EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE
Stephen worked in private practice in England before moving to Australia. He has now worked with Moray & Agnew for more than 12 years.
Stephen has extensive litigation experience and has undertaken numerous cases on behalf of insured professionals, including accountants, financial planners, lawyers, architects, engineers and building surveyors. His present practice comprises mostly defendant litigation on behalf of municipalities and water authorities, usually on instructions from their professional indemnity and public liability insurers. Recent cases have included several arising from contaminated landfill, one involving contamination from an illicit methamphetamine laboratory and a number involving the allegedly negligent issue of building, planning and subdivision permits, Council tenders and claims under ss 15, 16, 155 and 157 of the Water Act 1989 (Vic).
He has also drafted policy wordings for builders warranty insurers for use in Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions.
Stephen practises in Victoria and Tasmania and litigates in the Federal Court, Supreme Court, County Court, Magistrates Court and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Stephen has conducted matters on behalf of MAV Insurance and Suncorp / Vero. Other clients for whom he has acted include Munich Re, Allianz, Contractors Bonding Ltd, Calliden Limited, Lumley Insurance, Axis and Claims Services Australia Pty Limited.
Stephen’s experience includes:
- Acted for a Victorian rural water authority in a number of claims arising from flooding in northern Victoria in early 2011, the largest of which involved a claim for physical damage and loss of profits from an agricultural property in excess of $15 million. The claims were brought under ss155 and 157 of the Water Act and most were resolved at mediation / compulsory conference on a ‘walk away’ basis.
- Acted for a local authority in respect of an application made to amend a planning permit which the authority had granted for renovation and extension work to an aged care facility. The applicant alleged the authority had failed to take account of heritage considerations relating to a historic former convent building which it owned on a neighbouring site. He was able to settle the proceeding on the basis that certain amendments would be made to the planning permit and the authority would bear its own costs.
- Acted for a local authority in a claim for negligence relating to the grant of a planning permit for a commercial development on a site contaminated by its former use as a service station. Damages of approximately $1 million were claimed. The claim was not pursued as he was able to persuade the claimant’s solicitors that it was statute barred.
- Acted for a local authority in a multi-party County Court proceeding in which Council was alleged to have negligently granted a planning permit for the construction of a service station which blocked the entrance to the plaintiff’s property. He was able to persuade the plaintiff to settle with Council on a ‘walk away’ basis, with other defendants agreeing to pay damages and undertake remedial work.
- Acted for a local authority sued by a property owner (a subsequent purchaser of the property) for granting a building permit and certificate of occupancy negligently or in breach of statutory duty, in circumstances where the building was ‘under designed’ and structurally inadequate. Damages of $2.5 million were claimed. He was able to persuade the claimants to discontinue the claim on a ‘walk away’ basis on the grounds it was statute barred and the Council owed no duty of care to a subsequent purchaser.