Matt McDonald


Qualifications: LLB (Hons)


Matt is one of Australia’s leading insurance lawyers. Matt has vast experience and expertise in class actions, mass tort litigation, complex/large loss recoveries and first party coverage disputes. Matt has pioneered a highly innovative model for major event recovery actions. He also has vast experience in complex property and construction liability claims.

Matt is known for being an exacting practitioner. He is appreciated by his clients for his straightforward and cost-effective advice. Responsive and personable, Matt applies the insight of his years of experience across a broad range of legal work for insurers. He has a particular talent for conveying highly complex legal concepts, factual and expert material in an accessible, user-friendly way.

Matt is recommended in the Legal 500 Asia-Pacific in class actions, public and product liability, professional indemnity, property and coverage disputes and in Chambers Asia Pacific for insurance.


  • Providing strategic advice to major insurers in relation to a range of Covid-19 indemnity issues across numerous business lines.
  • Acting on instructions from various insurers in more than 50 VCAT proceedings, with a focus on construction, Water Act and Privacy Act disputes.
  • Acting for three major insurers in the Supreme Court of Victoria against Powercor and its contractor in relation to the 2018 St Patrick’s Day bushfires in South West Victoria, in which he secured highly favourable settlements.
  • Co-leading project teams for two major general insurers to clear a backlog of IDR/EDR matters.
  • Acting for three major insurers in succesfully running the Forcett bushfire litigation to judgment in the Supreme Court of Tasmania. This case made judicial history in Tasmania as the first ever entirely paperless trial. Matt and his team worked closely with the Supreme Court of Tasmania to facilitate this innovation.
  • Successfully defending an $11 million claim against an ISR insurer client for a factory fire which was lodged eight years after the fire and then successfully defending a claim for double insurance made in relation to the same fire.
  • Representing the interest of four major Australian general insurers in the class actions arising out of the devastating Black Saturday fires, through which his clients collectively recovered approximately $250 million.
  • Representing major insurers in the Parkerville Bushfire litigation in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. This highly complex and hard fought litigation has produced not just a successful outcome, but a landmark judgment.

Awards and recognition

Best Lawyers in Australia 2024
Recognised – Litigation
Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific 2020-2023
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022 and 2023
Recommended – Insurance
Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2021-2022
Leading Professional Indemnity Lawyers – Defendant (Victoria)
Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards (2016, 2019, 2020 and 2022)
Finalist, Insurance Partner of the Year

Professional Membership

  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Law Institute of Victoria

Latest thinking

Insurance | 22 Aug 2023

Whose contract works? Everyone’s contract works: determination of the scope of a contract works exclusion

In a recent decision, the Federal Court of Australia considered the vexed question of whose ‘contract works’ are excluded from cover in a general liability policy.