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Colin Golvan AM KC - Curriculum Vitae

Colin Golvan AK KCColin Golvan AK KC

Legal Work

Colin Golvan has been a Senior Counsel at the Victorian Bar since 2002. He has appeared as senior counsel in copyright, trade marks, designs and patent cases, as well as in competition and misleading conduct cases in the Federal and High Court of Australia, and in mediations and arbitrations. Details of Federal Court and Full Federal Court cases in which he has appeared are at:

Federal Court

Full Federal Court

Colin holds a Masters of Law degree from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) and Law degrees from Melbourne University. He has taught in the intellectual property field in the Masters of Law program at Melbourne University as a Visiting Fellow. He has lectured on intellectual property subjects throughout Australia and New Zealand. He was admitted to legal practice in 1985, and worked as a solicitor (and senior associate) for Phillips Fox Solicitors for three years prior to signing the Bar Roll in November 1988 (having read with former High Court Justice Susan Crennan).

He has served as chairperson of the board of trustees of the Victorian Bar Indigenous Barristers’ Fund, the Indigenous Lawyers Committee of the Victorian Bar and his Barristers’ clerking list (List G). He is also a former member of the Appeals Board of Football Federation Victoria.

As a lawyer, he has represented many leading corporate and government clients in relation to intellectual property and trade practices issues, and has been selected in the Best Lawyers of Australia, Doyle’s listings in the field of Intellectual Property Law and Litigation, Chambers Legal Guide for Asia Pacific and Legal 500 over the period 2014-2024. In 2023, he was ranked by Best Lawyers of Australia as “Lawyer of the Year” for Intellectual Property in Melbourne. He was also appointed in that year to conduct a Review for the National Gallery of Australia in relation to the attribution of authorship of works of Indigenous art for a major exhibition.


Colin is the author of the legal books “Copyright – Law and Practice” (Federation Press 2007), "An Introduction to Intellectual Property Law" (Federation Press 1992), "Words and Law" (Penguin 1990) and co-author of "Writers and the Law" (Law Book Company 1986), and has contributed to the book “Landmarks in Australian Intellectual Property Law” (Cambridge University Press 2008) and “Across Intellectual Property” (Cambridge University Press 2020).

His latest book “Protecting Indigenous Art – from T-shirts to the Flag” will be published in September 2024 (Melbourne University Publishing).

He was the founding general editor of the monthly Australian Intellectual Property Law Bulletin (published by Prospect Publishing) from 1988 to 1998 and the founding co-editor of the quarterly "Media and Arts Law Review" (published by Law Book Company) from 1992 to 1997.

He is the author of papers on intellectual property subjects published in various legal journals, including the European Intellectual Property Review, as well as in the Australian Book Review and feature articles in the Review section of the Australian Financial Review. In 2015, he was highly commended in the Rogers Legal Writing Award of the Law Institute of Victoria.

He is also author of works of fiction “Theatre Daze” (Allen & Unwin 1990), non-fiction “The Distant Exodus” (ABC Books 1990), plays “Eichmann in Haifa” (Melbourne Theatre Company 1988) and “The Tramp’s Revenge” (Playbox 1985) and TV (for ABC and SBS TV) and radio scripts (for ABC Radio National). He was playwright in residence at the Playbox Theatre in 1983.

He worked as a journalist for the Associated Press, based in Tel Aviv during 1982-3. His articles on Israel and the Middle East were published in leading newspapers throughout the world, including “The Guardian” and “The International Herald Tribune”. In 1976, he was co-editor of Farrago, the Melbourne University student newspaper.

Involvement in Arts Organisations

Colin was the founding chairperson of Viscopy, the national visual arts collecting society, the Victorian Writers’ Centre and Writing Australia Ltd.

He has also been the Chair of the Australian Book Review. He has been on the Boards of St. Martins Youth Theatre Centre, the Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Arts Centre Melbourne Foundation, the Malthouse Theatre and Chair of the Malthouse Foundation, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Museums Victoria (and subsequently for a further term he served as an Independent Member of the Audit and Risk Committee), the Namatjira Legacy Trust, Chair of the Peninsula Summer Music Festival and a member of the judging panel for the Contemporary Masters Music Award at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

In 2019, he was appointed as a Life Member of Museums Victoria.

He has been a patron of Arts Centre Melbourne, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music, the Australian String Quartet, Melbourne Recital Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Book Review, the Adelaide Festival and the Malthouse Theatre.

In 2018, he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).