Daniel Moulis

Partner Director
Practice areas
Commercial property
Competition and regulatory
Corporate and commercial law
Dispute resolution
International trade
Public and administrative law
Agribusiness and viticulture
China business
Energy and infrastructure
Government
Land investment and development
Manufacturing and supply chain
Sport and events

Daniel Moulis is the founder and chairperson of Moulis Legal.

Daniel is recognised internationally as an expert in advising and representing clients on cross-border matters, international contracts and transaction structuring, and in major projects. Clients rely on his deep knowledge and experience to introduce clarity and order to difficult challenges and in complex transactions, to help them achieve the best outcomes. He is well-regarded world-wide for his high-level involvement in the study and practice of international trade law throughout his 35 year career.

Internationally, Daniel has served clients in industries encompassing agriculture, building products, chemicals, energy, food processing, footwear, ICT, medical, mining, paper, steel and consumer goods. He has deep expertise in World Trade Organisation trade rules and disciplines, free trade agreements, and international dispute resolution. He has been particularly active in the fields of anti-dumping, countervailing, safeguard measures, customs matters, country of origin, export controls, quarantine and intellectual property rights.

Daniel is also well-known for his representation of clients in their major investments and projects in Canberra and nationally, in many cases with foreign participation. He was Australian trade counsel for the US corporation that undertook the historic Maralinga nuclear test site clean-up. He has worked on complex property transactions for sovereign funds, national property owners, institutional investors, national tenants, developers with triple-A pre-commitments and solar project developers. He has advised on the development of Canberra’s major town centres, on construction and land usage for the Capital Metro Light Rail, and on renewable energy projects both within and outside the Australian Capital Territory.

Daniel also handles dispute resolution in his fields of practice. He has argued cases before many Federal administrative and adjudicative bodies in Australia, including the Federal Court, and has directed proceedings in the European Court of Justice. He has been called upon by the World Trade Organisation as a Dispute Settlement Body panellist on six occasions, and is regularly acknowledged to be amongst the world’s leading international trade lawyers. He is a listed arbitrator under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU, and under the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Southern Africa Development Community.

Daniel is a former Chair of the Trade and Customs Law Committee of the International Bar Association Section on Business Law, and has lectured for the International Development Law Organisation. His past board appointments have included directorships of The Sixth Australian Masters Games, the Johnny Warren Football Foundation and Football Federation Australia.

Knowledge pieces by Daniel Moulis
Agility and innovation needed to navigate fractured global trading system

Moulis Legal’s Alistair Bridges, author of the Australia instalment in Chambers International Trade 2021 Global Practice Guide, says that recent trade tensions are symptomatic of Australia’s uncomfortable position in a fracturing global trade system.

Moulis Legal’s Alistair Bridges stars in trade law rankings

Lawyer ranking agency Legal Media has recognised Moulis Legal Senior Associate Alistair Bridges as a “Rising Star” in the International Trade Law category in the 2020 Rising Stars edition of its Expert Guides publication, the only Australian lawyer to receive this award.

WTO members obliged to find new ways to resolve disputes

Moulis Legal partner director Daniel Moulis has concluded his presentation to the SAWTR/FICCI Annual Conference on International Trade here in New Delhi by saying:

… if the GATT and WTO Agreements are not suited to present attitudes, trading partners have an obligation of honesty and compromise to find new ways to regulate and new ways to resolve their disputes.

Brazilian seminar hears from Daniel Moulis on trade’s new areas

Moulis Legal’s Principal Partner, Daniel Moulis, has told the 4th CNI e IBRAC Seminar on International Trade that Australia’s bilateral trade agreement strategy has been “to go after our biggest trade partners and expand the trade even further”. He contrasted this with Brazil’s strong reliance on the WTO and Mercosur, and the fact that Brazil has no comprehensive bilateral deals in force with any of its top 15 two-way trade in goods partners.

Seminar participants critical of Canberra’s mixed-use property framework

Participants at Moulis Legal’s recent Property Business breakfast seminar were united in their concern and criticism of the present state of the law and administration of mixed-use development in Canberra. Regrettably the title of our event, Canberra’s mixed use development laws – uncool in the capital, matched its verdict.

Business breakfast – Canberra’s mixed use development laws

Join Moulis Legal and a panel of key industry experts for a unique insight into the opportunities and actions for strata reform in the ACT at a breakfast event on 17 May 2016.

Moulis Legal teams up with Thomson Reuters on international trade advice

Respected law editor Thomson Reuters has published a Moulis Legal-authored guide on international trade and commercial transactions in Australia as part of its International Trade and Commercial Transactions Global Guide.

Moulis Legal celebrates 10 years

On Thursday 29 October, Moulis Legal gathered at the Hotel Kurrajong in Canberra with valued clients, friends and colleagues to celebrate a decade of confidence and success.

Property Council of Australia – ACT Division Lunch

Moulis Legal is proud to partner with the Property Council’s ACT Division to deliver the upcoming Division Lunch on “Property Investment from China“.

Daniel Moulis addresses Singapore export market briefing

Principal partner at Moulis Legal, Daniel Moulis, told attendees at the Export Council of Australia’s ‘Finding your international competitiveness in Singapore’ market briefing that the importance of Singapore as either a “spoke” or a “hub” for Australian exporters was unquestionable.

Moulis Legal at ACBC Export Forum 2015

Daniel Moulis highlighted the growing familiarity of China as a place for Australians to do business in his address to the ACBC Export Forum at Sofitel Sydney on 15 July 2015. At the same time, he pointed out that it would be a mistake to assume too much, and that gaining a full understanding of both the legal niceties of the deal and your prospective business partners was of critical importance.

Moulis Legal announces the opening of its Brisbane office

Moulis Legal has opened an office in Brisbane, bringing its recognised commercial+international brand of legal advice to Queensland.

Chambers Global recognises Daniel Moulis as the leading Australian trade lawyer

Daniel Moulis has been recognised by Chambers Global 2007 as the leading individual for WTO/International Trade in Australia. Chambers Global’s rankings are based on in-depth interviews with corporate counsel and with other individuals responsible for legal service purchasing in client corporations. 2007 was a very active year for us in trade advisory work. Consistent with Chambers Global’s observation that [a]s the practice of international law evolves, the precise location of individual lawyers becomes less relevant, the domicile of our clients and their matters were in many cases external to Australia, with Moulis Legal being appointed as lead counsel for regulatory and commercial matters affecting our clients’ interests in countries such as Japan, China, the United States and Brazil.

A.C.T LAW ft. HYDROGEN – Canberra hydrogen report published

The Australian Capital Territory Government has published our review of gas laws and legal frameworks for Canberra’s uptake of hydrogen energy.

Defence bid to control uncontrolled technology fails, for now

3D printers, memory devices – you would be excused for thinking that these were pretty standard products these days. But this is not necessarily the case, as the continuing debate about the dividing line between “benign” and “malign” goods, and the people who trade in them, tell us.  The concern of governments around the world extends further, to any new technology that is “uncontrolled” in cross-border trade.

Fridges to phones – communicating consumer rights under the ACL

The ACCC’s spotlight on businesses who make false or misleading representations to consumers about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”) continues with two more recent wins before the Courts. 

Government to give itself new anti-dumping price fixing power

The ability of foreign exporters and local importers to compete in Australian markets will be further compromised if and when new anti-dumping “tilts” in favour of local producers become law. 

Land resumption in Queensland – profit from loss

There are several major infrastructure projects on the cards for Queensland. High priority State projects include the Cross River Rail and the Ipswich Motorway upgrades – both on the Australian Government’s recently revised Infrastructure Priority List. 

Tell me what happened – data breach disclosure now mandatory

Australian persons – whether corporate or individual – and Australian government agencies will soon have to shoulder new responsibilities for a data breach occurring anywhere in the world. On 13 February the Government passed new laws said to constitute “some of the most stringent disclosure laws in the world”.1

Canberra planning laws are bad news for Airbnb

The Supreme Court of Victoria has held that an Airbnb arrangement is a lease. On that basis the activity of the tenants in letting out their apartment was found to be in breach of a prohibition in their lease against subletting. 

Property sale and leaseback – have your cake and eat it too

Property sale and leaseback, if structured and implemented properly, offers commercial benefits to seller/tenants and buyer/landlords alike. Sellers can release value while retaining use and possession of property. Buyers can secure a long-term and consistent income stream with the upside of property appreciation and future development options.

Canberra’s mixed use development laws – uncool in the capital

Canberra’s ambition to be the “coolest little capital” depends on bringing variety and vibrancy into its urban environments. Mixed use developments are on the up. Residential owners are being injected into adaptively re-used commercial precincts, and vice versa. 

Heritage approvals get modernised in Canberra

Owners and developers of heritage-listed properties in the Australian Capital Territory can now undertake minor development under a very much streamlined approval process. Changes to procedures introduced by the ACT Government in September, now in effect, allow owners of heritage sites to pursue minor developments without a development application (“DA”) if, in the opinion of the ACT Heritage Council, the development proposal is of no significance to the existing heritage values of the site. 

ChAFTA and what it means for Canberra

If Canberra wants a slice of the money expected to flow from the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (“ChAFTA”) it will have to ramp up its efforts to sell its attractiveness as a place to invest, especially in the property market.

Pretty vacant land and universities – Canberra land less “freehold” than before

The ACT has a Crown leasing system of land ownership. It has always had unique features, but the ACT Government has gone to great lengths to create and emphasise similarities with land title and land dealings in freehold jurisdictions.

Before you hit “send” – does your email require an export licence?

Enforcement of Australia’s key military and dual-use goods export legislation – the Defence Trade Controls Act 2012 (“DTCA”) – has been pushed back by another year, until 2 April 2016. Businesses should take advantage of this delay to get acquainted with Australia’s new, US-inspired export control system, to ensure that they do not run afoul of these new, broad-reaching licensing requirements.

Lease incentives – protecting your investment

Incentives to enter into leases are consistently offered by landlords trying to secure tenants in today’s commercial property markets. The only questions are how much of an incentive the landlord will provide the tenant, and in what form, and what the landlord will get in return. 

Senate launches inquiry into non-conforming building products

This week the Australian Senate has referred an inquiry into non-conforming building products to the Senate Economics References Committee. The committee’s report is due on 12 October 2015. The terms of reference require the committee to investigate the economic impact of non-conforming products, and their impact on safety, costs and quality of construction.

Urban encroachment – will Canberra’s wild west stay wild?

The proposal by the Federal Government to relinquish planning control over presently undeveloped land to the west of Canberra has sparked strong debate. The land – on both sides of the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee River corridors, and in Namadgi National Park and the western Tuggeranong Valley – is presently locked away from development because of National Capital Authority (“NCA”) controls. 

Opposing land development in Canberra – light rail to the High Court

Last year, the ACT Government controversially sought to prevent objections being made by third parties against major projects – for example, the major “light rail” project. This was to be done by defining areas as “special precinct[s]”. The proposal “provoked significant public opposition… and sparked a bitter debate in the ACT Assembly”,[1] forcing the government to back down.

Sanctions – don’t go “out of bounds” in your international dealings

In June 2014 BNP Paribas – the fourth largest bank in the world – agreed to pay the US Government USD8.9 billion (this is not a misprint) as part of a plea agreement for conspiracy to violate US sanctions laws. And don’t be too impressed by the magnitude of that settlement, because the penalties that could have been imposed against BNP had it contested the charges would have been much more than that.

ACT Government announces property industry stimulus package

The ACT Government has announced a welcome “stimulus package” for the Canberra property and construction sector.

Can private development rules trump public planning policies?

Developers often want to “lock-in” the value of the amenity and design of a new development, such as in a commercial precinct or new suburb. Similarly, residents of a street or suburb often wish they had some way of controlling what their neighbours do on surrounding blocks of land.

Australia’s new government – are foreign food investment fears unfounded?

Australia is “under new management”. The Liberal National Party (“the Coalition”) was elected as our new Government on 7 September 2013. In the lead up to the election the Coalition pledged to stimulate the agribusiness sector, with the aim of making Australia the “food bowl” of Asia.

The A.C.T.’s big new property tax

In many ways, the 2012 ACT property law year reflected the difficult market conditions which continue to face land development and investment all over Australia.

So you own property in the ACT – lessons for 2013

In many ways, the 2012 ACT property law year reflected the difficult market conditions which continue to face land development and investment all over Australia.

Can we fit one solar system in Australia… please?

Moulis Legal, based in Canberra, acts for a number of international solar PV industry manufacturers and distributors, and national installers, in importation, business establishment, regulatory affairs, consumer protection, commercial contracting and licensing.

Australia-China trade deal – prospects and pitfalls

In recent announcements, the Australian and Chinese Governments have suggested that they will re-energise their free trade agreement (“FTA”) negotiations. New enthusiasm for this initiative will be welcomed by traders and investors. 

Changes to environmental impact study requirements in the ACT

According to the 2010 Scorecard of Red Tape Reform released by the Australian Business Council, the Australian Capital Territory (“ACT”) is the worst jurisdiction in Australia for “red tape” in business regulation. 

Export regulation – the WTO’s blind spot?

The Members who have negotiated the GATT and the WTO Agreements have to date focussed on the self-interest of their own producers to sell “stuff” to customers in the territories of other Members. 

Property development in Canberra – “live, work and play” gets serious

The object of Canberra’s Territory Plan is to ensure that planning and development provide the people of the ACT with an attractive, safe and efficient environment in which to live, work and play. 

Streamlining movement of goods is the goal of draft WTO trade facilitation treaty

Streamlining and expediting the movement of goods across international borders through simplified, transparent customs procedures is essential to boost trade and economic growth. This is called “trade facilitation”. WTO negotiations on trade facilitation began in July 2004, on the basis of the mandate set out in the so-called “July Package”.

Civilian technology with military uses – safely traverse the export minefield

In an increasingly integrated world trading environment, globalisation and the threat of terrorism have brought security concerns to the fore. New regulations dealing with everything from container inspection requirements to “trading with the enemy” restrictions are increasingly common. 

European Court improves “market economy status” prospects for Chinese exporters

The Court of First Instance at Luxembourg has handed down a decision that will further liberalise the treatment of Chinese exporters accused of the practice of selling products at low prices to European customers (“dumping”).

Trade protection set for shake-up as economic think-tank enters the arena

On 24 March 2009 the Assistant Treasurer, Chris Bowen, and the Home Affairs Minister, Bob Debus, jointly announced that the Government has requested the Productivity Commission, Australia’s highest level economic research and advisory body, to undertake an inquiry into the “effectiveness and impact” of Australia’s anti-dumping and countervailing system.

Property development in Canberra under a Greens-supported Labor government

The two week post-election political stalemate in Canberra has ended with the announcement that the Greens will support the Labor Party’s Jon Stanhope as Chief Minister of the ACT. The Greens have decided not to take up any Ministerial portfolios. 

Better government assistance for SME exporters on the way?

The Mortimer review of export policies and programs, entitled Winning in World Markets (“Mortimer Report”) was released on 1 September 2008. It provides an export blueprint for small to medium enterprises (“SMEs”) that are or might become exporters over the next 5 years, and makes important recommendations about how they can be supported in the future.

GATS: death by complication? Moulis Legal presents on services trade liberalisation at CLA conference

Daniel Moulis participated in the interesting and topical Commercial Practice in a Global Economy conference in Sydney on 1 August 2008, hosted by the Commercial Law Association of Australia in conjunction with the Ross Parsons Centre of Commercial, Corporate and Taxation Law of the University of Sydney.

Refinement, not revolution, in proposed changes to subsidies code

Minor changes which have been proposed to the subsidy disciplines of the WTO Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement recognise that the existing Agreement is fundamentally sound, and reflect a widely held view that the interpretation and observance of the rules is a more important issue than what they say.

When a decision is a fact: new ACT planning laws invite new litigation

It can be difficult to mount a legal challenge against an administrative decision, such as a planning approval. Courts require mistakes in the exercise of a discretion to be significant, so that they can be said to amount to an error of law, before striking down a challenged decision.

Zeroing and anti-circumvention emerge as key points in anti-dumping negotiations

Proposals for new international rules to deal with issues such as the scope of anti-dumping investigations; the controversial question of “zeroing”; anti-circumvention of dumping measures; and how countries must handle investigations, were circulated for comment late last year in the World Trade Organisation (“WTO”).

New competition law makes damages for dumping more likely

Radical last-minute changes to amendments to the Trade Practices Act 1974 (“the Act”) present new risks for foreign companies exporting products to Australia at below cost prices, and significant opportunities for Australian industries facing such “dumping”.

Made in China, ginger, and trading contracts

Toy recalls, poisonous pet food, poor quality compliance and low labour standards have marred the reputation of Chinese products in the international market place. A recently reported Chinese court judgement about rotten ginger highlights the critical importance of sound contract dispute management procedures and prompt action when something “Made in China” is not as the buyer expected.

Contradictions in ACT land development and affordability: the role of the LDA

Housing affordability is a key policy concern of governments. In Canberra, concerns about affordability are not confined to home buyers or tenants. Similar concerns are shared by commercial property developers, land owners and tenants.