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Professional Indemnity

 

Professional Indemnity - Lawyer’s Negligence

 

Gilchrist Connell are regarded as the 'lawyers' lawyers' in five states and territories -  NSW, WA, SA , Queensland and the NT.
 
Paul Kozub and Alex Haslam in our Sydney office are appointed to the select panel of Lawcover in NSW. Paul and Alex act and have acted in the defence of solicitors in professional negligence claims ranging from amounts as low as $10,000 to large and complex disputes up to the value of $400 million. 
 
They are regularly asked to advise on more complicated indemnity issues under the professional indemnity scheme. In addition they handle matters involving all areas of legal practice, including, alleged negligence in the provision of advice upon witnessing deeds of guarantee, construction matters, deficiencies in advice involving commercial and property disputes, failure to provide appropriate advice in the workers’ compensation jurisdiction and the more standard ‘out of time’ actions.
 
Amanda Adamson is a member of the equivalent panel in SA - Lawguard - which operates Law Claims, the compulsory lawyers PI scheme Law Claims in SA. She is one of five such solicitors in SA and handles claims of all shapes and sizes regarding allegations of lawyers’ professional negligence. 
 
Deborah Templeman and Justine Siavelis are appointed to the select panel of Law Mutual in WA. Deborah also carries out work, on behalf of LPLC, for claims against large insured firms. 
 
David Flint has previously acted for Lexon, the Queensland solicitors’ [apostrophe] professional indemnity insurer, and is currently acting for a large Lawcover insured in a claim in the Supreme Court in Queensland.
 
Richard Wood acts for the current underwriter of the NT solicitor’s professional indemnity scheme and is currently acting in several matters in the Territory.
 
Paul, Alex, Amanda, Deborah, Justine, David and Richard all understand the complexities involved in balancing the interests of Underwriters while maintaining the confidence of the practitioner who is the subject of the claim. Each claim is handled on its merits, and wherever appropriate, we work to resolve as efficiently as possible.

 

Medical Malpractice

 

John Homburg and Deborah Templeman head up our medical and health law team.
 
Malpractice insurance for health professionals is a highly specialised and competitive market. John brings to the firm a vast experience representing Medical Defence Organisations and health professionals in complex malpractice claims and Coronial inquiries.
 
Gilchrist Connell offers a full service with respect to employment, accreditation, credentialing and training issues for health professionals.
 
In addition to dealing with liability claims John has a proven track record acting in Administrative Law matters concerning both the conduct of health professionals and their regulation and registration under the National Law.
 
Deborah also has significant experience in this area, acting for doctors, hospitals and paramedical professions. With a substantial volume of articles and case notes published in this area, Deborah was a long-time member of the editorial board of the Australian Health Law Bulletin. In all matters concerning health professionals we are resolute in protecting the professional reputation of our clients.

 

General Professional Indemnity

 

Our principals have acted for insurers and insureds in professional indemnity matters involving a broad field of professions including - accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, architects, valuers, engineers, real estate agents, conveyancers, public relations consultants, immigrations agents and doctors.

 

We currently hold appointments on the panels of a large number the major PI underwriters in the market including various Lloyds Syndicates.

 

The small number of reported decisions involving Gilchrist Connell demonstrates our success in achieving advantageous results via negotiations and alternative dispute resolution. We do understand however that there are some cases where a decision must be pursued to verdict. We only ever consider pursuing a decision after conducting a full cost / benefit analysis.

 

We are keenly aware that indemnity is paramount for both the insurer and the insured in PI claims, and treat this as a priority. We are also mindful of the issues that arise when an insured carries a large deductible, and of the need to carefully balance the interests of the insured and the insurer.

 

We currently act for clients with professional indemnity deductibles or self-insured retentions ranging from $50,000 to $1M and regularly handle the various tensions around claims regarded as “under excess” or borderline. 

 

In particular, we have acted for a major South Australian commercial builder in a number of matters and for an international engineering firm in a high profile multi-party PI class action claim which resolved at mediation.

 

The size and experience of our team means that we have dealt with matters ranging from the smallest conveyancing dispute up the major class actions arising out of financial planning schemes worth tens of millions of dollars - and all sizes and shapes of claim in between.

 

Directors & Officers

 

We act in D&O claims on instructions from the major insurers/underwriters in the market. Our experience in D&O matters goes back 20+ years to the Bond group litigation (JN Taylor Holdings). We also gained experience from former team members’ involvement in large-scale litigation including the Adsteam & Duke claims.

 

While the background to settled claims is highly confidential, we can confirm that we have achieved excellent settlements in defending claims of insolvent trading, allegedly negligent maintenance of corporate documentation and unfair employment contract claims.

 

Our approach to D&O claims adopts many of the techniques utilised for complex PI claims, however we recognise that D&O claims involve additional complexities. For example, D&O claims often involve a number of separately represented company officers as co-defendants. In one large claim against the MD of a mining company, we adopted a policy of close co-operation between similarly placed co-defendants to ensure a joint front in defending the claim.

 

Other challenges which we have managed include potential uninsured losses (addressed via good communication with the insured and making sure that they obtain independent legal advice if needed), questions of dual insurance (which we have pursued against a professional indemnity insurer), and the need to co-operate with the company entity if joined (we recently adopted a collegiate approach with the company's solicitor in an unfair employment claim).

 

We are always keenly aware of the need to carefully manage reputation issues in D&O claims and have similar experience acting for a major underwriter defending smaller claims in the related field of Associations' Liability claims.