Catherine is one of Australia’s leading lawyers in the areas of WH&S (Work Health & Safety) and inquiries. She practices in WH&S and employment in both the Melbourne and Canberra offices. She leads the safety team at Maddocks and works with clients on all aspects of safety work from training, policy review, bullying investigations and crisis preparation to incident response and representation during investigations and prosecutions. She has acted for private and public sector clients in relation to a wide range of work related incidents involving serious injuries and fatalities.
Catherine acts for clients in employment-related matters including bullying, discrimination, harassment, misconduct, whistleblower investigations, breaches of codes of conduct, managing ill and injured employees and terminations.
Catherine is one of Australia’s most experienced lawyers in coronial inquiries and inquests. She led a large team acting for the for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. She has also acted for clients in other Royal Commissions, in inquiries into corruption and improper conduct, in internal government inquiries and in coronial inquests involving industrial deaths, emergency incidents, drownings, sporting incidents, police shootings, rail crashes, building collapses and deaths of those in care.
Catherine’s background in administrative law means she brings a broad knowledge of administrative law and statutory interpretation, privacy law, to her public sector clients. With extensive experience in providing urgent incident response advice in high profile matters, Catherine helps both public and private sector clients in dealing with police and other investigative authorities, and working with media and reputation advisers.
Catherine is renowned as a trainer and provides in-house training for a wide range of private and public sector clients on safety, addressing bullying and discrimination, legal compliance, public law, employment law and legal crisis management.
Catherine is highly regarded and has been awarded the following rankings:
- Listed by Doyle’s Guide 2016 as a recommended Workplace Health & Safety Lawyer.
- Ranked in the Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers in the category of Occupational Health and Safety Law from 2013 – 2018.
- Legal 500 Asia 2012/13, which named Catherine as part of the ‘stand-out’ group of lawyers.
- ALB Recommended Law Firms 2009 – Recommended as ‘professional and dedicated to her work’
- Asia-Pacific Legal 500 2008 – ‘outstanding practitioner’
- Asia-Pacific Legal 500 2007 – recognised for ‘not just providing legal advice but understanding how that advice relates in a commercial environment’
Catherine also serves as Deputy Chair of the Emergency Services Foundation.
- Work Health and Safety
- Employment Law
- Coronial Inquests/Royal Commissions
- Ombudsman and Corruption Inquiries
- Administrative law and statutory interpretation
- Crisis management skills
- Whistleblowers Protection
- Publication and media
- Providing training on the harmonised Work Health and Safety legislation to Commonwealth Government Departments, statutory authorities and industry groups
- Acting for clients prosecuted over health and safety breaches including successfully obtaining enforceable undertakings
- Regularly advising employers on handling bullying and discrimination complaints and providing training on workplace behaviour
- Acted for the Country Fire Authority in the 2009-10 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission from the day after Black Saturday, leading a large team of lawyers and para-legals working for over 18 months as part of the Victorian Government Response to the Commission
- Advising the Victorian Attorney-General on sensitive public interest immunity issues
- Acting for a State Government in designing a multi-million dollar ex-gratia payment scheme and managing associated administrative law issues
- Acting for a transport company in a safety prosecution including successfully arguing against an appeal over the fine by the DPP in the Victorian Court of Appeal
- Acting for a Victorian statutory authority in the lengthy Kew Cottages Inquest. Following the inquest the State Government committed $95 million for fire protection for the intellectually disabled and the Coroner praising the role that our client played at the inquest
- Acting for a Victorian statutory authority which was the main party in Victoria’s second longest Coronial Inquest. The case involved over 200 witnesses, with over 150 of them from our client. Responsible for providing strategic advice and co-ordinating a large team, over a three year period. Advised on communications strategy and worked extensively with media advisors. Advised on a number of complex legal issues including occupational health and safety, suppression orders, negligence, vicarious liability and the implementation of recommendations
- Advising the Commissioner for Law Enforcement Data on privacy and Charter of Human Rights issues
- Advising emergency service clients on their powers (including during emergencies), conducting operational review and best practice
- Drafting crisis management and incident response plans for public and private sector clients, and conducting real-time scenario testing of those plans.