Suzanne has over 13 years of experience as a financial lines lawyer, advising on professional indemnity, management liability, statutory liability and directors and officers’ claims, along with regularly providing coverage advice. She assists insurers and their professional and financial services customers in actions before the courts and AFCA. She also acts in regulatory investigations and enquiries, including before ASIC and various other regulators.

Suzanne has a particular focus on representing financial services professionals including financial planners, accountants and stock brokers. Her diploma in financial planning means that she brings financial literacy, as well as legal experience, to delivering the best outcome for her clients. Her inquiries and investigations work has extended to representing individuals in section 19 examinations before ASIC.

Suzanne also regularly acts in management liability matters, where there are allegations of oppressive conduct, insolvent trading, civil fraud, crime and breaches of directors’ duties.
Through two secondments with a large international insurer, Suzanne gained a practical understanding of the results claims teams want to achieve, and translates that knowledge into her every-day work. She is known for her skill and experience in providing pragmatic, commercial and nuanced coverage advice across many different types of financial lines claims, including professional indemnity and statutory liability matters.

Suzanne participates in Wotton + Kearney’s Community Footprint pro bono program.

Professional Indemnity

  • Acting for accountants in litigated proceedings involving allegations of negligent tax structuring advice.
  • Regularly acting for financial planners and AFSLs arising from allegations of negligent financial planning advice.
  • Acting for stockbrokers in respect of allegations flowing from use of managed discretionary accounts and trading derivatives.

Financial Institutions

  • Acting for AFSLs and financial planners in actions before AFCA and the courts involving issues such as negligent advice to invest in real property through an SMSF, advice to invest in cryptocurrency, advice to switch between life insurers.
  • Acting for insurers in respect of indemnity disputes involving AFSLs.
  • Representing a financial advisory firm whose authorised representative defrauded clients of more than $2 million. Claims were brought by multiple former clients through the Financial Ombudsman Service and in court proceedings.
  • Representing a financial planner and AFSL in a series of litigated proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW. The proceedings arose from allegations that the planner’s retainer extended to advice to invest in a speculative property scheme. Suzanne was able to resolve these proceedings for a significantly discounted sum at mediation.
  • Acting for insurers of an AFSL in litigated proceedings involving 100s clients who had suffered losses arising from the collapse of a large managed investment fund. Suzanne was able to wrap up those claims made against the AFSL through the establishment of a deed of company arrangement,  a novel settlement structure which achieved certainty of outcome for all concerned.
  • Acting for an AFSL who was sued as a result of the planner’s failure to note a pre-existing medical condition on a client’s application for life insurance. Suzanne assessed the risks early and was able to negotiate a competitive settlement based on the claimant’s own contributory negligence in completing the application form, prior to the commencement of litigation.

Management Liability

  • Acting for the directors of a cultural Club in litigated oppressive conduct proceedings brought by Club members, successfully defending the matter through to the conclusion of Court of Appeal proceedings.
  • Defending a defamation claim brought against a local council employee.
  • Acting for a local councillor in a VCAT appeal from disciplinary misconduct findings at a panel level.
  • Acting for insurers to provide coverage advice on statutory liability matters before various different types of regulators, and regularly acting for insureds in defending regulatory proceedings.

Directors + Officers

  • Acting in unfair preference claims, including claims for indemnity against directors brought by the Commissioner of Taxation.
  • Defending directors of an independent school, on instructions from management liability insurers, against a multi-million dollar insolvent trading claim.
  • Acting for reinsurers following major losses at one of Australia’s big four banks.
Areas of Expertise
  • Directors + Officers Liability
  • Financial Institutions
  • Government
  • Inquiries, Investigations + Prosecutions
  • Management Liability
  • Professional Liability

Industry Representation
  • Financial Institutions + Services
  • Professions + Business Services
  • Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • Clubs & Associations

Professional Affiliations
  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Australian Professional Indemnity Group
  • Women in Insurance