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Venetia A. Bennett

Special Counsel
+61.8.9216.0956
Fax +61.8.9216.0901
Venetia Bennett is an experienced litigator who acts for international and Australian clients in the resolution of commercial disputes, claims and litigation matters across a range of industries, with a focus on construction, oil and gas and sport. She advises and represents clients in relation to contractual disputes, construction and project issues, tortious matters, regulatory inquiries, investigations and prosecutions, and joint venture disputes.

Venetia is experienced in advising and acting for clients in relation to all aspects of dispute resolution, including the formal stages of legal proceedings (court and arbitration) as well as informal dispute resolution processes such as mediation and expert determination. She has a strong record in advising clients during significant incidents and crises, including in relation to any legal proceedings that follow.

Venetia combines excellent technical skills, strong problem-solving capabilities and commercial, strategic thinking with a passion for what she does and the industries in which she practices. Her focus is to provide responsive and commercial advice, and she enjoys building relationships with clients in the course of doing so.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates in early 2013,Venetia Bennett was a lawyer and senior associate at a large Australian national law firm.

Achievements

  • Finalist. Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards for Special Counsel of the Year, 2017
  • Finalist, Women's Achievement Awards, 2010

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA) (President 2012 - 2018, Secretary 2009 - 2012)
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Football West Tribunal Chair

Speaking Engagements

  • "Sports Law: Current issues in anti-doping" presented as a guest lecturer at Edith Cowan University, Perth, 2013-2016, 2018, 2019
  • "Royal Commissions: Ethical challenges" presented on various occasions in 2018 and 2019
  • "Legal Professional Privilege" presented on various occasions between 2013 and 2017
  • "Development of sports law in Australia" presented at the Melbourne University Law Masters Sports Law 25th Anniversary Conference, Melbourne, July 11 and 12, 2013
  • "Conducting effective tribunals" presented at the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation, Perth, September 7, 2012
  • "Are you prepared for a crisis?" presented for Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA), Perth, August 14, 2012
Construction, Oil and Gas and Mining Industries
  • Advising the developer and operator of an aged care facility in an expert determination in relation to a defective building works.
  • Advising an international train manufacturer in a dispute associated with delay, variation, defect and warranty claims.
  • Acting for Quadrant Energy in relation to a dispute over the meaning and effect of provisions for payment of a transfer fee in a seismic survey licence agreement.
  • Acting for Quadrant Energy in relation to a multi-party contractual dispute regarding seismic survey operations and liability for shared and joint costs.
  • Advising and acting for Apache Corporation and its Australian affiliates (Apache Energy and Apache Northwest) in relation to the explosion and fire at the Varanus Island gas processing facilities in June 2008, including in respect of a regulatory investigation and the successful defence of a prosecution by the State of Western Australia, administrative law issues and significant multi-party civil claims by customers.
  • Advising a large offshore construction and installation contractor in relation to a significant dispute arising from a large scale offshore construction project.
  • Advising a prominent engineering consultancy in relation to an investigation relating to dangerous dust emissions.
  • Acting for Apache Northwest and Apache Corporation on a substantial multi-party commercial dispute with an existing gas customer.
  • Representing HWE Mining in its successful defence of a prosecution (and subsequent appeal) by the State of Western Australia under the Western Australian mines safety and inspection legislation.
  • Obtaining urgent injunctive relief for SRG to prevent the dissemination of confidential information.
  • Advising ATCO Gas Australia on a major incident in Western Australia, including managing responses to regulators and preparing for a Coronial investigation and anticipated legal proceedings.
  • Providing Zhenhua Heavy Industries with strategic advice concerning a dispute with a Perth based construction company in respect of matter including non-payment of retention monies.

Sport
  • Advising Global Rapid Rugby in relation to establishing a new international rugby competition, including with respect to integrity regulations, risk, dispute resolution processes, competition services, player contracts and sanction arrangements.
  • Advising Tennis West in relation to the redevelopment of its own facilities, in the context of the new Perth Stadium and redevelopment project on the Burswood Peninsula.
  • Advising the West Australian Football Commission in relation to a seriously injured player.
  • Advising Cricket Australia in relation to the serious injury and death of an Australian player.
  • Advising and representing Tennis Australia in an anti-doping tribunal proceeding involving a junior player.
  • Advising and representing NIKE in relation to a Pacific soccer competition and a dispute over the interpretation of its rules.
  • Advising Football West in relation to an off field incident involving players, including advising in respect of by-laws and procedures.
  • Conducting an independent investigation on behalf of Cycling Australia into the behaviour of a Board member alleged to have harassed staff and other association members.
  • Acting for Tennis Australia in a dispute against Adidas involving the use of Adidas’ “three stripes”.
  • Advising Cricket Australia in respect of a player health and wellbeing policy.
  • Advising Melbourne Victory in relation to matters of anti-doping policy and compliance.
  • Advising a number of individual athletes in relation to anti-doping rule violation allegations.
  • Acting for the AFL in an anti-doping tribunal hearing involving a player.
  • Chairing an independent appeal board on behalf of Touch Football Australia regarding the behaviour of members and the sport's internal disciplinary and grievance procedures.
  • Advising WA 2011 in relation to the Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships event, particularly in respect of insurance and risk management, and representing the company in relation to disputes arising after the event.
  • Sitting as a tribunal member and chair to hear disciplinary, grievance and member protection issues across a number of sports, including football, cricket, basketball, tennis, cycling and speedcars. 

Other
  • Acting for the Ngarlama and Ngallagunda indigenous organisations regarding various disputed matters, including obtaining urgent injunctive relief in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
  • Representing a Portuguese manufacturing company in respect of trade practices claims by Australian customer and distributor.
  • Advising and acting as counsel for listed Australian companies in Federal Court proceedings for curative relief in respect non-compliance with Australian corporations law (including EHR Resources Limited [2018] FCA 997, Azure Minerals Limited [2013] FCA 63 and Strike Energy Limited [2012] FCA 725).
  • Providing advice (including seminars and review of procedures) relating to clients' crisis management and response procedures.