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General Liability

You benefit from direct access to the most highly regarded general liability experts in Australia.

Gilchrist Connell defends thousands of claims every year for self insured and insurers, including in some of Australia’s largest and most significant general liability matters.

We act for a diverse range of defendants including:

  • supermarkets
  • property owners, commercial and domestic occupiers, landlords, and managers
  • restaurateurs and hoteliers
  • shopping centre operators, cleaning contractors and shop owners
  • security companies
  • building contractors
  • detention centre operators.

Our expertise covers the peculiarities of each Australian state and territory, including personal injury claims brought under the pre-action process under the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) (PIPA).

We have extensive experience in dealing with workers’ compensation recovery actions in every Australian jurisdiction, and the various and complex issues which are often associated with those matters – particularly in multi-defendant actions in industrial or construction settings.

We also regularly provide policy coverage and monitoring advice in some of the largest and most complex public and product liability disputes in Australia, including many class actions. We also draft policy wordings for insurers and underwriting agencies, particularly for the London market.

Significant Cases

Below are some of the significant cases:

  • Acting as coverage counsel for an excess insurer in the two class actions arising from the 2011 Queensland Floods where quantum is said to amount to $2 billion
  • Acting for the head contractor and its insurer in relation to detention centre claims involving detainees offshore. This involves contracts with the Commonwealth department, and significant claims for contribution from sub-contractors along with the application of the laws of foreign countries for damages actions brought in Australia
  • Marvoe Management Pty Ltd v Plantation Management Services (WA) Pty Ltd (No 5) [2017] NSWSC 1167, $10M NSW Supreme Court product liability litigation involving failure of the NT seedless watermelon crop
  • McVicar v S & J White Pty Ltd t/as Arab Steed Hotel (2007) 97 SASR 160 Full Court appeal against determination finding occupier not liable for injuries sustained by contractor employee
  • Major national product recall cases involving food and vehicle manufacturing, for example the Nippy’s Orange Juice class action – a major product liability and product recall case arising out of contamination of orange juice with Salmonella leading to in excess of 500 personal injury claims and a subrogated recovery action against the supplier of juicing oranges
  • Neindorf v Junkovic (2005) 222 ALR 631, involving liability of private occupiers
  • Scott v Davis (2000) 204 CLR 333, involving vicarious liability
  • Modbury Triangle v Anzil (2000) 205 CLR 254, involving commercial occupier’s liability for acts of strangers.

Our philosophy

Our goals align with those of our clients:

  • delivering on KPIs, such as realistic reserving
  • reducing the life of file
  • producing optimum results in the minimum time
  • controlling gross claims costs rather than fixating on any one aspect of the claim
  • undertaking a cost / benefit analysis for every claim.

We work to these goals in all matters – from small high volume claims to large high value disputes and catastrophic injuries – providing consistently high service and value.

We offer a streamlined claims management approach.  For those matters that should be settled we aim to do so at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our clients can be confident we have the capabilities to expertly represent and serve their and their customer’s interests.

Contact us for further information on how our team can assist you.