Charu specialises in environmental and construction matters.
Whether dealing with collapsed high rises or collapsed construction companies, clients trust Charu to navigate them through to clear and optimal solutions.
Charu acts as coverage and defence counsel for:
• claims arising out of pollution incidents involving asbestos, PFAS, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, leachate, mould, arsenic and other contaminants
• claims against engineers, architects, principal certifying authorities, project managers and other construction professionals
• claims and investigations concerning construction companies, including management liability and directors and officers claims arising out of insolvency, and
• environmental, social and governance liability risks, including those arising from climate change.
Charu is highly regarded for her track record of success on complex and contentious matters, as well as her calm and positive manner.
Charu leads Wotton + Kearney’s environmental liability product focus group, and is regularly invited to present seminars on environmental and construction matters.
- Acting as coverage counsel for a major international insurer in relation to a claim by a landfill operator for a leachate leak in New Zealand under a Pollution Legal Liability Policy. The claimed quantum was in excess of NZ$3 million. Participated in discussions with the broker and the insured to persuade the insured to withdraw part of their claim for uncovered costs so an amicable resolution to the coverage dispute was achieved.
- Acting as coverage counsel for a Lloyds syndicate in relation to a claim by a major utility provider in Melbourne in respect of PFAS and hydrocarbon pollution to a waterway caused by a warehouse fire under a Pollution Legal Liability Policy. The estimated costs of remediation in excess of $10 million. Briefed experts to engage directly with the insured, the Victorian EPA and the Victorian EPA’s expert regarding the scope of remediation required including the scope of the responsibility of the insured for the area to be cleaned up and identifying the extent of pre-existing contamination of the waterway the remediation.
- Acting as coverage counsel for a major international insurer in relation to Supreme Court of NSW proceedings arising from an environmental liability indemnity provided in a sale agreement for two large properties in Victoria and Queensland that is partially covered by an endorsement to a Pollution Legal Liability Policy. Advising the insurer on coverage issues including the scope of Clean Up Costs covered by the policy and the application of exclusions as well as monitoring defence counsel. The claimed quantum is in excess of $7 million.
- Acting as coverage counsel for a major international insurer in relation to a claim for cover in response to a Clean-Up Notice issued by the NSW EPA concerning the testing and remediation of asbestos contaminated fill used by a power plant operator to cover an ash dam. The area of fill exceeded 50 hectares.
- Advising a major international insurer on coverage issues arising out of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry concerning the numerous major banks, superannuation funds, insurers and other financial institutions that it insured at both the primary and excess layers under D&O and professional indemnity policies.
- Providing coverage advice to an insurer for a claim by a financial institution arising out of an ATO audit involving a global master policy and local Australian policy. Charu negotiated a resolution with the insured to the coverage dispute. The claimed quantum exceeded $1.7 million with the potential for substantial future losses.
- Representing a firm of financial advisors and their insurer in relation to 30 plus related claims lodged with the Financial Ombudsman Service in the UK. Charu prepared submissions to the Ombudsman and obtained expert reports on the financial products involved. The claimed quantum exceeded £4 million.
- Representing an architect in the defence of an unlitigated claim following the collapse of a building. Charu persuaded the claimant not to pursue the claim following informal negotiations.
- Representing a building certifier in defence of proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW brought by a strata corporation against multiple defendants. Charu persuaded the strata corporation to discontinue proceedings against the building certifier via informal negotiations. The claimed quantum exceeded $2 million.
- Acting for a European drilling rig manufacturer in the Supreme Court of NSW proceedings on a collapse of a drilling rig. Charu drafted pleadings, briefed an expert engineer, prepared lay affidavits, and appeared at interlocutory hearings. Achieved settlement in which the co-defendant indemnified insured and took over conduct of defence. The claimed quantum exceeded $1 million.
Directors & Officers
- Representing a sole director and majority shareholder in defence of a minority shareholder oppression claim in the Supreme Court of NSW. Charu briefed counsel and experts in property and business valuations, accounting and directors’ remuneration and took extensive lay affidavits. The claimed quantum exceeded $40 million and the claim was successfully resolved at a mediation.
- Acting as coverage and monitoring counsel for various insurers in relation to ASIC investigations, class actions and parliamentary inquiries concerning collapsed companies or breach of continuous disclosure obligations.
- Class Actions
- Directors + Officers Liability
- Environmental Liability
- Inquiries, Investigations + Prosecutions
- Professional Liability
- Construction + Infrastructure
- Financial Institutions + Services
- Professions + Business Services
- Australian Insurance Law Association
- Australian Professional Indemnity Group
- NSW Claims Discussion Group
- Women in Insurance