Chris works in various jurisdictions for insurers, assisting with claims arising out of product liability, professional indemnity, industrial special risks and contract works policies. He has particular expertise in building & construction claims and complex indemnity disputes.
His preferred approach to claims is to be as practical and efficient as possible. He has a sophisticated understanding of complex legal issues, and gives clear advice. He excels as an advocate for his clients at mediations and appearances.
Chris often handles especially tricky or important claims for insurers, and is energised by the need for problem solving and creativity in that type of work.
Chris is a technology ‘super-user’; he previously worked in a software company and builds PCs for friends and family. Chris leverages this to his advantage in legal practice: he uses technology to stay organised (to exceed the agreed service timeframes and progress claims) and efficient (to minimise legal costs).
- Providing indemnity advice and acting as defence counsel in numerous claims for damage and consequential loss arising out of building work, including alleged defects in workmanship or design, damage to neighbouring properties and damage to underground services.
- Acting for insurers and insureds across many property damage claims, both liability and recovery, including for damage caused by defective products and services, accidental damage, water and sewage overflow, fuel leakage, mould, fire, chemical drift/escape and termites.
- Advising and acting for insurers in complex indemnity disputes, including claims on liability and professional indemnity policies, industrial special risks policies and various types of first-party cover.
Some of Chris’ recent work includes:
- Advising multiple insurers about COVID-19 coverage issues arising out of business interruption, landlord and other first-party policies.
- Successfully defending a $1 million claim in the Supreme Court of Victoria against an insured contractor for damage to an expensive pharmaceutical robot being moved by crane. The claim was resolved during trial, after the Court expressed agreement with our interpretation of the insured’s contractual obligations.
- Successfully pursuing a $2 million recovery in the Supreme Court of Victoria for a subrogated claim for fire damage, based on the proper construction of the relevant Australian Consumer Law provisions.
- Advising underwriters about proposed amendments to standard policy wording, including in light of the ACL unfair contractual terms regime, as well as changes to exclusions used in construction liability policies.
- Obtaining judgment for an insured defendant in the County Court of Victoria. The claim involved the supply of building materials which were allegedly defective. The proceeding against the insured supplier was successfully defended based on our construction of the warranties implied under the Goods Act 1958 (Vic). Our client recovered legal costs.
- Resolving Supreme Court of Victoria proceedings against an insured plumber for a broken water main which caused millions of dollars of business interruption and property damage, ultimately reducing our insurer client’s exposure by over $15 million.
Awards and recognition
Best Lawyers in Australia 2023 & 2024Recognised – Insurance Law ('Ones to Watch')
Insurance | 24 Aug 2023
The Court of Appeal has clarified what it means for VCAT to ‘refer’ a proceeding to a Court, which should release the brakes on many existing claims.