CONTRIBUTORS

Brooke Dellavedova

Principal

Brooke Dellavedova is one of Australia’s most experienced class actions lawyers. She is a Principal based in Maurice Blackburn's Melbourne office. She has acted for claimants in a number of significant, high profile class actions, including: The Murrindindi-Marysville Black Saturday Bushfire class action, which settled for $300m in 2015; The Air Cargo class action against major international airlines in relation to the provision of air freight services; The Vitamins class action, the first successful class action for victims of price fixing in Australian history; An action by shareholders against ASX-listed insurer QBE Insurance Group Limited alleging QBE breached its continuous disclosure obligations, engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, and made false or misleading statements; and A shareholder class action against education provider Vocation Limited. She also lead the team that successfully represented indigenous land owners in their Federal Court challenge to the placement of a nuclear waste dump on Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory. Brooke has written, presented and drafted submissions to Government on a range of competition and class action issues, and co-authored the Australian chapter of the American Antitrust Institute's International Handbook On Private Enforcement Of Competition Law. She is a Guest Lecturer in the Master of Laws program at the University of Melbourne and the Bachelor of Laws program at Victoria University. Brooke has a particular interest in women's justice. She has been a convenor of the firm's Women's Network, and was formerly a director of Australian Women Lawyers and assistant convenor of Victorian Women Lawyers. Brooke holds Honours in Laws from the University of Melbourne and was admitted to practice law in 2000. She was appointed to Principal in 2010. Memberships Law Institute of Victoria member Law Council of Australia Business Law Section Competition and Consumer Committee member International Bar Association member Victorian Women Lawyers member Awards General Excellence - Private Practice Award, Victorian Women Lawyers, 2012 Australian Law Award Best Dispute Resolution Team, 2015 Australian Law Award Best Dispute Resolution Team, 2016 ...

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Giri Sivaraman

Principal

Giri Sivaraman is a Principal at Maurice Blackburn. He is the head of the firm’s Queensland Employment law department based in Brisbane, which is listed by the highly respected Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession as one of two top tier law firms for employees in Queensland. Giri is recognised as a preeminent lawyer for employees in Queensland by Doyle's Guide and he is a member of the Law Society of Queensland employment law subcommittee. He is also a LSQ accredited specialist in workplace relations and a Law Society of NSW accredited specialist in employment and industrial law. Giri has 15 years’ experience providing a full range of legal services to executive and employment law clients including CEOs of ASX 200 listed companies, the CEO of a prominent NGO, the CEO of a large software developer, executives in the financial and banking sectors, medical professionals, senior public servants, senior marketing executives and incorporated associations. Giri sees clients throughout Queensland and provides advice and legal representation in all areas of employment law including workplace bullying, employment contracts, redundancy, restraint of trade, discrimination, sexual harassment, adverse action, and unfair dismissal. He is also experienced in representing employees including very senior executives who are the subject of workplace investigations and disciplinary processes. Giri has negotiated a number of significant out of court settlements, and notes that the vast majority of his cases are successfully settled without going to court. He is conscious of the discretion required when dealing with people’s livelihood and reputation, noting that legal action is not often something a client will want splashed across the front page of the major newspapers. His significant cases include: headed the pro bono scheme for underpaid 7-Eleven workers run by Maurice Blackburn bringing one of the first successful adverse action cases under the new Fair Work Act representing an aircraft engineer who had his work rights breached representing Aid/Watch in the High Court, successfully challenging the Australian Taxation Office’s decision to deny it charitable status. This case significantly altered Australian tax law and enabled many charities to retain their charitable status successfully resolved breach of contract claim for CEO of multinational software company winning a discrimination case on behalf of a Senior police officer dismissed for discriminatory reasons defending and assisting the CEO of an ASX 200 company in response to serious allegations of harassment, and appeared before the Commonwealth Government Parliamentary Inquiry into corporate avoidance of the Fair Work Act. Giri’s influence as a thought leader in employment law in Australia is also well recognised. He addressed the Commonwealth House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment on the need for new anti-bullying laws, and was delighted to see those laws enacted in 2014. He was also invited to make submissions to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Bullying at NSW WorkCover, and is a regular contributor to public debate on employment issues. He also helped provide the seed which grew to establish Unions 4 Refugees in Queensland. Memberships and awards Preeminent Employment Lawyer in Queensland - Doyle's Guide 2017 Leading Employment Lawyer in Queensland and Australia - Doyle's Guide 2016 Recommended Employment Lawyer - Doyle's Guide 2014 & 2015 Law Society of Queensland employment law subcommittee Queensland Law Society member NSW Law Society member  ...

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Liberty Sanger

Victorian Head of Road and Work Injuries

Liberty Sanger is a Principal, Board member and Practice Group Leader at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, co-leading the Victorian WorkCover and Road Accident injuries (TAC) departments. Liberty is a qualified Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist and she is recognised by the prestigious Doyles Guide as one of only five leading lawyers in workers' compensation in Victoria. Liberty says she became a lawyer to help people. “I love getting excellent results for my clients. The process of obtaining compensation can be very stressful and confusing. Having to navigate your way through the WorkCover system at the same time as dealing with the consequences of your injury and the permanent changes to your life and life plans can be completely overwhelming. Knowing this, I am driven to make sure that I take that stress away from my clients and get them the best result possible. I have been told by many clients that having Maurice Blackburn on their side from the beginning of their claim took a load off their mind, and that the compensation I have obtained for them has made a real difference to their lives. Knowing the approach to my work and the outcomes I achieve has had that impact on their lives is incredibly satisfying.” Liberty is Chair of Maurice Blackburn’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, which is charged with recommending strategies and initiatives to the Board to ensure that every employee feels comfortable to bring their whole unique self to work and thrive in an accepting and supportive environment. She has also been appointed Chair of the Victorian Government’s Equal Workplaces Advisory Council as part of their Gender Equality Strategy. The Council has been asked to identify government action that will promote the achievement of gender equality, to identify promote and publish good practice examples of initiatives that work to promote gender equality and to consider the issues and linkages relating to pay equity, equality and productivity to achieve equitable outcomes for women and men. "While we've achieved a lot, there is still a long way to go. When you look at the data, you see significant gaps in the areas of pay, leadership and workforce participation, and a grossly disproportionate representation of women affected by family violence, bullying and harassment. And there can’t be any explanation for this other than differential treatment of the genders. The good news is that we can take action to redress all of these things. While it will take courage and leadership from all of us to do so, we will all benefit when we get there," says Liberty. Liberty was raised in Wodonga and stayed true to her roots while progressing social agendas on national platforms through a number of political and community organisations. A self-confessed “committed unionist and opinionated chatterbox”, Liberty regularly voices her views on The Friday Wrap with Jon Faine on 774 Melbourne radio, by reviewing newspapers on ABC News Breakfast with Virginia Trioli and Michael Rowland, and as a regular panelist on Politics HQ on Sky TV. She has also been a guest on the ABC’s Q & A TV show.  Memberships & accreditations Law Institute of Victoria Member Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist Australian Lawyers Alliance Member Maurice Blackburn Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee Chair (2017-present) Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust Member (2017-present) Equal Workplaces Advisory Council Chair (2017-present) McKell Institute Advisory Board member (2016-present) YWCA Life Member Emergency Services State Super Fund Board Director (2010-2013) Federation Square Pty/Ltd Board Director (2009-2012) Victoria Law Foundation Board Director (2004-2009) Liquor Control Advisory Council Chair (2006-2009) Media Code of Conduct Working Group on Body Image Chair (2007-2008) Awards Doyles Guide - Work Injury Compensation Lawyer, Vic - Leading lawyer, 2016, 2017 ...

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Dimi Ioannou

National Head of Public Liability and Consumer Protection

Dimi Ioannou is a principal and Practice Group Leader at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers in charge of the firm’s Public and Product Liability team in Melbourne. Dimi is an accredited specialist in personal injury law. Dimi works in the area of public liability and represents clients in a wide range of consumer law litigation involving different product liability claims. Dimi also represents families at coronial inquests, acting on behalf of the families of those who have died as a result of negligence, as well as many victims of institutional abuse. She is specially trained in trauma informed practice which ensures she works with clients to access justice in a way that recognises the complex trauma they have suffered. Dimi has also represented hundreds of road accident clients who have lodged compensation claims with the Transport Accident Commission. Dimi is passionate and committed about defending the rights of her clients’ entitlements. She knows that the legal world can be daunting, therefore, makes the process as easy as possible for those she is advocating on behalf of. She has provided legal advice to many Maurice Blackburn clients and has been active in litigation in both the County and Supreme courts. She also advocates in many forums for the rights of those who have sustained serious injuries. “We’ve been helping clients for almost 100 years at Maurice Blackburn, and public safety is something I take very seriously. It’s important that people know they are protected if something goes wrong through the negligence of someone else and I pride myself on achieving a just outcome for those affected”. Dimi speaks fluent Greek and is actively involved in Melbourne’s Greek community. Accreditations & memberships Law Institute of Victoria Accredited Personal Injury Specialist Australian Lawyers Alliance member Law Institute of Victoria Public Liability Committee member Law Institute of Victoria Litigation Lawyers Executive Committee member  Leadership program, Mt Eliza Business School, 2014  ...

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Josh Mennen

Principal

Josh Mennen is a Principal in the Superannuation and Insurance practice in Maurice Blackburn's Sydney office. He regularly visits Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, and is available to see clients in these locations as well. Josh practices in a range of jurisdictions, including State and Federal courts and tribunals. He has an impressive record representing consumers of insurance products in claims and disputes including life insurance, income protection and superannuation claims. Josh also represents victims of negligent financial planning and stockbroking advice, including through the compensation schemes such as the CBA Open Advice Review Program and the Macquarie Private Wealth compensation scheme. Josh works closely with various unions, and a range of consumer and other community support groups including the Leukaemia Foundation, the MS Society, social workers, financial counsellors and many more. He presents seminars and acts pro-bono for these groups and their members to increase consumer rights awareness, and give a voice to those disempowered by illness, injury and socio/economic barriers. Memberships & Accreditations New South Wales Law Society member Law Council of Australia’s Consumer Law Committee member Australian Lawyers Alliance member ALA Disability Insurance National Special Interest Group Executive Committee member ALA superannuation and insurance spokesperson Financial Planning Association planning and policy committee member ...

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Alana Heffernan

Senior Associate

Alana Heffernan is a Senior Associate in Maurice Blackburn's employment department in Sydney. She is listed by the prestigious Doyles Guide as a member of one of the top law firms for employee & trade union representation in NSW in 2017. Alana provides tailored advice and assistance in relation to a broad range of industrial and employment issues including dismissals, discrimination, disputes, issues related to professional registration, adverse action complaints, workplace investigations, disciplinary proceedings and contract issues. She has a comprehensive understanding of the employment and discrimination legal frameworks, and is experienced in appearing before the relevant courts and tribunals, as well as negotiating out-of-court settlements. “There is an inherent imbalance of power in the employment relationship and I enjoy assisting employees to access their rights, entitlements and fairness. I am able to provide creative solutions for issues faced by senior managers and executive clients, including with respect to statutory and common law rights. I have significant experience advocating for my clients, both directly with employers and their lawyers, as well as at relevant tribunals and courts,” says Alana. “I am creative and leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding practical solutions for my clients. From the outset, I work with my clients to develop a strategy for resolution and achieving the best outcome. “I am driven by helping clients achieve fair outcomes that protect their financial and reputational interests. I have worked across many industries and have a deep understanding of the tactics employers use against employees. These tactics vary greatly across industries and employers and I ensure my approach is tailored to the circumstances. I work hard to ensure my clients are in the best position possible to continue in their career, either with their current employer or with a future employer.” Alana has a particular interest in anti-discrimination law and has actively advocated for amendments to anti-discrimination law to include protections for victims of domestic violence. These proposed amendments have been supported and advocated for by various community and legal peak bodies, as well as the Australian Council of Human Rights Agencies. Some of Alana’s other significant achievements include: obtaining court orders preventing an employer from altering her client’s working conditions negotiating agreements that include reinstatement stopping employers from engaging in unlawful discrimination against clients negotiating settlements for clients that not only provide significant compensation, but also protect their professional reputation representing clients in a Royal Commission, and successfully appealing a decision of the Fair Work Commission in relation to allegations of unlawful industrial action. Alana regularly advocates for the rights and entitlements of the LGBTIQ community, and her diverse employment relations experience benefits from having worked for community organisations, unions and the (then) Department of Employment and Industrial Relations.  Memberships & accreditations Law Society of NSW member Industrial Relations Society of NSW member Awards Employment & Workplace Health Safety, Doyle's Guide 2016 Women's Law Association of Queensland Emergent Lawyer of the Year Finalist, 2015 Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Workplace Relations, Employment & Safety winner, 2015  ...

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Trang van Heugten

Senior Associate

Trang van Heugten is a Senior Associate who practices exclusively in the Public Liability and Faulty Products department at Maurice Blackburn, based in Melbourne. She is also a Law Institute of Victoria Personal Injury Accredited Specialist who has a particular interest in bringing claims for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Trang is specially trained in trauma informed practice which ensures she works with clients to access justice in a way that recognises the complex trauma they have suffered. Trang has substantial experience across a wide range of public liability and faulty product matters, including successfully representing people who have been injured after landlords, councils, schools, shops, manufacturers and other businesses and organisations failed to take reasonable care to members of the public. Some of Trang's successful cases include a: tenant who fell five metres to the ground when the balustrade of his rented property collapsed disabled man who sustained severe burns to over half of his body when he was trapped in a shower facility of a nursing home homeowner who free fell several metres in the defective lift which was installed in her home shopper who was almost crushed by a defective shopping trolley while travelling on an travelator, and mum who sustained serious back injuries when she was crushed under the weight of unsecured soccer goal posts Trang also has substantial experience across a wide range of commercial and civil litigation.                 Before joining the Public Liability department, Trang worked as a senior lawyer for Maurice Blackburn Commercial, assisting in the conduct of a large Supreme Court action between pharmaceutical corporations. Trang was the Associate to Mr Justice Peter Buchanan of the Victorian Court of Appeal from 2000 to 2002 and worked as a lawyer at another leading law firm from 2002 to 2008. Trang graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and was admitted to practice in 1999. She also holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the University of Melbourne. Trang is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria. She speaks fluent Vietnamese and is actively involved in the Vietnamese community. ...

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Kelly Thomas

Associate

Kelly Thomas is an Associate in Maurice Blackburn's Employment and Industrial Law Section, based in Melbourne. She is listed by the prestigious Doyles Guide as part of the only first tier law firm for employee & trade union representation in Victoria in 2017. Kelly is a tenacious lawyer who takes a commercial and pragmatic approach to employment issues and seeks to resolve clients' matters quickly and confidentially. She understands that, for her clients, preserving their reputation is paramount and that trouble at work can take a toll on people’s health. Kelly assists clients with all types of employment and industrial law matters, such as claims in relation to redundancy, unfair dismissal, general protections contraventions (also known as adverse action), and discrimination. She also gives practical advice to employees about employment contract issues, such as restraints of trade and non-compete clauses, disciplinary matters, and protection of interests and reputation when employment is coming to an end.  She has a particular interest in making sure employees understand their rights and the risks before starting employment. Kelly represents a wide variety of people, including senior managers, academics, doctors, former state ministers, teachers, public sector employees, financial advisors, and sales people. She has experience with many different sized companies, and all kinds of employers. For example, Kelly is currently representing a young woman who was sexually harassed and discriminated against in her workplace. Kelly practices in State and Federal courts, and industrial tribunals including the Fair Work Commission. She has practiced in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria. Kelly regularly presents on employment issues in relation to workplace bullying, harassment and redundancy. She comments on television, radio and in news on employment and industrial law issues, and has been published in the Australian Financial Review regarding the importance of senior executives reviewing employment contracts before signing on the dotted line. Federal Member of Parliament Terri Butler described Kelly as “a very talented solicitor” recently in Parliament, debating the passage of legislation that will provide backpay for many thousands of workers with an intellectual disability. Before joining Maurice Blackburn, Kelly was an associate to a Commissioner at (then) Fair Work Australia. In addition to her work at Maurice Blackburn, Kelly currently sits on the board of a community transport organisation. Kelly is currently on parental leave. Memberships & associations Law Institute of Victoria member ...

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