Public liability

DibbsBarker acts for leading Australian and international insurers in the area of public liability who value our commercial approach, pragmatism and discretion. We prioritise your reputation and our strategies are devised around managing all matters as efficiently and sensitively as possible.

We understand that when engaged by insurers, we are acting as an extension of our clients’ business and the manner in which we interact with other stakeholders, whether they are insureds, brokers, experts or opposing lawyers, reflects as much on our clients as it does on ourselves. Our team seeks at all times to be model representatives of our clients and our aim is to always act in the same manner that a client would expect of its staff.

Our team look to obtain a deep understanding of the business drivers of our insurance clients. We use our deep industry knowledge to provide solutions to our clients that allow them to achieve their business objectives.

We understand the importance of early and accurate assessments of claims to achieve appropriate reserving at the first possible opportunity. The importance of ongoing vigilant review of the adequacy of claim reserves and the need for a 'no surprises' environment is understood by our team, meaning that we review and confirm reserves in each substantial contact that we have with our clients over the course of a claim.


  • We acted in 14 personal injury claims brought against an insured trampoline centre operator which had various centres across Australia involving catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, or serious neck, back and leg injuries.
  • We advised on indemnity in relation to a fire at a commercial premises caused by a welding contractor who failed to comply with welding standards and breached the Hot Works exclusion in the policy.
  • We advised on indemnity and then commercially resolved a long standing claim involving the double amputation of a plaintiff’s legs in a wood chipper machine, where indemnity to the insured was declined, the insured declared bankruptcy and the plaintiff subsequently sought to join the insurer client to the proceedings outside the limitation period.
  • We achieved an excellent outcome in a significant property damage claim brought by a NSW Council, the hearing for which ran for nine days, the Council lost and indemnity costs were ordered and recovered from the Council pursuant to a Calderbank letter that we had issued three years before the hearing.
  • We obtained a very good outcome in an urgent matter where the insurer was notified of a claim for indemnity eight weeks before a hearing in the District Court. Based on our advice, indemnity was denied pursuant to the employment exclusion in the policy and the insurer was joined to the proceedings by the insured and a motor vehicle insurer. The claim involved complex principles of circuity of action, workers compensation and indemnity/policy interpretation issues. During the course of the hearing the insurer was given a verdict in its favour on the basis that it bore its own costs.  
  • We advised on indemnity denial in relation to a policy issued to a company which operated jet boats on Sydney Harbour and where several passengers brought claims after they sustained injuries when the boat travelled outside its designated operating area and hit a large wave. Each of the passenger claims was resolved on the basis that the proceedings were withdrawn, or not pursued.
  • We acted for a shopping centre in relation to a fire started by a welding contractor on the premises which caused significant damage to two adjacent retailers.
Senior Associate
T +61 2 8233 9548
Recent News and Publications
06 Dec 2017
The Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act 2017 (Cth) applies to government agencies, private sector organisations with annual turnovers over $3m, and all organisations handling health information or involved in credit reporting.
30 Nov 2017
Consider the position of the buyer of a business, entering into a sale agreement with the seller. The seller will make various representations about the business that will be underpinned with warranties and indemnities, all for the purpose of giving the buyer comfort about what they are purchasing.
13 Sep 2017
An Australian business might contemplate litigation against an overseas party for a wide variety of reasons, such as a claim arising from a breach of contract with a foreign-based supplier or manufacturer.