Skip to main content
article thumbnail

Philippa Spence

Senior Associate


+61 2 6210 4246

Philippa is an experienced government lawyer skilled in administrative law, litigation and alternative dispute resolution and holds a Master of Laws (with Distinction).


Philippa has held senior government roles responsible for legislation, policy and programs and worked as a senior lawyer within the Australian Government Solicitor. She has worked in a range of jurisdictions, most recently as Deputy Registrar of the ACT Magistrates Court with a focus on Industrial Court matters and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She has previously worked in civil and criminal law for the federal government agencies and was an international advisor.


Philippa has contributed to the success of Commonwealth clients through the provision of legal advice and representation in relation to employment, work health and safety (WHS) and compensation matters. Examples include:

  • advice to, and representation of, Comcare on merits of applications to the AAT for claims pursuant to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
  • advice on WHS issues pursuant to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 and relevant Codes of Practice
  • advice to the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation as respondent of claims in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) pursuant to the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Act 1973 and Military Superannuation and Benefits Act 1991
  • advice to various government departments on issues of code of conduct investigations, unfair dismissal and employment contracts pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009 and relevant awards
  • assisting the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on compensation matters arising from findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Philippa was Senior Director for the ACT Government’s Legislation, Policy and Programs branch of the Justice and Community Services Directorate, where she prepared and instructed on many legislative amendments for debate in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

As Deputy Registrar, Philippa exercised powers delegated by the Chief Magistrate to hear and decide civil applications and acted as both conciliator and mediator in court ordered matters. Philippa managed the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit comprising of external mediators and conduct court appointed in-house mediations.

Other significant experience includes:

  • international adviser through Australian and US government grants
  • counsel for the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
  • legal adviser to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.



The Leadership Award, Justice and Community Safety Directorate



  • Bachelor of Arts, 2001, Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Laws, 2003, Australian National University
  • Master of Laws, 2015, University of Wollongong

Specialist Accreditations

  • Accredited Mediator – 2006
  • Program on Negotiation, Executive Class 2018, Harvard Law School


  • Member of the Australian Disputes Centre
  • Member of the ACT Law Society’s Civil Litigation Committee