Kelsey Essex

Senior Associate

Qualifications: LLB (Hons), BA


Kelsey practices in commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, public law and administrative law. Her focus is on delivering efficient and strategic advice for her clients that is innovative, outcome driven and embraces technology.

She specialises in general commercial disputes, acting for public sector and large corporate clients. She has a niche expertise in obtaining expert evidence for technical and complex disputes, regularly working with valuers, engineers and planners. Through her work with the public sector in particular, she has developed deep expertise in statutory interpretation.

Where appropriate, Kelsey works to resolve disputes before proceedings are commenced. Where litigation is necessary, Kelsey manages claims in VCAT, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.

Kelsey is committed to Hall & Wilcox’s Smarter Law mantra, having led the implementation of a project to manage high volume legal transactions across the compulsory acquisitions space.

She is also committed to improving access to justice in the community, recently commencing a secondment through Homeless Law.


  • Defending one of the largest insurance companies in South Africa in the Supreme Court of Victoria from a $100 million professional indemnity claim made by a large construction company. The complex claim arose from the design and construction of a natural gas pipeline in Queensland. The proceeding involved the first ever court approved discovery using Technology Assisted Review, which reduced the plaintiff’s relevant documents from 1.3 million to under 100,000.
  • Acting for a large corporate client in an action for breach of confidence in the Federal Court, after a competitor stole highly sensitive commercial information from a secure member database. Working on very tight deadlines, we engaged a forensic IT specialist and obtained an urgent injunction restraining use of the information by the competitor, and ultimately the deletion of the information.
  • Acting for a defendant superannuation trustee in one of Australia’s first privacy class actions under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
  • Defending a listed company in a fiercely contested application in the Federal Court as part of a broader partnership dispute.
  • Acting for the liquidators of the Pacific Services Group in 35 unfair preference proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Public law
  • Successfully defending a Victorian statutory authority from a $25 million claim in the Supreme Court of Victoria made by a property developer for loss arising from the imposition of a planning reservation on residential land. The claim involves novel questions of law and statutory interpretation, for example, whether a statutory right to compensation under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic) can be assigned. The matter has recently been appealed to the Victorian Court of Appeal.
  • Defending a Victorian council in a claim made by a contractor in relation to a 10-year services contract for waste management in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
  • Acting for various Victorian Government departments and public authorities in respect of complex and large acquisition claims under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic).
  • Advising public sector clients on freedom of information, including the validity (or otherwise) of the scope of a request, the assessment of exemptions, the preparation of the decision and the successful defence of appeals and complaints in respect of FOI decisions.

Professional Membership

  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Victorian Women Lawyers