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Norman Abrams

Partner

Melbourne

+61 3 8687 7371

Norman has more than 30 years of legal experience. He acts for all levels of government in Federal and State Tribunals where he also practices for corporate entities. Norman has a particular focus on providing advice on regulatory compliance and administrative law requirements, and defending litigation involving government.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

Norman’s extensive skill brings a strategic, legally sound and pragmatic approach to all matters. He is always acutely aware of the environment in which he works when acting for public sector clients

In addition to providing advice, Norman also defends litigation involving government in a broad range of matters both unique to the public section and more broadly.

A large part of Norman’s practice is in the area of in workplace health and safety (WHS/OHS).

Norman is an active member of the Commonwealth Compensation and Employment committee of the Law Council of Australia. Norman has also worked with many clients in making submissions to government, particularly in the area of proposed statutory changes and often in the area of health and safety.

Norman acts for Commonwealth and State departments and agencies, as well as local government councils and other clients in managing the appropriate response to WHS/OHS issues that might arise following involvement of the regulator or as a result of an incident. His advice is not only reactive, as he works with clients in a proactive fashion.

He has also worked for government agencies in administrative law/regulatory proceedings in Federal and State Tribunals and Courts.

Norman also have a broad-ranging litigation practice involving property damage claims, claims for pure economic loss and breach of contract disputes.

He acts for a number of Commonwealth agencies, state government departments, local government clients and corporate clients in providing legal advice, advocacy services and risk management advice and assistance in a range of areas.

Norman works with clients in a proactive fashion to also ensure that regulatory decisions are made in a sound and proper basis, often underpinned by effective systems and practises. That also includes defending reviews of decisions.

Norman has a strong track record in acting for clients in work health and safety matters, with particular expertise in advising government departments, agencies and private sector clients on compliance with their health and safety duties. He also manages the legal and directional response to WHS issues that may arise. In a proactive fashion he has assisted in the implementation of safety systems and auditing for compliance with due diligence obligations.

Norman has acted in numerous matters in courts and tribunals for an extended time and that provides a unique and balanced expertise and experience, regardless of the simplicity or complexity of a matter.

Norman undertakes solicitor advocacy where appropriate to do so. He is focussed on a cost effective and legally compliant outcome. He has been able to develop insights because of the types of matters he has been involved in over an extended period of time.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Successfully acting for a Commonwealth agency in instructing the Solicitor-General in the High Court in the State Insurance Office case
  • Acting for a Commonwealth agency in successfully appealing to the High Court in a matter involving pure economic loss as well as defining recovery in tort law and potentially recovery from joint tortfeasors
  • Acting for the first Commonwealth agency in negotiating and then drafting an Enforceable Undertaking that was entered into under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth)
  • Following a hearing of just under 4 weeks, successfully defending two charges brought under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) against a large Commonwealth agency. Both charges were dismissed (decision handed down 19 November 2020).

RECOGNITION

Ranked in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers® in Australia list each year from 2012 to date.

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons), 1983, Monash University
  • Bachelor of Economics (Accounting Major), 1982, Monash University
  • Criminal Law – Butterworths prize winner
  • Monash University Moot Court representative
  • Bond University Mediation Training Course

Memberships

  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Law Council of Australia (Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section; Commonwealth Compensation and Employment Committee)
  • CPA Australia