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John Rodney

Special Counsel
Fax +61.2.9513.2300

Mr. Rodney has extensive experience in employment and work health and safety law and commercial litigation. He has been involved in a number of significant work health and safety prosecutions and has extensive experience and exposure within the coal mining, metalliferous and extractive industries and underground construction industry. Mr. Rodney has gained significant experience through his involvement in numerous investigations by the regulatory authorities, inquiries and coronial inquests.

He is one of the few lawyers who has acted as an external prosecutor for the WorkCover Authority and was seconded from private practice to the WorkCover Authority as principal solicitor. Mr. Rodney has appeared in both state and federal jurisdictions in employment matters. Through his coal industry service and in particular with the Coal Industry Tribunal and Australian Industrial Relations Commission (Fair Work Australia), Mr. Rodney was uniquely placed to advise on industrial matters to government, and become a trusted advisor to industry stakeholders. His extensive experience and knowledge allows him to not only deal with legal issues but also provide advice which offers practical solutions for his clients.

Professional Background

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Mr. Rodney worked within the coal mining industry, including underground as a coal miner.


  • Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers (2015 and 2019) for Labour and Employment and Occupational Health & Safety Law
  • Australia Day Citizen of the Year, nominee 1982

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Central Coast of NSW Safety Group member and presenter 
  • Australian Labour Lawyers' Association member

Speaking Engagements

Mr. Rodney frequently presents to directors, officers, senior managers of targeted industries and TAFE students on employment, industrial relations and work, health and safety issues. Mr. Rodney, at the request of a global client, presented on work, health and safety laws in Finland.
  • Acting for a global client as the only Australian lawyer in the Royal Commission concerning the Pike River coal mine tragedy in New Zealand.
  • Acting for mining contractors, and senior management of underground and open cut mines in the investigation of mining accidents and subsequent prosecutions by the Regulator.
  • Advising and acting for Australian and overseas designers' manufacturers, importers and suppliers on work, health and safety regulatory obligations.
  • Advising and acting on Coronial Inquests in the mining and underground construction industries, including Cross City Tunnel, New South Wales.
  • Advising and acting on regulatory investigations and prosecutions in power generation, local government, maritime and underground construction industries.
  • Acting for senior management of Gretley Mine, Newcastle. This involved the coronial inquest, judicial enquiry (Specialist Court of Coal Mine Regulation), prosecutions, and a significant question of law concerning client legal privilege principals heard before for the Court of Appeal, New South Wales. As a result there was a change to the mining statute concerning compulsory statements to the regulator.
  • Instructed in the High Court of Australia on representative action in an eco-tourism resort.