Stephen Cavanagh

Stephen has extensive experience in assisting clients with their legal and regulatory obligations under banking and financial services laws, including in relation to consumer credit, privacy, anti-money laundering, payment systems, unfair terms and banking system regulation and in their dealing with regulators including ASIC, APRA, RBA and AUSTRAC.

Stephen acts for a range of financial service providers advising generally on the laws relating to the creation, marketing, delivery and administration of retail financial products and services. He has a wealth of knowledge in drafting documents for innovative products, advising in connection with the acquisition and disposal of regulated businesses and advising in respect of the resolution of compliance breaches. He is a creative thinker who strives for simple solutions to complex regulatory issues.

Stephen has practiced both as a barrister and solicitor and, for a period, was an Associate Professor at Law at the University of NSW teaching in the contract, consumer and commercial law fields. He was the Chair of the Commercial Tribunal of NSW (1990-1996), which had jurisdiction in respect of credit legislation, was the consultant to the Australian Financial Systems Inquiry (Wallis Inquiry) for consumer credit matters and, recently, he was a member of the Panel for the Review of Small Amount Credit Contract Laws. Stephen has published a number of books including “Product Liability in Australia” (1983) and “Consumer Credit Law in Australia” (1988).

Stephen is recognised as a leading lawyer by Banking-Asia Law Profiles (2007) and Bank Regulatory IFLR 1000 (2007). Stephen has been named in Best Lawyers™ Australia for Banking & Finance Law and Regulatory Practice.


Stephen’s recent experience includes:

  • Major Australian banks: Advising on and drafting agreements in respect of banking services including in relation to acquiring switching and clearing services;
  • Specialist Credit Card Institution (SCCI): Assisting an SCCI to obtain a full ADI authority;
  • Major Australian Bank: Assisting with re-documentation of electronic banking terms and conditions;
  • Banks: Advising banks on compliance with small business unfair contract terms laws; and
  • Australian financial institution: Advising on new unregulated lease products and an online process for contract completion.

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