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Management Liability

The management landscape for privately held companies is fraught with risk. The demands of statutory compliance, workplace health and safety, anti-discrimination and unfair dismissal laws, financial oversight, IP and data protection can all distract from the imperatives of managing a profitable business.

We understand the complexities of management risk and have experience in handling hundreds of claims across a variety of industries when things go wrong – through bad luck as often as by neglect. Our management liability lawyers work with SME owners and their insurers, key decision makers and managers to resolve claims efficiently and effectively, responding quickly to protect company profits and reputation.

Post-event, we help owners get back to business, advising on the necessary protocols, policies and training to reduce ongoing risk. We also offer customised training to business managers to help them spot scenarios that can lead to claims, and take preventative actions.

A large part of our business is also working with insurers and brokers on policy wording, coverage issues, and on recoveries.

Some of the management liability claims we have advised on include:

Prosecution by Victorian Architects Review Board

Acting for a construction company in its prosecution by the Victorian Architects Review Board for the inadvertent and prohibited use of the term “architectural”.

We successfully negotiated the removal and reduction of charges, in turn resulting in a very modest fine and no conviction being recorded against the company.

Representing three committee members of secondary college for insolvent trading

Defending three committee members of the management board of a failed secondary college in respect of insolvent trading allegations commenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria and resolving proceedings without prosecution. We were also engaged to manage media coverage to ensure no adverse claims were made in the press.

Defence of OH&S prosecutions resulting from serious injuries or fatalities

Acting for a range of SME businesses in OH&S prosecutions arising out of both serious injuries and fatalities within the workplace. We routinely appear in both the Local and Magistrates’ Courts and superior courts defending insureds in OH&S prosecutions by the relevant work safe authority, and where appropriate, in plea hearings where liability is not contested. We have acted in a number of important reported decisions in the area, including Parker v Venarchie Contracting Pty Ltd [2016] TASMC and DPP v Winnipeg Textiles Pty Ltd [2016] VCC 1630

Successful defences in New Zealand

Successful defence of defamation proceedings against a body corporate committee including overturning an interim injunction obtained ex-parte which then resulted in the proceedings being discontinued in Chen v Carter [2013] NZHC 1397, successfully defending a private prosecution following a forestry fatality in Mahunga v AG Sinton [2015] NZDC, and mitigation of charges against a painter under new HSE legislation, achieving a reduced sentence in Worksafe v Lindsay Whyte Painters & Decorators Limited [2017] NZDC.