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Brett Weir

Senior Consultant

Melbourne

+61 3 8687 7310

Brett has practised in insurance litigation for over 40 years. He was the founding partner of Connery & Partners Melbourne in 1988 which merged with Moray & Agnew in 2004.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

Admitted as a solicitor in 1979, Brett has acted on behalf of numerous Australian and international insurers in all Victorian jurisdictions as well as interstate. His expertise includes public and product liability, fire and property, industrial special risk, professional indemnity and sports law.

Brett has a particular interest in sports law and has acted on behalf of all Victorian ski resorts and currently acts for Buller Ski Lifts Pty Ltd. He has provided extensive risk management advice to ski resorts including seminars to mountain staff, ski patrollers and instructors on various risk management and safety issues. He has acted for the Victorian resorts in drafting of liability exclusion / limitation clauses and safety signs to be used in terrain parks.

Brett has managed a multitude of public liability claims, including slips and falls on behalf of shopping centres and cleaners, industrial accidents, Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) recovery actions under s138 of the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic), motor vehicle claims, marine related injuries and product liability claims.

Brett’s clients comment on his pragmatic commercial approach to litigation, noting that he is equally talented in formulating and delivering a fierce legal strategy. In the 2017 edition of The Legal 500, he was recognised for his quality work in the area of public and product liability, including his prowess as a good negotiator.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Early in his career, Brett acted in the successful defence of an arson / fraud matter relying on the insured’s non-disclosure in the reported case of Prime Forme Cutting Pty Ltd & Ors v Baltica General Insurance Co Ltd & Anor (1991) 6 ANZ Insurance Cases 61-028.

For approximately five years, Brett acted for HIH, the professional indemnity insurer of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria scheme, in the defence of various claims against real estate agents alleging breaches of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) for misleading and deceptive conduct, including the successful defence of claims against valuers.

Brett defended the European insurer of a global supplier of polypropylene resins in a Supreme Court of Victoria action by the membrane’s manufacturer with allegations that the resin caused degradation of hundreds of membranes throughout Australia. Worldwide, this claim had the potential of hundreds of millions of dollars and involved retaining the leading Swiss expert who wrote the textbook on polypropylene resins. The claim was settled for a sum less than the plaintiff’s costs.

Brett has acted in the defence of numerous claims against various sporting organisations, including the Victorian Ski Resorts. He acted on behalf of Falls Creek in a coroner’s inquest into the death of a boy who lost control on a run and collided with a tree. Issues included adequacy of fencing and whether a helmet would have prevented his death. To assist in the defence of these claims, Brett retains the leading American experts.  

In the matter of Rakich v Bounce Australia Pty Ltd [2016] VSCA 289, Brett successfully defended a claim by a customer who was injured playing dodgeball on a trampoline at Bounce’s premises. Issues involved the application of exclusion of liability clauses for customers attending premises, inherent and obvious risk sections of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic), provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), voluntary assumption of risk and adequacy of warning for risk of injury and instructions for the use of trampolines. The jury found in favour of Bounce that the plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risk of injury; the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria upheld the jury’s findings.

RECOGNITION

Recognised by various global leading guides, including:

  • The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 edition noted Brett Weir was a ‘good negotiator’
  • Ranked in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers® in Australia list since 2020.

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws, 1978, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Commerce, 1978, University of Melbourne