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Scott Cowell

Partner

Brisbane

+61 7 3225 5909 0421 218 867

Scott leads a team specialising in public and products liability, professional indemnity (injury claims only), property and ISR and dust / toxic tort matters. His practical and expert advice is highly sought after in his client’s most complicated cases.

EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE

Scott joined Moray & Agnew in in 2000, and has been a partner of the firm since 2011.

Scott’s clients include major domestic and international insurers, loss adjusters, underwriters and large self-insured corporates. While predominately acting in matters in Queensland, Scott has handled claims in every Australian jurisdiction, as well as matters in a number of Asian and Pacific nations.

Scott is well renowned for achieving prompt and cost effective outcomes for his clients, which cater for the full spectrum of their risks. Scott’s breathe of both insurer and self-insured clients mean that he is acutely aware of, and crafts legal responses that cater for, the other risks they may face in any dispute – for example media/reputational risks.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Scott is currently handling over 50 nervous shock and loss of dependency claims, and overseeing for insurers the resulting coroner’s inquest and workplace health and safety prosecution, resulting from one accident. We understand that this is the single largest piece of injury litigation on foot in Australia following a single event.

Scott has created the law on how aspects of the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 ('PIPA') should be interpreted. Examples include:

  • Interpacific Resorts (Australia) Pty Ltd v Austar Entertainment Pty Ltd [2005] 2 Qd R 23. Scott successfully argued in the Supreme Court of Queensland that respondents should be entitled to serve contribution notices outside the time period prescribed by PIPA. This decision resulted in easing the pressure on insurers to make decisions about joining parties without first finalising their investigations, and remains the leading decision in this area.
  • Lee v Omni Leisure Operations Pty Ltd [2008] VSC 272. Scott acted for the defendant in this leading decision on the interaction between s59(2)(b) PIPA and the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 (Qld). This matter also involved cross-jurisdictional and choice of law issues (proceedings were started in Victoria, but the substantive law of Queensland applied). While the plaintiff was allowed to proceed with his claim despite it being prima facie statute barred, Scott obtained a significant costs order against the plaintiff’s lawyers for the benefit of his client.

In addition, examples of major matters Scott as handled include:

  • Advising a major insurer in a dispute regarding an allegation of illusory cover, in a $26 million plus claim involving a public utility damaged in the 2011 Queensland floods. Advice was provided, and the claim resolved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, within one month of instructions. The claim involved significant broker intervention, as the utility had to be repaired so its pending sale could be completed within six months of the floods.
  • Advising various insurers as to the application of numerous potential weather deductibles, in a $15 million plus property damage and business interruption claim made by a multinational transport operator, arising from the flooding and rain throughout eastern Australia in late 2010 / early 2011. Such was insurer’s confidence in Scott’s advice that a copy was provided to the insured and its multinational broker, and Scott then negotiated a settlement of the dispute at a 30 plus attendee (including multiple broker representatives) mediation.
  • Advising upon the application of a policy of insurance issued to a multi-national bank regarding its property damage and business interruption arising out of the Christchurch earthquake. A loss adjuster appointed by insurers recommended that the claim not be paid, which could have resulted in significant litigation. Scott reviewed this decision, provided advice that in fact the claim should be paid, and resolved the matter within one month of instructions.

RECOGNITION

Recognised by various independent global legal guides, including:

  • Ranked in the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers® in Australia list in 2020
  • Ranked as a Leading Lawyer – Public & Product Liability (Defendant) in Queensland by Doyle’s Guide 2020
  • Ranked as a Recommended Lawyer – Professional Indemnity (Defendant) in Queensland by Doyle’s Guide 2019.

Expertise

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws (with Honours), 2000, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Commerce, 2000, Griffith University

Memberships

  • Australian Insurance Law Association
  • Law Society of Queensland