Bhrig has practiced in the areas of insurance and commercial litigation since 2009 with a focus on Financial Lines including specialities in EPL and professional indemnity across various industry sectors. With a reputation for excellence in his areas of speciality, Bhrig takes a considered, yet pragmatic approach to resolving disputes arising from his matters.
In terms of EPL, Bhrig has acted for directors and businesses relating to prosecutions by statutory bodies, duties, tax litigation, insolvency, managed investment schemes as well as compliance with health and safety legislation, anti-discrimination legislation, unfair dismissal and business structuring.
Bhrig also regularly provides advices in relation to all aspects of professional indemnity, from policy coverage, to dealing with litigated claims.
Bhrig provides coverage and defence advice to insurers on behalf of corporate employers, accountants, lawyers, trustees, financial planners, stockbrokers, employers, building professionals, estate agents and other commercial professions and their.
Areas of Expertise
- Employment Practices Liability (EPL)
- Professional Indemnity
- Management Liability
- Construction & Infrastructure
- Consumer Goods
- Financial Institutions & Services
- Public Sector/Education
- Acting in both a coverage and defence role in respect of numerous OH&S inquiries and subsequent prosecutions in the past 12 months involving amongst others, wall collapses, road works, construction works, forklift operations, manufacturing processes, recreational activities, mechanical works and transportation of goods. Relevant experiences include:
- Negotiating and implementing a diversion plan on behalf of a large international aluminium manufacturer prosecuted by the Victorian Government following a workplace incident in which an employee’s hand became entangled inside a conveyor belt. This outcome meant the charges against the company were withdrawn and it avoided having to pay potentially significant fines and/or obtaining a conviction.
- Successfully contesting charges filed against a prominent concreting company by the Tasmanian Government arising from an incident involving a fatality of a specialist subcontractor hit by a vehicle during road works which the company was engaged to perform.
- Providing coverage advice during the safety regulator’s investigation phase in respect of fatalities stemming from workplace incidents in South Australia and Tasmania where the companies perceived level of culpability was high.
- Negotiating the removal of charges and narrowing of particulars in response to a prosecution by the Victorian Government of a large construction company which had repeatedly breached its safety obligations on separate occasions regarding the excavation of trenches (working from heights). This outcome resulted in the company avoiding a conviction meaning it could retain multi-million dollar government contracts which it otherwise would have lost.
- Acting for numerous food and chemical manufacturing companies in relation to prosecutions by the Victorian Government following incidents involving crush injuries sustained by workers during the use of powered and mobile plant including industrial food processing machines, conveyor belts, cranes, forklifts and printing presses.
- Acting for the directors and shareholders of a large private company responsible for providing cleaning services to government and private sector clients. The directors’ clients were alleged to have perpetuated a fraud and committed tax avoidance by entering into a scheme which involved ‘borrowing’ funds of up to $8M from company accounts to purchase luxury items and pay subcontractors cash. We were able to successfully convince the Federal Police and Australian Taxation Office that whilst monies were transferred into personal accounts, they were essentially loans which were being repaid by the directors to the company. Ultimately, the directors avoided any criminal prosecution and successfully entered into a payment arrangement with the ATO such that they could continue to act in their capacity and the company fulfil its contracts.
- Acting for 2 prominent companies including their directors in high profile cases attracting media attention involving allegations of sexual harassment, bullying, victimisation and discrimination pursued in the Federal Court of Australia. We successfully resolved these matters by undertaking a thorough ‘internal’ investigation into the allegations including the companies’ processes in place to prevent such wrongdoing and, subsequently adopting a commercially sensitive approach which led to the claimants agreeing to settle the claims for amounts significantly less than what was being pursued or awarded by the courts at the time.
- Acting in numerous claims against financial advisers before the Financial Ombudsman Service and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal involving the management of various portfolios from conservative stocks to micro caps and multinational property interests.
- Acting as coverage counsel for the insurer of directors involved in a Federal Court action for alleged breaches of the Corporations Act and Australian Consumer Law in respect of a multinational acquisition undertaken by private equity stakeholders.
- Acting as coverage counsel for the insurer of directors involved in a Federal Court action involving the Australian Taxation Office and a liquidator in respect of payments made by a company whilst allegedly insolvent.
- Acting for building surveyors in proceedings before the County Court and Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for allegedly negligent actions in approving inspections of private dwellings which subsequently formed defects.
- Australian Insurance Law Association
- The Building Dispute Practitioners’ Society
- Australian Professional Indemnity Group
- Law Institute of Victoria