5 November 2015

Insurable Interest – Issue 39

Contents

Ship faced

Gone in 60 seconds

Jump at your own risk

Deep pockets

On the factory floor

Out of step

Don’t be so reckless


Ship faced

The Queensland Court of Appeal has added to the growing body of recent case law on assault cases pursued against venues licensed to serve alcohol.

Tall Ship operated a pleasure cruising business on Moreton Bay whereby it would transport passengers between the mainland and a venue it operated at McLaren’s Landing. The plaintiff’s employer arranged a Tall Ship cruise for their 2006 Christmas party. Mid-morning on 2 December 2006, the ship left the mainland carrying 111 passengers and 10 crew members. In addition to the plaintiff’s group, there was also a group from ‘Malouf Marine’ aboard.

Passengers were served food and alcohol and, when the ship arrived at McLaren’s Landing, members of the Malouf group continued drinking while the plaintiff’s group (accompanied by family members and children) played water-sports and ate lunch.

Mid-afternoon, passengers returned to the ship and, as the plaintiff was about to board, men from the Malouf group were swearing loudly amongst themselves and behaving in a drunken manner. The plaintiff asked the Malouf group to watch their language, following which he was sworn at. After the plaintiff again requested that the men mind their language, he was punched from behind by an unidentified assailant. The plaintiff was left with facial injuries and long-term neurological problems. He sued Tall Ship alleging it was negligent.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court authority of Adeels Palace v Moubarak in which it was said that that an operator of a licensed venue owes a duty to take reasonable care to prevent injury to patrons from the violent, quarrelsome or disorderly conduct of other patrons. However, the Court emphasised that in considering whether the duty had been breached, all of the surrounding circumstances must be taken into account.

The Court held that a group of men swearing in the presence of children did not mean it was foreseeable that the assailant might become violent towards the plaintiff or members of his group. The Court went a step further and said that, even if a crew member had heard the swearing directed at the plaintiff after he had asked them to mind their language, the crew would still not have identified that there was a risk of violence. There was no violent, quarrelsome or threatening behaviour to which the crew were obliged to respond.

The Court rejected submissions by the plaintiff that the Malouf group’s noisy and boisterous behaviour required withdrawal of alcohol services, monitoring of the group or refusing permission for them to re-board the ship. The Court also found that, taking into account all of the relevant circumstances, there was no requirement for Tall Ship to have a designated security presence aboard. The plaintiff’s appeal was dismissed with costs.

Packer v Tall Ship Sailing Cruises Australia Pty Ltd

Courts will not find licensed venues liable for assaults unless the injured person can establish that the licensee ought to have known of facts creating a foreseeable risk of violence and failed to take appropriate precautionary measures.

This article was written by Liam Fowler, Lawyer.


Gone in 60 seconds

There has been some uncertainty about the burden of proof in suspicious or fraudulent insurance claims since McLennan v Insurance Australia Ltd last year. The New South Wales Court of Appeal has now confirmed that, where a claim is made for the theft of a motor vehicle, the onus remains on an insured to prove that the vehicle was stolen.

The insured was the owner of a Ferrari which he alleged was stolen from a suburban street. The insured made a claim under his insurance policy for the agreed value of the vehicle. During the investigation of the claim, the insured made a number of statements to the insurer that were not truthful and on the basis of this the trial judge held that the insured had not discharged his onus of proving that the vehicle had been stolen.

In dismissing the insured’s appeal, the Court of Appeal found that in order for the insured to succeed, he needed to satisfy the Court of the facts necessary to establish the cause of action. There was no onus on the insurer to prove a negative. That is, the insurer did not need to prove that the theft did not occur in order to deny indemnity for the claim. In circumstances where the probability of the vehicle having been stolen was equal to the probability that it was not stolen, the insured’s claim must fail. Accordingly, it was open to the trial judge to find that on the basis of the insured’s dishonest conduct throughout the claim, he had not proven the occurrence of an insured event. To this extent, the Court of Appeal reaffirmed the longstanding principle set out in Hammoud Brothers Pty Ltd v Insurance Australia Limited.

The Court also considered the circumstances in which a claim can be denied on the basis of fraud. In order to make a finding of fraud, it would not have been necessary for the Court to be satisfied that the insured was complicit in the fabricated theft of the vehicle. It would only have been necessary for the Court to find that the insured dishonestly intended to create a false belief in the insurer for the purpose of inducing payment of the claim.

Sgro v Australian Associated Motor Insurers Ltd

Which party bears the burden of proof in an indemnity dispute will depend on the policy wording and the nature of the insured event. Where the insured event is ‘theft,’ the onus remains on an insured to prove that their property was stolen.

This article was written by Liam Campion, Senior Associate


Jump at your own risk

The 24-year-old plaintiff suffered a compression fracture to her spine after jumping from the 10 metre diving platform and landing awkwardly at the Parramatta War Memorial Swimming Centre. She sued Parramatta City Council, as the occupier of the Centre.

The plaintiff’s claim was dismissed on the basis that the risk encountered by her was subject to a risk warning, so that section 5M of the Civil Liability Act 2002 offered a complete defence. The lifeguard’s instruction to ‘fall vertically, feet first into the pool below’ satisfied the Council’s duty to provide instruction to the plaintiff after she had sought guidance. This was in spite of the plaintiff’s claim that the lifeguard had also told her to ‘run and jump’ and her allegation that this was inconsistent with any warning.

The plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s findings and found that the ‘critical instruction’ to fall vertically and enter the water feet first was not revoked by any instruction to run and jump.

In addition, the Court of Appeal found that the warning sign adequately warned of the general nature of the particular risk as it was clearly worded and placed at eye level at the foot of the platform.

A further consideration was that the risk of injury from striking the water surface in an uncontrolled fashion would have been clearly apparent and understood by a reasonable adult in the plaintiff’s position by virtue of the signage and placement of a lifeguard. The risk was therefore ‘obvious’ within the meaning of section 5F of the Act.

Lastly, the Court determined that the activity of jumping into water from a 10 metre platform ‘carried with it a probability of harm that was real and present and the consequences of which included serious injury from the impact with the surface of the water’. The obvious risk which materialised made the activity ‘relevantly dangerous’ and therefore section 5L(1) was satisfied, with the result that the Council was not liable in negligence for the plaintiff’s injury.

Sharp v Parramatta City Council

The importance of supervision and placement of warning signs, clearly worded, cannot be emphasised enough to swimming pool operators. However, the Court of Appeal’s decision firmly categorises the activity of diving or jumping from 10 metre heights into swimming pools as a ‘dangerous recreational activity’ for which liability is excluded.

This article was written by Rachael Arnold, Partner


Deep pockets

The Victorian Court of Appeal recently considered the question of whether a claimant can join a non-contracting insurer to a proceeding. The proceeding was brought by the liquidators of a company against the company’s former directors for insolvent trading.

Two of the directors, who were by this stage personally insolvent, were covered by a professional indemnity policy. They had previously made a claim on the professional indemnity policy, which had been denied by the insurer. Both of the former directors had indicated that they did not intend to challenge the insurer’s denial of indemnity.

The liquidators of the company brought an application to join the insurer to the proceeding as a co-defendant. They sought a declaration that the insurer was liable to indemnify the former directors under the policy in respect of any judgment which the liquidators might obtain against them.

The insurer opposed the joinder application on the basis that the court did not have jurisdiction at the suit of the liquidators to make a declaration in relation to the insurance policy. The policy of insurance was between the insurer and the former directors. The liquidators were not parties to that contract of insurance.

The Court of Appeal rejected the insurer’s argument that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief. The question was instead one of power, and whether granting the declaratory relief sought in the circumstances came within the power of the court.

Whilst the Court of Appeal accepted that as a general proposition only contracting parties have an interest in the contract to which they are parties, they also considered that once an insured becomes insolvent leaving behind an unpaid claimant in respect of whose claim an insurance policy responds, the situation becomes different from an ordinary private contract. The insured no longer has any practical interest in the insurance contract. It is only the claimant that has an interest in the insurance contract.

Having been satisfied that the liquidators had a sound basis for seeking declaratory relief against the insurer, the order joining the insurer to the proceeding was upheld.

The Court of Appeal was clearly of the view that the declaration would not just be an advisory opinion, but would have the practical effect of resolving the issue as between insured and insurer. They were also clearly driven by the desire to ensure all interested parties and claims were dealt with in the one proceeding.

CGU Insurance v Blakeley

This decision provides grounds for an insurer to be joined to a proceeding by a non-party to the insurance contract, in circumstances where the insured is insolvent.

The insurer in this case has sought leave to appeal the decision to the High Court.

This article was written by Melissa Macrae, Special Counsel


On the factory floor

The NSW Court of Appeal considered the liability of a landlord of commercial premises to a person who was injured while working there. The claim against the landlord had been dismissed at trial.

The premises were used as a factory by the injured man’s employer. The injured man gave evidence that during the course of his employment the concrete floor deteriorated, developing cracks and holes. He stepped into one of those holes when alighting from the forklift and injured his ankle.

The employer’s practice had been to fill the cracks/holes, but the fill would itself deteriorate over time. There was no evidence that the floor had any problems when the premises were first let to the employer. There was evidence of a meeting which took place five months before the accident. Notes of the meeting were brief and did not even clearly indicate who was present. The notes included: Floor – forks breaking concrete edging. The Court found that the context of the meeting was the employer’s desire to move to smaller premises and the ‘make good’ works which it would be required to undertake at its cost before leaving.

The Court had regard to the provisions in the NSW Civil Liability Act, which are the same as the corresponding ones in the Victorian Wrongs Act, that a person is not negligent in failing to take precautions against the risk of harm unless the risk was one of which the person knew or ought to have known and the risk was not insignificant and a reasonable person would have taken those precautions. The Court added:

As between an occupier-tenant, on the one hand, and the landlord on the other, of commercial premises, liability for injuries sustained by an entrant onto the premises will primarily rest with the occupier-tenant, because the tenant is generally in possession and has control of the premises and can determine who enters and under what conditions.  However, everything must depend on the particular circumstances of each case.

The Court had regard to the requirements in the lease that the tenant must immediately make good any damage caused by the tenant, and immediately give notice to the landlord of any defect in the premises or of any circumstances likely to occasion injury within the premises. The Court found that the landlord had not been informed about the problems with the concrete floor.

The Court did not allow the injured man to raise at the appeal a new point, namely that the tenant had no obligation to fix the floor because the damage amounted to ‘fair wear and tear’ for which, under the lease, the tenant had no responsibility.

The Court confirmed both the dismissal of the claim and the order that the injured man pay the landlord’s legal costs.

Aldred v Stelcad Pty Ltd.

While landlords of commercial premises owe a duty of care to persons entering the premises, the primary duty of care remains with the tenant-occupier.  The extent of the landlord’s duty may be defined in part by the terms of the lease.

This article was written by Andrew Lyle, Partner


Out of step

The New South Wales Court of Appeal has found in favour of an occupier and an employer after an employee slipped on a wet step.

The worker suffered injuries in the course of his employment when he slipped and fell when stepping up into a demountable hut at the container terminal at Port Botany, NSW. Patrick Stevedores was the occupier of the container terminal and the worker’s employer. FBIS International (FBIS) provided security services to Patrick Stevedores.

The worker submitted that four things contributed to him falling in wet conditions. Firstly, the absence of an awning over the doorway; secondly, the height of the ‘step up’ which he estimated to be 45-50 centimetres (there was a live issue as to the height of the ‘step up’ at the hearing); thirdly, the absence of a grab-rail to assist with his entry into the hut; and finally, the flat metallic covering of the door sill meant that he had to step up to a smooth wet surface. Of significance was the fact that, days after the worker’s accident, an awning and step were added to the hut by Patrick Stevedores.

The trial judge decided that both Patrick Stevedores and FBIS had breached their respective duties of care to the worker and apportioned contribution 40% to FBIS and 60% to Patrick Stevedores. The worker’s own negligence was not found to have contributed to his fall.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal decided that the worker had failed to establish negligence by either Patrick Stevedores or FBIS. The Court of Appeal found that:

  1. The worker had failed to show that the additional risk posed by the step from the ground up into the demountable hut would have prompted a person in the position of Patrick Stevedores to take some precaution.  The Court of Appeal was critical of the plaintiff’s failure to adduce evidence proving the height of the ‘step up’ or its characteristics.
  2. There was no finding that the ‘step up’ was ‘significantly’ higher than normal. The finding was only that it was ‘higher than normal’.
  3. Even if FBIS was held to have conducted an inspection of the demountable hut, the evidence did not sustain a finding that the inspection would have disclosed a risk which would have given rise to an obligation on FBIS to take any precautionary measures.

Patrick Stevedores Operations (No 2) v Hennessy; FBIS International Protective Services (Aust) Pty Ltd v Hennessy

Just because a ‘step up’ is higher than normal does not automatically give rise to a finding of negligence. The onus is on an injured plaintiff to prove that a reasonable person in the position of a defendant would identify the risk and take measures to address it.

This article was written by Terri Hirbod-Bassi, Lawyer


Don’t be so reckless

The Supreme Court of Queensland has considered the meaning of accidental, sudden and unforeseen damage in a Contractors and Plant insurance policy.

The insured was in the business of supplying cranes and a crane operator to third parties. On the day of the relevant events, the crane operator noticed that the ground conditions on which the crane had to travel had deteriorated. In an effort to level the ground, the operator constructed a ‘ramp’ using crushed rubble which he believed would compress as the crane travelled over it. While the operator was driving the crane over the ramp, its boom collapsed, rendering the crane uneconomical to repair. The insured made a claim under its insurance policy.

The policy covered damage to the crane that was accidental, sudden and unforeseen which occurred while the machine was being used in the manner in which it was designed to be used. The insurer denied indemnity on the basis that the crane was being used in contravention of the operating guidelines and in circumstances where the operator was well aware of the inherent risk.

At the trial, the Court made a factual finding that the crane was positioned at an angle of 7 degrees at the time the boom collapsed. The Court rejected evidence from the insured’s expert that the boom collapsed due to a pre-existing structural defect in the welding of the boom. The Court accepted evidence from the insurer’s experts that the cause of the collapse was a structural overload caused by the crane being operated on a 7 degree slope while carrying a 39 tonne load.

In relation to the construction of the policy, the Court considered whether the damage was ‘accidental, sudden and unforeseen.’ It was not alleged that the operator intended to cause the damage to the crane, but the Court found that he did deliberately drive the crane over the ramp. In finding that the damage was not accidental, the Court found that the operator deliberately and recklessly courted a risk of which he was well aware. The Court found that the operator knew the crane had to be operated on level ground, he ignored the warning of a witness that the ramp was too steep and, while driving over the ramp, he would have been aware that the rubble was not crushing as he had planned and that the crane was not being operated on level ground.

It was not controversial that the operating guidelines and the relevant Australian Standard prohibited the crane being operated on an angle of 7 degrees. The Court therefore found that even if the damage had been accidental, sudden and unforeseen, the crane was clearly not being used in the manner for which it was designed and so the insurer was entitled to decline cover.

Finally, the insured sought to rely on an additional benefit that covered damage to the crane caused by accidental overload. The Court agreed with the insurer’s interpretation of the clause that it was limited to accidental physical overload and did not respond to structural overload caused by the crane being operated on a slope.

Matton Developments v CGU

The courts ordinarily impose a very high threshold for reckless acts. However, this case is an example of a court being prepared to find that an insured had willingly courted a known risk.

This article was written by Liam Campion, Senior Associate

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Tony has been the Hall & Wilcox Managing Partner since 2007. He is well recognised in the legal sector and has led the firm through a period of substantial growth and success.

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'"Stand out" Rachael Arnold is recommended for public and product liability claims.' – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017

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Jane has been a practising solicitor for over 20 years specialising in Real Estate law with a focus on leasing in the commercial, retail, industrial, education and government sectors in all Australian jurisdictions...

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Alison has close to 18 years’ experience in a wide-ranging employment practice, advising private sector and public sector clients on all aspects of employment, industrial relations and human resources law, and work health and safety law...

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In the corporate space, Jacqui regularly advises and assists client with mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring, corporate compliance and governance, capital raisings and managed investment schemes.

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Paul has over 20 years' experience in insurance and commercial litigation. In particular his practice focuses on personal injury and property liability claims under common law and statutory schemes as well as marine and transport industry litigation.

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Anthony is a highly regarded tax practitioner with over 20 years’ experience. He has particular expertise in taxation planning and structuring for corporate clients, including advising on capital raisings, business structuring, mergers and acquisitions, and disputes with Federal and state taxation authorities.

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Angela has significant experience in workers’ compensation, product liability and public liability matters...

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Chris Brown is a commercial lawyer with 20 plus years’ experience in corporate transactions and advice.

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Fay has acted for employers for over 17 years across a range of industries including professional services, recruitment, finance, entertainment, FMCG & general manufacturing, sport, health, aged care, community services and local councils focused always on the purpose and imperatives of the organisations she is servicing.

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Liam is an accomplished and determined litigator with an excellent eye for detail and an exceptional track record in obtaining successful outcomes for his insurer clients.

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Drew has over 20 years’ experience as an insurance and commercial litigation lawyer. His area of focus has been the defence of professional negligence claims, directors' and officers' claims and medical malpractice.

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Deborah has extensive experience across a broad range of commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and other corporate transactions...

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With over 25 years of corporate, commercial and regulatory experience, Alison has specialised in advising clients in the health, aged care, disability, life sciences and community sectors...

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Anastasia’s practice focuses on personal injury litigation management and administrative law. Anastasia focuses on achieving quality outcomes for her clients in worker’s compensation matters, including statutory benefits and common law claims under the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Matthew Curll is one of the top ‘go-to’ people for Australian insurance law matters – both coverage and defence...

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Aaron has extensive employment and industrial relations law experience working with clients across a range of industries.

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Mark specialises in the construction, energy and infrastructure sectors...

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Maurice has more than 25 years’ experience delivering legal services for clients in both the private and public sector...

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Graydon acts on behalf of a number of national and overseas clients on large and complex commercial litigation matters and advises on all aspects of dispute resolution...

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Stephanie has over 15 years' experience in representing employers, insurers and self-insured corporations in the management and defence of a range of claims including intentional torts, property damage, pure economic loss and statutory classes of insurance...

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Mark’s practice encompasses both litigious and non-litigious applications of employment and industrial relations law...

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Maree acts for and advises insurers, employers and self-insurers and regularly appears in the District Court and at WorkCover WA...

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Ana’s practice focuses on the litigation of common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to Victorian workers’ compensation legislation...

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Grant has more than 25 years' experience advising on catastrophic and major claims in the areas of CTP and general liability, which often involve complex liability, medical, causation and quantum issues...

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Heather advises on all regulatory, compliance, investment, tax and contractual issues, as well as acting in connection with disputes, regulator actions, product development, fund mergers and restructurings, and other transactions...

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Kylie is a senior practitioner with extensive experience in advising both government and non-government clients across all areas of employment, workplace relations, discrimination and health and safety law...

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Ben has a range of experience in intellectual property, technology, and commercial matters...

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Frank advises his clients on direct taxes, international structuring and taxation, business transactions, corporate restructuring, taxation disputes and the not-for-profit sector...

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Kathryn specialises in resolving disputes, and works collaboratively with her clients to provide the legal and strategic advice that best achieves their preferred outcome...

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John has strong technical expertise in the property funds sector, having advised on real estate portfolio and corporate acquisitions, transactional activity for wholesale and retail unlisted funds and related regulatory, governance and compliance matters.

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Mark has almost 20 years' experience acting for Australian and overseas financial institutions and borrowers in a broad range of finance transactions...

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Oliver is a corporate partner, whose practice focuses on mergers & acquisitions, corporate advisory, divestments, foreign investments and start-up capital raising.

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Zoe is a specialist insurance lawyer who manages complex and varied matters for a number of leading corporate insurers and Lloyd's of London syndicates.

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Wayne is a leading litigation and insolvency expert, with over 20 years' experience, specialising in large and complex commercial disputes in all jurisdictions, including commercial arbitrations.

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Nathan is an experienced insurance litigator with over 18 years' experience advising insurers on workers compensation, CTP and liability claims.

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Terry has over 25 years' insurance litigation experience, with his past 20 years focused predominantly on advising underwriters and self-insurers in the defence of damages claims for personal injuries, property damage and financial loss.

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Stephen is a well-respected commercial litigation lawyer with almost 30 years’ experience. His area of specialisation is in corporate and commercial dispute resolution, with a particular focus on complex debt, consumer law, contract, corporations law, equity, real property and regulatory investigations.

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Stan has been providing legal services to Local Government in NSW since 1996 and practices primarily in the areas of Environment, Local Government and Planning Law, and is a leading trusted adviser to Local Government.

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Adrian has been involved in litigation across a wide range of matters, including corporate and personal insolvency, banking and finance litigation, property and contractual disputes.

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Anne is a leading superannuation and financial services lawyer with deep knowledge and understanding of the superannuation and financial services industry...

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Gavin’s practice focuses on the specialist area of statutory recovery for worker’s compensation claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic)...

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Joe has more than 23 years' experience advising insurers on large and complex claims under CTP and statutory classes of insurance...

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Matt has vast experience and expertise in public and product liability, professional indemnity, property, including recoveries, class actions and coverage disputes, and fraud...

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Tom has extensive experience in acting for high net wealth families, private and public corporations and corporate trustees...

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Jason’s practice focuses on personal injury litigation management and administrative law.

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Liz’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims and issues under the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic)...

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With over ten years' of experience, William helps clients to work through their succession planning goals and issues...

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Simon is a highly experienced litigator, having practiced for over 25 years in the CTP, workers compensation, recovery and liability jurisdictions.

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James has a broad range of both corporate and general commercial experience, particularly in the areas of equity capital markets, corporate advice, and public and private M&A...

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Andrew’s practice includes workers compensation, work injury damages/common law, s151Z recoveries, builders warranty claims, workplace law and alternative dispute resolution.

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Peter is the section leader of the firm's Tax team. Peter has joined Hall & Wilcox in 2016 after nearly 30 years with KPMG where he was a Senior Tax Partner.

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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...

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Harry has represented a number of listed public companies, large private companies and government organisations...

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Andrew provides advice on the application of a wide range of taxation.

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Paul is an experienced energy and resources lawyer, who specialises in the development of energy projects and acquisitions, energy trading and regulation, with a particular focus on renewable energy.

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John advises principals in relation to the appropriate joint venture and development arrangements and regarding the appropriate delivery mechanism for construction projects.

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Rory has over 10 years’ experience in planning and environmental law and was recognised in 2016 as a “Rising Star” in Planning and Environment, and again in 2018 as a Recommended Town Planning & Development Lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession.

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Leigh has significant experience and expertise in general insurance litigation acting for most major Australian insurers as well as a number of English insurers and underwriters.

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Michael’s practice focuses on tax disputes, capital gains tax, business sales and acquisitions and restructuring...

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Ed’s practice covers private mergers and acquisitions, family business and private equity.

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Mark specialises in corporate insolvency matters, commercial litigation and corporations law disputes, intellectual property and copyright litigation, and financial services disputes including securities enforcement...

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Katrina practises principally in the areas of commercial law and property law and development.

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Martin practices commercial law with extensive experience in contracts and commercial litigation. Martin focuses on corporate, commercial, regulatory and private clients, with particular expertise in the sports and media sectors.

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Karl advises his clients in adverse action claims at the Fair Work Commission, implementing and negotiating enterprise agreements, unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims and contractual disputes.

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Joel is an experienced and well-rounded insurance lawyer, who is always accessible to his clients and delivers prompt, pragmatic and comprehensive analysis and advice...

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Nick has 19 years’ experience acting for Australian and international financiers and borrowers in corporate finance, acquisition finance, real estate finance and general finance across a range of sectors including financial services, property and  technology.

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Rhett is the National Insurance Practice Head and is responsible for the driving and coordinating the strategy for the firm’s national insurance practice.

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Matthew joined Hall & Wilcox on 1 July 2017, after almost 30 years at Harris Wheeler, most recently as managing partner of the firm and supervising partner of the firm’s Commercial practice.

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Kelli has extensive experience in insurance, product liability, public liability and workers’ compensation having acted for more than 30 years on behalf of insurers (both domestic and international), corporations, government bodies and instrumentalities.

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Andrew practices in personal injury litigation on behalf of self insurers, employers, and WorkSafe Victoria and its agents, managing claims brought under the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Daniel is an experienced insurance lawyer with close to 20 years advising clients on insurance litigation...

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Ilona has more than 15 years’ experience with her practice focusing on both statutory and common law claims across both Victorian and Tasmanian workcover legislation

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Nicholas is a highly experienced lawyer who has concentrated on insurance law, particularly claims under the NSW statutory classes of insurance, for more than 20 years...

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Joanna has extensive experience advising and representing employers, self-insurers, NSW workers' compensation managed fund scheme agents, treasury managed fund agents and the Workers' Compensation Nominal Insurer (icare).

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Jacob is a member of Hall & Wilcox’s commercial dispute resolution team, practising predominantly in general commercial litigation.

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Adrian’s financial services law practice covers superannuation, managed funds, insurance, and financial advice...

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Ahranee advises insurers and corporates in the defence of public and product liability claims, both personal injury and property damage, as well as policy advice...

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Anton practices in all areas of insurance with a focus on workers’ compensation, medical treatment and public/property liability.

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Hector is a Partner in the Hall & Wilcox Litigation and dispute resolution team based in Perth. Hector has been practicing in the area of insolvency and dispute resolution since 1997...

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James specialises in estate and succession planning for ultra-high and high net worth clients. He also has experience in estate and trust disputes including cross-border succession issues and conflicts, tax planning and related advice to trust structures for Australian and UK non-residents and probate and estate administration.

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Emma has extensive experience in advising clients in estate planning and estate administration, trust establishment, and ongoing administration, trust estate disputes and structuring for succession of ownership and control of private and family businesses...

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Noel advises his clients on commercial disputes and related matters including banking and finance, insolvency, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), ASIC and other regulatory issues.

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John’s practice focuses on personal injury litigation management. He acts primarily for WorkSafe Victoria and is responsible for managing the delivery of quality common law and statutory benefits service and outcomes.

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Andrew has more than 35 years’ experience in superannuation, trusts, estate and succession planning...

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Keith is a key figure in tax advisory, having been in significant roles within the profession for over 20 years...

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Andrew has extensive experience in the provision of advice and conduct of litigation for insurers.

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Eileen's practice includes personal and business succession planning, probate and estate administration, trusts and self-managed superannuation funds and tax and related strategies related to estate and succession planning.

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In over 33 years in the profession, Steve has accumulated a wide range of skills and extensive experience in commercial law and in particular, in all aspects of real estate and property development.

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Nikki is an experienced litigator who advises CTP insurers, with her practice focused on helping clients defend CTP and major claims.

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Melinda is an experienced insurance litigator who helps insurers resolve CTP claims involving complex liability and quantum issues.

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Emma is a specialist insurance lawyer. She has over 10 years’ experience in insurance litigation with a specific focus on professional indemnity and medical liability claims.

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John has broad experience in financial services, funds management, blockchain, corporate and commercial law, with a particular emphasis on funds management related matters.

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Vince Battaglia is an experienced funds management and financial services practitioner.  He has worked in global and national law firms, as well as at ASIC.

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Melinda provides strategic and practical advice on a range of employment and industrial relations law issues...

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Bree has worked almost exclusively in Insurance and Risk since being admitted to the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 2004...

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  • Fluent in French - Conversational

Matthew is a general commercial lawyer with more than 18 years’ experience covering a range of areas of practice including private M&A, general commercial and corporate transactions, projects and advisory work, family succession arrangements, non-contentious employment matters, property, contracts and governanc

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Sauming is a specialist insurance lawyer with over 11 years’ civil litigation experience in personal injury and property damage.

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Rosena practices in insurance litigation: state compensation and liability claims (personal injury and property damage)...

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Michael is an experienced insurance litigator who helps insurers resolve CTP claims involving complex issues including liability issues, multi-defendant issues and detailed quantum assessments as well as relatives' claims.

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David is a commercial litigator with extensive insolvency and reconstruction experience, and expertise in property disputes.

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Nik advises on a broad range of property related transactions and disputes.  With over 17 years legal experience, he has acted for a variety of financial institutions, finance and investment companies, joint venture partners, property developers, private and public companies, government agencies and local councils.

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Iona has experience in assisting clients with both litigious and non-litigious employment and workplace relations matters.

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Lauren has extensive experience representing employers, insurers and self-insured entities in the management and defence of workers’ compensation claims.

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Jillian provides practical and commercially-minded advice to private and public sector employers on a wide range of labour and employment and privacy matters.

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With over 20 years’ experience in property law, Peter is one of the senior members of the firm's Property & Projects team...

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Kirrilee has more than 15 years' legal experience and acts on behalf of insurers in relation to catastrophic and complex personal injury claims...

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With more than 20 years of legal experience, Vicky specialises in representing clients in a wide range of commercial disputes across Australia...

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Jim has over 10 years’ experience providing taxation advice on a broad range of corporate and trust tax matters, with a particular focus on the banking and finance, government and property and construction sectors.

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Kristopher advises on all aspects of migration to Australia, with particular emphasis on employment-related migration...

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Emily specialises in property and leasing law, acting for a variety of clients in property, real estate and leasing transactions...

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Amber is an experienced insurance litigator who helps insurers resolve CTP claims involving complex liability issues, catastrophic injuries, multi-defendant issues and detailed quantum assessments as well as compensation to relative claims.

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Scott advises on a wide variety of corporate and commercial disputes and insolvency matters. His clients include those in a range of industry sectors, including insolvency practitioners, energy and resources, commercial property, financial services and intellectual property and technology.

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Carl is an experienced insurance litigator who helps insurers resolve CTP and major claims involving complex liability issues, dual insurance, detailed quantum assessments and fraud...

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Rachel has over 15 years of experience advising on tax law and specialises in stamp duties, land tax and other tax issues in all Australian states and territories.

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Katherine is a commercial litigation specialist with a focus on insolvency, contract litigation, construction disputes and the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (PPSA).

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Elisabeth advises her clients on commercial litigation, international arbitration, corporate insolvency, claims arising from contraventions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), financial product disputes, tax litigation, business crime and fraud.

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  • Fluent in Spanish

Since arriving in Australia Albert has worked on various types of commercial disputes, for a range of clients including the Greater Building Society, Newcastle Airport, Port Stephens Council and various engineering companies based in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.

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Vanessa has worked in the area of insurance law, with a specific focus on workers compensation and personal injury insurance litigation since beginning her career as a paralegal in 1996...

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Mark has more than 16 years’ experience in advising on construction and infrastructure projects. He has acted for public and private organisations on social infrastructure projects including housing, schools, hospitals, primary care facilities and specialist disability care homes.

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Louise has provided advice in personal injuries law for over 20 years, to both plaintiffs and defendants...

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Graeme has a broad practice in commercial dispute resolution, conducting small to complex litigation in the Supreme and Federal Courts, and mediation.

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Megan specialises in corporate litigation, bankruptcy and insolvency, shareholder disputes, partnership disputes, contractual disputes, breach of confidence and restraint of trade, banking matters, and Australian Consumer Law.

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Rebecca has been working in the legal profession since 1998. Her practice has focussed on insurance litigation, predominantly workers’ compensation claims.

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Tanya is an insurance specialist and an Accredited Specialist in personal injury.  For close to 20 years, she has worked with insurers and self-insured corporations to resolve CTP and public liability claims, including major claims.

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Conrad has a broad range of commercial experience, particularly in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, restructures and business succession, insolvency, and Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) compliance.

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Bettina is a highly experienced insurance lawyer who defends claims on behalf of domestic and international insurers and corporations...

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Sean has practised in insurance litigation since 1992, acting on behalf of defendant insurers and self insured across the CTP, workers compensation and public liability regimes...

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Chris has 20 years of experience in health and medical law, delivering solutions to clients in the insurance and health sectors...

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Lauren has over 12 years’ experience, specialising in insurance litigation and practicing in the areas of workers compensation, compulsory third party and public liability claims...

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Anna has 10 years’ experience practising in property and projects. She has particular expertise in managing large volumes of conveyancing work for developers.

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Thomas is an experienced litigation lawyer with knowledge across a diverse range of litigation practice areas...

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Sam’s practice focuses on estate and succession planning...

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Krisha has 19 years’ workers compensation and common law experience with a particular focus on section 151Z indemnity claims.

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Taleen has significant experience in insurance litigation and advice in workers’ compensation and public liability matters in Western Australia and the Northern Territory...

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Amy practices in insurance litigation and personal injury law.

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Marisa’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Catherine is an experienced insurance lawyer who focuses on public liability and property damage claims.

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    Fluent in Italian - Conversational

Jacinta’s current practice includes direct and indirect taxes, business transactions, corporate restructuring, taxation disputes (including pre-audit, audit and litigation), the not-for-profit sector and trusts.

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James has more than 8 years of experience working across a broad range of general commercial transactions and arrangements, including acting in mergers, acquisitions and restructures and drafting general commercial agreements.

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David is an experienced employment and industrial relations lawyer. He acts for a range of local and global clients across a wide range of industries.

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Glenn is an experienced litigator practicing predominately in commercial litigation with a focus on corporate and personal insolvency...

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Barbara works with insurers on CTP and public liability insurance claims involving sensitive and complex matters, often involving multi-defendant and medical causation issues.

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Jessica’s practice concentrates on personal injury litigation management. Jessica focuses on achieving quality outcomes for her clients in worker’s compensation matters, including statutory benefits and common law claims under the Accident Compensation Act and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act...

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Ben has a broad knowledge across all disciplines of property, planning and construction and currently acts for clients in a wide range of matters in the firm’s Property & Projects practice.

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Elise's practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic) and common law claims brought pursuant to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic).

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    Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia - Conversational

Anthony assists insurers to resolve CTP claims involving complex liability and quantum issues, fraud, catastrophic injuries, nervous shock, multi-defendant matters and administrative law challenges.

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Jane-Elise is an experienced insurance lawyer whose practise focuses on general liability. Her clients include international insurers and large self-insured corporations.

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Adam is an experienced tax lawyer, and advises clients on a range of matters including tax planning and structuring, Division 7A, the small business CGT concessions, corporate restructuring, professional firm structures, trust taxation, the taxation of settlements and cryptocurrency taxation.

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    Fluent in French - Conversational | German - Conversational

Elizabeth is a commercial litigation lawyer who specialises in corporate and commercial dispute resolution, with a particular focus on contractual disputes, consumer law, corporations and equity, real property disputes and insolvency.

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Jennifer has over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry and has worked in both private practice and in house defending claims under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 and the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

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Natasha acts for a variety of professionals in the defence of professional negligence and other claims arising out of purely economic loss, property damage, defamation, and alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

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Felicity is an experienced energy and resources and corporate lawyer, who specialises in general corporate and commercial matters, rail, infrastructure and energy and resources...

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Catherine's expertise include compulsory third party (CTP) and public liability claims, including major claims, section 151z recovery matters and defendant insurance litigation.

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  • Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia - Conversational

Belinda’s practice focuses on the litigation of common law claims brought pursuant to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic) and common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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  • Fluent in French - Conversational

Alexandra has experience acting on behalf of and advising both public and private sector clients in a broad range of industries including in the tertiary education, apprenticeship training and retail sectors.

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Sarah is an experienced employment and industrial relations lawyer.  Sarah acts for a range of local and global clients across a wide range of industries in both litigious and non-litigious employment and industrial relations matters.

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    Fluent in Macedonian

Diana specialises in personal injury law and insurance litigation.

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Kate has close to 10 years' experience specialising in succession law including wills, testamentary and discretionary trusts, protective trusts, powers of attorney, appointments of guardian advanced health directives and probate and letters of administration.

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Julian is an experienced senior litigator who has acted in high profile, complex and fiercely contested commercial litigation, public inquiries and investigations on behalf of companies, individuals (including members of parliament) and Government entities...

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Sarah has over 10 years’ experience in workers’ compensation and personal injuries claims. She has worked predominately on workers’ compensation matters in Queensland and more recently in the Western Australian jurisdiction

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Terri is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who has defended claims on behalf of domestic and international insurers for a decade...

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Katherine’s practice is predominantly in the area of general commercial dispute resolution and litigation and includes tax litigation and tax audit, contractual disputes, leasing disputes, restraint of trade injunctions, debt recovery, and insolvency and corporations matters.

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George has particular expertise in representing and advising insurers in relation to large scale litigation including class actions, indemnity disputes and insurance fraud claims, as well as public and product liability and professional indemnity claims.

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William specialises in private M&A and general commercial transactions and provides strategic advice on acquisitions, restructures and exits...

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Sheridan specialises in insurance litigation, with particular experience in complex claims and fraud...

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Ben’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Clare is passionate, practical and results-oriented employment lawyer who takes pride in providing commercially-minded advice, exceptional communication and effective problem-solving skills to all types of employment, industrial and safety issues.

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Jennifer has significant experience in general insurance litigation. Her experience includes public and product liability, property damage and compulsory third party insurance...

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Jamie is an experienced lawyer with her practice focusing primarily on CTP claims, in particular non-meritorious claims.

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Daniella’s practice focuses on common law and statutory benefit claims in all jurisdictions, where she continuously delivers quality results.

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Rachel is a tax lawyer specialising in direct taxes and tax disputes. Rachel’s areas of experience include advising on a variety of domestic and international tax laws...

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Kate has a broad practice, having experience in public and product liability, professional indemnity, fraud and policy interpretation...

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Holly provides advice and acts on behalf of insurers in a variety of CTP claims including advising on complex quantum and liability issues and representing insurers in the Local and District Courts and the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service.

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Mark has a broad range of experience in corporate and commercial practice areas, with a particular focus on the sports and media industries.

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  • Fluent in Cantonese - Conversational | Mandarin - conversational

Joey’s practice focuses on property acquisitions and sales, property due diligence, contract negotiations, commercial leasing, and foreign investments.

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Jeanette has over 10 years’ experience working in the Asia-Pacific region. She specialises in advising borrowers and financial institutions on bilateral and syndicated financing, as well as cross-border project financing.

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    Fluent in Mandarin - conversational

Tina is experienced in defending public and product liability claims in New South Wales and Queensland on behalf of domestic and international insurers.

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William is an experienced litigator with over 11 years’ experience in both Australia and overseas and currently practices in multiple Australian jurisdictions...

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Stacey has over 6 years’ experience in workers’ compensation law. In addition to her workers’ compensation practice, Stacey has specialised expertise in common law, public liability and asbestos claims.

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David’s practice is predominantly in commercial litigation and insolvency...

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Donna has approximately 20 years’ experience in alternative dispute resolution through her previous roles in the insurance and legal industry...

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Bianca’s commercial dispute resolution and litigation practice extends to include acting for entities and individuals in contractual disputes, high quantum intellectual property disputes, breach of confidence and restraint of trade matters, shareholder oppression claims, partnership disputes, estate disputes and large equitable disputes.

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Nina has 11 years’ broad experience as a commercial lawyer with a specialty in intellectual property and information technology law, and related areas of practice including privacy, data security and competition law.

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Amber has more than 12 years of experience in the legal insurance sphere, and has covered the field, working in State and Federal Government legal practices, private practice and in-house at WorkCover in 2011.

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Hamish is a commercial dispute resolution lawyer. His experience extends to applications for urgent relief, appellate matters and defence of class actions.

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  • Fluent in Bahasa Malaysia - Conversational | Hokkien | Mandarin - conversational

Victoria’s practice focuses on the common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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With over fourteen years’ experience working in the NSW workers compensation area, Jenny is a highly skilled and proficient lawyer who defends statutory and common law workers compensation claims.

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Toniel’s practice focuses on general insurance advice and litigation. She manages complex and varied matters for a number of high profile insurers and private clients.

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Elisa's practice focuses on common law and statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2014 (Vic).

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Hannah practices in general insurance litigation with a particular focus on claims and risk...

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Rebecca's areas of expertise include the preparation of design and construction documents, and construction dispute advice and litigation...

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Jessica practices in employment and workplace relations law and provides strategic advice to clients across a range of industries.

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    Fluent in French - Conversational | Italian - Conversational | Mandarin - conversational

Pia is a Senior Associate in the Commercial Dispute Resolution team with experience across general commercial litigation, banking enforcement and insolvency...

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Markus’ practice focuses on statutory benefits claims brought pursuant to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic) and Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic).

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Martin specialises in insurance litigation, working with insurers on defending compulsory third party claims...

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Liz's practice focuses on state compensation and liability claims. She has developed particular expertise in identifying and managing complex and technical liability and state compensation claims, considering, analysing and providing commercial advice to both insurers and self-insured employers...

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Lauren specialises in resolving disputes, and works collaboratively with her team and with clients to provide strategic advice and success for the client...

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    Fluent in Japanese - Conversational

Kathryn advises and represents clients in a wide range of matters, including general commercial litigation, banking and finance litigation involving mortgages, guarantees and loan agreements, debt recovery and enforcement and corporate insolvency advice.

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Brandon is an experienced insurance litigator specialising in workers’ compensation, medical treatment liability and public liability claims.

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Mitch is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who has defended claims on behalf of insurer and private clients as well as state government departments.

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Zoe acts predominately for corporate clients and company directors in cases involving contractual disputes, fraud, corporations and equity matters, competition and consumer law...

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Bridget is an experienced insurance and litigation lawyer who has acted for leading Australian and international insurers and underwriters...

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Shane has a broad commercial and regulatory litigation practice, encompassing investment fund and trustee disputes, banking and company law, financial services, civil and commercial fraud, aviation, construction and infrastructure disputes.

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Belinda is an insurance lawyer with decades of experience over a range of jurisdictions. Belinda is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law...

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Daisy has extensive experience within the Common Law Workers’ Compensation area. She has also acted in public liability, product liability, medical negligence and CTP cases...

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Ebonie has worked in the area of insurance law since 2011. She has a specific interest in representing employers in workers compensation claims, with her practice encompassing both physical injury and psychological injury claims in both litigated and non-litigated advice matters.

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  • Fluent in Italian - Conversational

Melissa is an experienced insurance lawyer who focuses on advising major national insurers on CTP and public liability claims ranging from homeowners to small businesses.

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    Fluent in Vietnamese - Conversational

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    Fluent in French - Conversational

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    Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia - Conversational | French - Conversational | German - Conversational | Spanish - Conversational

More about Alicia
    Fluent in Mandarin - conversational

More about Lucy
    Fluent in Italian - Conversational

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    Fluent in Bosnian - Conversational | Croatian - Conversational | Serbian

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    Fluent in German

Dr Wolfgang Babeck has more than 20 years’ experience as a corporate and commercial lawyer and is admitted in New South Wales, England & Wales and as Rechtsanwalt in Germany...

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Sumith Perera

Chief Operating Officer

Sumith is the Chief Operating Officer and the national Head of Corporate Services at Hall & Wilcox. He has over 20 years' experience in leading and managing teams at professional services firms.

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Peter is the Client Solutions Director at Hall & Wilcox where he drives their Smarter Law program and fosters innovation at the firm...

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Dean is the Head of Hall & Wilcox’s Finance team. He has over 15 years’ experience in finance within professional services firms.

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Katie is the Director of People & Culture for Hall & Wilcox. She has over 20 years’ experience in the legal industry.

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Melanie is the national head of Hall & Wilcox’s Business Development, Marketing & Communications team...

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Mike manages the Legal Excellence & Risk team at Hall & Wilcox and is responsible for the firm’s precedents, risk management and general counsel/company secretarial functions.

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    Fluent in Dutch - Conversational

Janneke is the operations manager and head of operations nationally at Hall & Wilcox. She has over 15 years’ experience in human resources and project management across a variety of industries, including professional services, IT, banking and utilities...

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    Fluent in Hindi

Pious is the IT manager and head of IT nationally at Hall & Wilcox. He has over 18 years’ experience as a senior IT executive with a proven track record in legal and government technology management sectors.

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Melinda is the national marketing and communications manager at Hall & Wilcox. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, content creator and marketing communications specialist at professional services firms.

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Corporate and Financial Services Reform Update March 2007

The first tranche of draft regulations was released for public consultation on 26 March 2007 as part of the Corporations and Financial Services Regulation Review process. Some key issues dealt with in the first round of draft regulations are set out below: Keeping Financial Services Guides and Product Disclosure Statements up to date Where there […]

Thinking | Mon 05 2007

Compensation Arrangements for Financial Services Providers

Yesterday the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer (Chris Pearce), announced that regulations to complement section 912B of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act) are expected to be made by 1 July 2007. The Act requires financial services licensees that provide financial services to retail clients to have in place appropriate compensation arrangements. The arrangements must either be approved […]