Matthew Needham


Qualifications: LLB, LLM, BA, GradDipLegalPrac


Matthew has over 18 years experience in insurance litigation and specialises in defending state statutory class and common law claims arising in the challenging Australian Capital Territory jurisdiction. He regularly assists insurers and self-insurers to liaise with the ACT regulator on issues concerning the ACT scheme.

Matthew is highly experienced in the defence of state statutory classes litigation and uses his knowledge to assist clients with strategic claims management in order to achieve streamlined and commercial outcomes. He regularly appears in the ACT Magistrates Court, ACT Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Matthew is also highly experienced in worker to worker claims on workers' compensation recoveries in construction site matters. He specialises in complex personal injuries litigation involving employers, head contractors and multiple subcontractors.

Matthew works with national insurers, self-insurers and boutique insurers operating within the ACT underwritten scheme.

Matthew has been recognised in The Best Lawyers in Australia in Litigation every year since 2019. He is also recognised as a preeminent workers' compensation lawyer in Doyle's Guide 2020. 


  • Successfully defended a complex stress claim on behalf of a major national banking institution by utilising the ‘reasonable action’ exclusion in a lengthy and involved hearing with multiple witnesses.
  • Ran and won the leading ACT appeal case on recess claims – White v Institution of Surveyors Australia Incorporated [2004] ACTSC 61.
  • Recognised amongst his clients as an authority on ACT cross-border provisions, culminating in the leading ACT Appeal authority on the cross-border test – Avon Products Pty Ltd v Falls [2010] ACTCA 21.
  • Successfully defended the leading case on “volunteers” under the ACT workers compensation legislation – Robert Thompson v The Canberra Raiders Pty Ltd (unreported, ACT Magistrates Court, Magistrate Campbell, 16 February 2006).
  • As a member of the Civil Litigation Committee of the ACT Law Society, Matthew keeps immediately updated with all developments and reforms in the challenging ACT personal injuries environment.
  • Successfully defended common law proceedings commenced by a prominent Canberra plaintiff personal injuries firm, involving an employee who fell off a stepladder at a veterinary surgery and subsequently sued her employer for negligence.

Awards and recognition

Best Lawyers in Australia 2024
Recognised – Litigation and Insurance Law
Best Lawyers in Australia 2019-2023
Recognised – Litigation
Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2020-2023
Leading ACT Workers Compensation Lawyers – Defendant

Latest thinking

Insurance | 4 Apr 2022

Breach of statutory duty – is contributory negligence dead?

Caselaw in the ACT over recent years has developed in relation to breach of statutory duty in the workplace. We examine the developments and what they mean for you.