the last of our four-part series, we examine the liability for the content created by advertising agencies and why prudent advertisers should ensure they ultimately vet the content created for them by others prior to it being published.

10 June 2020 - Knowledge

Advertising agencies and the law: Who owns the intellectual property developed by an advertising agency? (part 3)

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

In the third part of our series, we examine some of the issues that can arise when developing creative materials as part of an agency-client relationship, and answer the all-important question of who owns the intellectual property in these materials.

02 June 2020 - Knowledge

Advertising agencies and the law: Essential terms in an advertising contract (part 2)

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

In the second of our four-part series, we look at some essential contractual terms that should be included to govern the unique relationship between an agency and its client.

26 May 2020 - Knowledge

Advertising agencies and the law: Determining the relationship between agency and client (part 1)

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

The nature of the relationship between an advertising agency and its client is not clear-cut. This is particularly so when the relationship between the parties, and the key issues at play, are not adequately set out in a contract or there is no contract in writing at all.

15 April 2020 - Knowledge

Ad Standards reiterates the importance of advertisements complying with community standards on health and safety

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

A recent decision by the Ad Standards Community Panel confirms that even the smallest detail in an advertisement is important when considering compliance with prevailing community standards on health and safety.

26 February 2020 - Knowledge

Further regulation will harm Australian broadcast news

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

The Australian Communications and Media Authority recently announced that it is inquiring into impartiality and commercial influence in Australian commercial free and pay broadcast news and current affairs.

22 January 2020 - Knowledge

ACMA targets broadcast news and current affairs

#Technology, Media & Telecommunications

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced that it is inquiring into impartiality and commercial influence in commercial and subscription broadcast news and current affairs.

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