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Legacy, Sensitive + Complex Claims

Where claims involve long-running incidents and injuries, institutional failings or allegations of complicity or deception, you need lawyers who can work with particular sensitivity and experience. Often liability in these claims is not clear-cut and even when the facts are established, unwinding the insurance liabilities and contributions can entail significant litigation.

We have represented state government departments, religious organisations, insurers and their insured clients in a range of complex, sensitive and legacy matters. This includes occupational and dust diseases and institutional abuse claims involving schools, care homes, hospitals, detention centres and other private and public sector facilities.

Occupational and dust diseases claims

We have particular expertise in defending claims where individuals have suffered mesothelioma, asbestosis and other dust-related claims. Our team led by partner Allison Hunt represents insurers, manufacturers, developers, directors and officers and other executives and managers.

Our lawyers are experienced in appearing before all state, federal and specialist tribunals in Australia, including attending coronial inquests and prosecutions.

We also handle claims arising from exposure to harmful chemicals including through work place activities leading to chronic conditions such as cancer, respiratory issues and dermal skin conditions.

Institutional abuse claims

We have been defending and providing coverage advice in institutional abuse claims for more than 15 years. Given the inherent delicacies for the victim and the organisation against which the claim is brought, these matters need to be managed with discretion and understanding. As many claims involve historical issues, they often pose challenges in establishing the facts and determining policy coverage across multiple policy periods. We have developed chronologies and policy banks to assist our clients navigate these issues.

Our lawyers take a predictive approach to the issues likely to arise and plan in advance how best to deal with them before they significantly escalate. This ensures claims are managed far more cost-effectively and proactively.

Some of the legacy and sensitive claims we have advised on include:

Asbestosis claim against a manufacturer

Acting for a former manufacturer of asbestos-containing products in the defence of personal injury claims nationally, including estate and dependency claims.

Abuse in detention facilities

Acting for the liability insurer and operator of immigration detention facilities in claims by former detainees who allegedly sustained psychiatric injury while in detention.

Historical child abuse claims against religious and educational institutions across Australia

Advising insurers on these sensitive claims, involving complex coverage issues including whether, and for what period, the insurer was on risk, and potential contributions from insurers in other years. Contemporaneous knowledge of the abuse by the institutions and late notification issues also affected coverage.

Advising government departments on physical, psychological and sexual abuse claims in schools, state-run institutions and foster care

We paid careful respect to the NSW Government Model Litigant Policy in working with government agencies to identify those few claims that should be contested and to ensure that we acted in accordance with the Government’s desire to see reasonable compensation offered to deserving victims.