Advisor. Advocate. Mediator.
With over 20 years experience as a lawyer, including 15 years as a barrister, and 10 as a mediator, I know what it takes to resolve disputes, particularly employment, franchising and commercial disputes.
A Nationally Accredited Mediator since 2010, I can help you achieve successful resolution of disputes without the need for costly and inconvenient court hearings.
Some of the commercial, employment and industrial cases I have been involved in since 2003 are below:
- West Gate Bridge industrial dispute: Junior counsel before Jessup J at interlocutory stages (with Nick Green Q.C) and trial/penalty hearing (with Richard Maidment S.C). Williams v AMWU  FCA 86; Williams v AMWU (No. 2)  FCA 103; John Holland Pty Ltd v AMWU(2009) 174 FCR 526;  FCA 235 (as Intervener); Williams v AMWU  FCA 754. See my Article: “Bridging the jurisprudential gap“, Law Institute Journal July 2011 page 50 (LIJ 85.07).
- Baulderstone Qld Pty Ltd v CFMEU  FCA 520 (Dowsett J) Junior counsel with N.Green Q.C seeking injunctions – industrial action – failure of subcontractors to attend work – picketing by union organisers – union aiding abetting counselling or procuring a ban imposed by sub-contractors – coercion of principal contractor to agree to enter building enterprise agreement on union’s terms – injunctions granted – BCII Act 2005.
- Cozadinos v CFMEU & Bell  FCA 46; Director, Office of Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v CFMEU  FCAFC 8; Cozadinos v CFMEU  FCA 1243. Junior counsel for ABCC over five years: Conducted s 52 BCII Act compulsory examination of the victim of coercion and discrimination who feared reprisals by the union; Advice to ABCC that there were reasonable grounds to commence proceedings; Drafted pleadings and proceedings were issued based on my advice; Appeared at mediation – no settlement; Junior counsel in five day Federal Court trial before Gray J – with R.Maidment S.C for ABCC alleging threat to take action to coerce or apply undue pressure to a contractor to make an enterprise bargaining agreement, and discrimination in contravention of BCII Act 2005 and claim for compensation under the BCII Act – proceedings dismissed; Junior counsel with J.Bourke Q.C in appeal proceedings to Full Federal Court – appeal successful – retrial ordered on two grounds: failure to take into account the cumulative effective of corroborative evidence; and incorrect application of the rule in Browne v Dunn; After negotiations, contraventions admitted by union and organiser; Appearance before Tracey J at penalty hearing. See my Article: “Credibility, corroboration and the cumulative effect in fact finding”, Law Institute Journal September 2013.
- Southern Ocean Pty Ltd v Sugar Australia Pty Ltd  VCC 428: Thirteen day trial before Kennedy J (led by M.Rinaldi) – Acting for plaintiff – Contract – termination – whether plaintiff entitled to termination payments in lieu of notice under contracts or whether defendant entitled to terminate without notice for summary misconduct – allegations of fraud and overcharging dismissed – judgment for plaintiff.
- Fair Work Ombudsman v Soleimani  FCCA 2380 – Penalty hearing for agreed contraventions of General Retail Award 2010, pre-Modern Award and Fair Work Act re underpayment of minimum wages, weekend penalty rates and overtime rates and other allowances.
- Taj v Western Health (No 2)  FCA 339, Bromberg J: General Protections claim that did not properly disclose the causes of action relied upon by the Applicant struck out with costs pursuant to the Fair Work Act.
- Avagiannis v Commercial Bedding Supplies (Australasia) Pty Ltd  VCC 1866 (Ginnane J) Four day County Court trial: Employment contract – whether an oral term that employment would be at particular store – found to be a term – store not opened – repudiation – damages – reasonable notice of termination– performance bonus – loss of a chance – mitigation of damages.
- Conlon v Anthony Dickinson t/as Raylook Pty Ltd  FWA 7989 – Unfair dismissal, redundancy held not to be a sham.
- Manson v Village Vet  FWA 3541 – unfair dismissal application – Small Business Fair Dismissal Code – employer summarily terminated employee after forming view she would have committed theft of goods from clinic – employee not honest when questioned about goods in her possession – application dismissed.
- Mimi v Millennium Developments Pty Ltd & Ors  VSC 260 – Supreme Court injunction proceedings acting for vendor of land in a priority dispute between first and subsequent purchaser.
Other trials and proceedings I have been involved in include:
- Just Better Care Australia Pty Ltd v Skilled Disability Support Services Pty Ltd (2016) Supreme Court proceedings (led by TJ.North Q.C) defending claims by franchisor against former franchisee entity and guarantors alleging breach of restraint of trade clause in franchise agreement and use of intellectual property and confidential information in setting up competing business post-expiry of franchise agreement term; claiming loss of profit damages for further terms; counterclaim by franchisee against franchisor of breaches of Franchising Code of Conduct.
- The Optimise Group Pty Ltd v HIS Research & Development Pty Ltd (2008) – 10 day Supreme Court trial before Kyrou J (led by TJ North QC) re a development contract for conversion and/or development of a totally new software product for the hospitality industry from a DOS environment to a Windows environment.
- Victorian Workcover Authority v Windsor Hotel (2005) led by T. Tobin S.C successful defence at trial of three charges under the Accident Compensation Act 1985 for alleged termination of an employee because of lodgment of a Workcover claim, including obtaining a costs order of $65,000 against the VWA.
- Macquarie Leasing Pty Ltd v Foley & Evans (2003) Four day County Court trial (Dyett J) enforcing hire purchase agreement against guarantors that claimed estoppel by representation defences, and four other proceedings enforcing hire-purchase agreements and sale agreements on behalf of Macquarie Leasing Pty Ltd.
Publications and Speaking Engagements
Legalwise 10 Points in One Day, Saturday 21 March 2020, Franchising dispute resolution update, Civil Dispute Resolution Act pre-litigation obligations and Online dispute resolution: current issues
FCA National Franchising Convention Legal Symposium, Melbourne: Joint speaker on “End of Term Issues” (with Tamra Seaton, Sean O’Donnell)
Leo Cussen Seminar “Franchising Developments and Risks Case Update”
Leo Cussen Seminar “Secrets of Mediation” (with Fiona Connor)
Franchising Accountants Network (FAN) Conference, Sydney: “Bad payroll is bad for business: FWO v “Bad Workwear”: A case study of court action against an employer for underpaying a vulnerable employee”
Leo Cussen Seminar, Franchising Case Update, The New Code of Conduct and recent cases of non-compliance
Legalwise seminar “Ten Points in One day” on “Franchising Fall-outs: An examination of recent franchise disputes and implications to consider when advising your clients”
FCA National Franchising Convention Legal Symposium: “Case Update: Marmax Investments Pty Ltd v RPR Maintenance Pty Ltd”
Legalwise Building & Construction Law Seminar: “Industrial Wars”: The Building and Construction (Improving Productivity) Bill
Updating Author, THE LAWS OF AUSTRALIA 26.2 Discrimination
The Victorian Bar: Postcard from The World Bar Conference
Law Institute of Victoria Employment Law Conference: The West Gate Bridge Dispute
Law Institute of Victoria, “Drafting & Understanding Pleadings”, Young Lawyers Lecture Series
Update author of THE LAWS OF AUSTRALIA Sub-title 10.9 “Motor Vehicle Offences”
“Taking reasonable Precautions” (advice for employers re sexual harassment claims): Local Government Management Magazine
“Bike Riding in Nanjing”: The Canberra Times
Editor, Young Lawyers Journal, Law Institute of Victoria