Professional Service Providers

Professional Service Providers (which may be companies, partnerships or sole traders) covers a broad range of professional disciplines including accountants, auditors, barristers, body corporates, company directors and officers, construction professionals (including architects, certifiers, engineers and surveyors), health practitioners (medical, dental and allied health), financial and investment advisors and brokers, insurance brokers, migration agents, real estate agents, solicitors and valuers. 

Carter Newell provides legal services to this wide range of professional service providers across the various aspects of their businesses with a core focus on defending civil claims and disciplinary complaints, and advising in relation to insurance, such as Professional Liability and Directors’ and Officers’ Liability insurance.

Providing legal support in the defence of claims against professionals is a complex and sensitive area, often involving reputational impact. Claims made against directors and officers of companies and organisations, including sporting bodies and body corporates, are also highly sensitive in nature and can often arise out of corporate mergers, sales and acquisitions. 

Class action litigation against professionals or company officers demands specific expertise in the face of specialised court processes and often aggressive pursuit by litigation funders. Carter Newell’s experience in this field enables our clients’ defence to be effectively pursued in close working and strategic cooperation with applicable insurers.

In addition to handling claims, disputes and insurance issues, Carter Newell also assists with the legal requirements of professional businesses including: partnership agreements, employment and contractor arrangements, leasing, supplier agreements, securities and financing.

What sets us apart

Carter Newell has:

  • a dedicated team supporting clients in relation to cyber security, including data security requirements and the prompt and efficient management of cyber security breaches;
  • extensive experience in defending claims against accountants, barristers and solicitors, with a team operating specifically in this sector for more than 25 years;
  • a highly-regarded team offering specialised advice and representation to all elements of the construction and engineering industry; and
  • specific expertise in providing support to real estate professionals, with a team dedicated to handling insurance issues and claims against real estate principals and agents.

Recognised expertise

Medical

We act for private and public hospitals, specialist clinics and other health care professionals. We recently defended a pathology service in relation to proceedings brought by a widow. It was alleged that the misdiagnosis of a melanoma caused the patient’s death.

Barristers

We have represented barristers for over 30 years including sitting Federal Magistrates and Federal Court Judges with respect to matters arising from work pursuant to the private bar. These claims have challenged the advice received and the advocacy skills of the barristers.  

Privacy

We acted in relation to the inadvertent breach of sensitive data due to poor data sharing practices. We advised in relation to the obligations under the Privacy Act 1998 (Cth) and assisted the client in implementing an IT Response Plan, which included taking urgent steps to ensure that no further breaches occurred and notifying affected individuals.

Engineer / Surveyor

We have advised on various multi party Supreme Court proceedings for defective building or engineering works and developments involving consulting engineers and contractors, town planners, surveyors and local authorities, involving a complex analysis of proportionate liability and quantum by reference to rectification costs and alleged consequential loss.

The successful defence at trial of a claim against a civil engineer following the collapse of a building that killed four workmen.

Berwick v Wickens, John Lay and R J Watkinson & Partners (January 2000, unreported)

Cyber breach

We advised and assisted a professional indemnity insurer with respect to multiple claims under a cyber liability endorsement for first party hacker damage, in particular, ransomware attacks on computer systems. On each occasion, a crypto locker virus had been utilised by the hackers, with a demand to pay a ransom in Bitcoins in order to regain access to their computer systems. Some of the insureds were seeking to recover the ransom monies paid, whilst others were seeking reimbursement of the costs incurred in restoring and rebuilding their computer networks, thereby necessitating a detailed consideration of the costs incurred in restoring the networks. We advised the insurer with respect to policy coverage, the proper quantification of the claims as well insureds’ entitlements to the retainer of PR and media advisers to mitigate damage to their reputations under the reputation repair extension of the policy.

Financial Advisor / Mortgage Broker

In addition to acting as coverage counsel, and monitoring and working with defence counsel, in two class actions and in proceedings brought by ASIC and ACCC, we represented fund managers in the defence of large, class action type complaints brought by disgruntled investors and financial advisers in respect to failed property syndicates and investment funds.

We acted in the successful defence at trial of a claim against a firm of accountants for alleged professional negligence, in respect of which our client obtained an order to recover its costs on an indemnity basis. 

Davan Developments Pty Ltd v HLB Mann Judd (SE Qld) Pty Ltd [2015] QDC 121

Successfully defended at trial a claim against a finance broker where our client recovered its costs on an indemnity basis in reliance on a Calderbank offer made before trial.

BOQ Equipment Finance Pty Ltd v Visposin Pty Ltd & Ors [2011] QDC 266

Class Action

Represented Tower Insurers in the $1.5 billon class action being prosecuted against dam engineers at Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam arising out of the 2011 Queensland floods.

Related services and sectors

Publications and Presentations