Stephen has an honours Law Degree from Melbourne University, where he has so far more recently completed 5 out of 8 subjects for a Master of Laws with straight first class honours (The Insurance Contract, Professional Indemnity Insurance, Insurance Litigation, Advanced Litigation, and Proof in Litigation).
He read with Danny Masel, and Peter Riordan QC was his senior mentor.
Before coming to the Bar, Stephen spent more than a decade in Middletons' commercial litigation department. He has conducted commercial and insurance litigation in every Victorian Court, the Federal and High Courts, and in VCAT and the Legal Profession Tribunal, and has published and presented widely on insurance law, professional liability, practical evidence, proportionate liability, and professional ethics. He publishes the Australian Professional Liability Blog.
Stephen specialises in all aspects of the Legal Profession Act, 2004 and has extensive experience in dealing with the Legal Services Commissioner and Law Institute of Victoria. More generally, he specialises in professional-client disputes, and professional discipline. He also specialises in insurance law, and is the author of Commbar’s insurance and professional negligence legal updates newsletter. In addition, he has a diverse commercial litigation practice.
Amongst other matters since he has come to the Bar, Stephen:
• was briefed as junior to Dr Cliff Pannam QC, Greg Garde QC, Tim North SC, Chris Caleo SC, Mark Dreyfus QC, and David Collins SC and as co-counsel with Alan Sandbach and Bernie Quinn;
• appeared alone and with a leader in Supreme Court trials, alone in Supreme Court summary judgment applications, with a leader in Supreme Court injunction applications, and alone in trials in VCAT’s Legal Practice List and Civil List and in interlocutory applications and applications to set aside default judgments in the Supreme Court, Magistrates’ Court, and VCAT;
• acted in disputes over property in the Supreme Court, including defending individuals against 3 banks’ applications for possession in cases involving forgeries;
• gave advice about proportionate liability to defendants in a Federal Court shareholder class action and in other matters;
• advised on advocates’ immunity in several matters;
• drew professional negligence claims against solicitors, financiers, environmental consultants, and accountants on behalf of individuals, government and state authorities;
• defended estate agents, solicitors, and senior and junior counsel against negligence claims;
• represented solicitors in responding to complaints made to the Legal Services Commissioner;
• acted for solicitors in a former client’s application to set aside a costs agreement, against a solicitor in a Supreme Court solicitor-client taxation, for solicitors in suits for fees, and for solicitors in a VCAT Legal Practice List costs dispute;
• acted in several Fair Trading Act, 1999 matters;
• applied for an injunction in the Supreme Court’s Commercial List to enjoin a firm of solicitors from continuing to act;
• defended clients against whom the Law Institute sought injunctions for unqualified legal practice and the receivership of a legal practice, acted for a solicitor who applied to VCAT for merits review of a peremptory cancellation of his practising certificate, and acted for a doctor who sought to challenge her non-admission to practice;
• advised a litigation funder and other litigants on legal professional privilege and was involved in a multi-party discovery battle in the Supreme Court;
• advised a publicly listed health industry company on statutory interpretation; and
• defended a claim of defamation on the internet, drew a defamation claim, and gave advice in other defamation matters.