Practice area(s): Aviation law
Location(s): Brisbane
Qualification(s): BA, LLB, Grad Dip Leg Prac, Grad Cert Air & Space Law, MRAeS

Joseph Wheeler is a Special Counsel at Maurice Blackburn, based in Brisbane.

Joseph joined the firm as a consultant aviation law expert in 2015. He has extensive experience in all aspects of public and private international aviation law.

He believes in working closely with clients to ensure their needs for support are met through the extremely trying times that follow aviation disasters.

“It is genuinely satisfying to arm people with knowledge and support them through the most unexpected and difficult times of their lives,” says Joseph.

“Aviation law can be confusing and is very different to other areas of law, so when tragedy strikes it is important to have a team on side that can simplify the obstacles and light a path to make moving forward a reality.”

Joseph helps people throughout Australia and overseas with domestic and international aviation legal issues, including families who have lost loved ones in air disasters. His ability to advise in this area is informed by his expertise in general aviation, airline and airport regulatory and liability issues. He has provided local advice and expertise to foreign aviation practitioners and claimants.

In addition to large and small aviation accident litigation, Joseph defends and advances the rights and conditions of professional pilots globally through his role as a Member of the Legal Committee of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and as Aviation Legal Counsel for the Australian Federation of Air Pilots.

Joseph is one of the few dedicated practitioners qualified in air law from the McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law in Canada. He enjoys pursuing research which contributes to the broader body of public and private international law of which aviation law forms part.

Joseph shares his passion of aviation law with students and practitioners worldwide through lectures and conference presentations. As a regional expert on aviation law, he is often invited to comment in the media on international aviation news, and writes a regular column on aero legal and aero political affairs in The Australian.

“Everyone who flies for business or pleasure comes into contact with such laws every day and might be surprised to know its challenges and limitations.”

Joseph also has experience working in the public sector, as an Assistant Director in the Airports Branch of the Aviation and Airports Division of the (then) Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport. His section was responsible for policy advice on the airport planning and development oversight for Victorian and Tasmanian federally leased airports, as well as airport economic regulation policy more broadly.

Memberships & accreditations

  • Queensland Law Society member
  • Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) Aviation Special Interest Group Chair
  • ALA Aviation Spokesperson
  • IFALPA Legal Committee member
  • IFALPA Professional & Government Affairs Committee member
  • Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand member
  • American Bar Association member
  • Lawyer Pilots Bar Association member
  • Royal Aeronautical Society Member (elected)