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John Solomon

Canberra Managing Partner

Canberra

+61 2 6210 4201

John is the Managing Partner of the Canberra office and has nearly 30 years’ experience in insurance litigation, predominately acting in CTP matters in both NSW and the ACT for a wide variety of insurers.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

John served as an officer in the Royal Australian Navy for nearly 10 years. As well as serving at sea, he was involved in various high profile matters involving the Commonwealth, including the HMAS VOYAGER litigation. He also worked in the Directorate of Litigation for the Department of Defence and also was the officer in charge of all asbestos litigation for the Department for several years.

As well as having a wealth of CTP experience John has been involved in several ground breaking cases in the CTP sphere. Examples include:

  • Carr v Needham [2019] ACTSC 98 – Allowed an insurer to withdraw or amend an admission of liability after proceedings have been commenced
  • Jausnik v Nominal Defendant (No 5) [2016] ACTSC 306 – Successfully defended a claim brought against police involved in a fatal pursuit on the ACT – NSW border. The matter had attracted significant media interest, involved complex jurisdictional issues, and required sensitivity both with respect to protecting the reputation of the NSW Police Force and the officer involved.
  • Mannall v Howard (No 2) [2019] ACTSC113 – Successfully defended a claim on the basis that the accident did not occur on a road related area. A verdict in the insurers favour was also entered on the grounds that we successfully argued that the plaintiff had made an election not to pursue a CTP claim pursuant to s44 of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth).
  • Taylor Draper v Brooke Catlin – John is presently defending a claim against a drug affected claimant who attempted to assault the insured and fell from the front of the insured’s vehicle, causing catastrophic injuries. The claim is one in which we are likely to challenge the decision of Axiak v Ingram [2012] NSWCA 311, the current law relating to blameless accidents in NSW.
  • Noakes v Beveridge [2014] ACTSC177 – Tested the scope of s139 of the Road Transport (Third Party Insurance) Act 2008 (ACT) as to whether a party can execute a certificate of readiness in circumstances where it intends to obtain further evidence after the compulsory conference
  • Incandela v Bobanovic [2013] ACTSC 213 – Defended a claim involving various allegations of fraud including a staged accident and manufactured evidence. It was also necessary to regularly apply to the Court to withhold material from the plaintiff to prevent furtherance of the fraud and to protect witnesses. This matter produced a chain of decision relating to the application of s110 and the permitted procedures to allow a defendant to withhold evidence from production due to the reasonable suspicion of fraud.

In addition, in his role as the office in charge of dust diseases claims for the Commonwealth, John was closely involved in the development of the discovery list relied upon by the Commonwealth in dust matters. This entailed personally inspecting thousands of documents in National Archives.

John takes a pragmatic and no-nonsense approach to matters and prides himself on being proactive in quickly finalising claims on the best terms possible for clients.

John’s forensic eye for detail has also attracted work in matters requiring forensic investigation such as fraud matters.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

John was selected as the only lawyer for a large insurer to undertake a settlement project of hundreds of files. This involved providing advice, arranging and negotiating settlements and resulted in very significant legal and claims costs savings to the insurer.

As Managing Partner, he has overseen the large and sustained growth of the Canberra office which is now one of the largest firms in the ACT and southern NSW.

RECOGNITION

Awards

Ranked in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers® in Australia list since 2021.

Ranked as a Preeminent Lawyer – Compulsory Third Party (Defendant) in ACT by Doyle's Guide 2020.

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, 1991
  • Bachelor of Laws, 1991
  • Mediator, 1999
  • GAICD, 2020

Memberships

  • ACT Law Society Conduct Committee Member
  • AFL ACT Tribunal Member
  • Basketball ACT – Vice President
  • Former Permanent Officer in Royal Australian Navy
  • Naval Reserve Officer