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Emma Dawes

Special Counsel
Fax +61.3.9205.2055

Ms. Dawes focuses her practice on medical defence claims, professional indemnity, general liability and insurance coverage. She has extensive experience in medical negligence claims across all jurisdictions, acting for public hospitals, rural doctors, community health services, ambulance services, the State of Victoria and the Department of Human Services in defence of civil litigation and at Coronial Inquests. Ms. Dawes represents her clients before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal acting in Freedom of Information matters and actions regarding alleged breaches of privacy.

Ms. Dawes has acted for public hospitals and regional general practitioners in the defence of complaints to the Health Services Commissioner and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Ms. Dawes also handles general personal injury and public liability litigation. She is involved in defending WorkCover and TAC recovery actions and regularly provides advice on policy interpretation and various aspects of coverage for insureds.

Professional Background

Ms. Dawes has given presentations on Freedom of Information legislation, the Coronial Inquiry process and Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Law Institute of Victoria member
  • Victorian Women Lawyers member
  • Australian Insurance Law Association member
  • Women in Insurance member
  • Advising on strategically significant matters, including judicial review of Medical Panel determinations and acting in several Supreme Court reviews which have sought to clarify the law in this area.
  • Acting in Coronial Inquests, including an investigation into five deaths at a nursing home allegedly due to food poisoning in which Ms. Dawes represented the interests of the nursing home. The inquest ran for several weeks and received significant publicity.
  • Defending large value claims arising from catastrophic injuries, including birth injuries.
  • Investigating and advising on indemnity and contribution where a privately insured doctor had recommended and performed a controversial surgery. Experts considered the surgery inappropriate for the patient’s symptoms.
  • Successfully opposing an application for an extension of time under the Limitations of Actions Act 1958 where the plaintiff sought to bring proceedings regarding treatment provided some 20 years earlier.
  • Defending public liability claims arising from injuries to persons on public and government properties. Ms. Dawes acted for the State of Victoria in a matter involving the death of a young girl in a derelict building in Melbourne's CBD. The child was a ward of the state and her birth mother brought a claim for psychiatric injury.
  • Advising on property damage claims and insurance coverage issues.
  • Defending claims against the not for profit sector including community organisations, kindergartens and cemetery trusts.
  • Acting for government departments and agencies in defence of claims for alleged abuse in care.
  • Defending breaches of privacy claims at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. In one matter, Ms. Dawes acted for a public hospital accused by a psychiatric patient of inappropriately releasing information to the patient's employer regarding her condition and whereabouts.
  • Providing risk management advice to agencies following claims and inquests.