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Gerard Phillips

Fax +61.2.9513.2399

Mr. Phillips is one of Australia's most well known and high profile industrial lawyers who is consistently recognised as one of Australia’s leading lawyers in Chambers Asia-Pacific legal directory. He concentrates on collective labour relations and work health and safety prosecutions. Mr. Phillips acts for a broad range of clients predominantly in the construction, mining and electricity industries. His practice spans Australia having conducted industrial relations and work health and safety matters in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Mr. Phillips' experience over 25 years has involved acting for both registered associations and large employers, giving him a unique insight into the drivers involved in a modern workplace. He is one of the few lawyers who has both prosecuted and defended work health and safety matters.

Professional Background

Mr. Phillips has been in practice for over 25 years in the area of labour and employment law. He is admitted in England and spent two years working in London for a large union while undertaking postgraduate study in that country.

Mr. Phillips was for five years the National Practice Group Leader of the Workplace Relations and Safety practice of an Australian firm.


  • Recognised in Legal 500 Asia Pacific for Employment (2017)
  • Mr. Phillips is an accredited specialist in employment and industrial law, being one of only 36 Accredited Specialists in this area in New South Wales. 
  • Listed as a 'Recommended Lawyer' for Employment in Doyle's Guide (2015)
  • Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers for the past six years, an Australian Financial Review ranking, in the practice areas of Labour and Employment Law and Occupational Health & Safety Law. 
  • Rated as a "top Australian labour and employment lawyer" and listed by Best Lawyers in Australia (2013, 2012 and 2011) as "Lawyer of the Year – Occupational Health and Safety – Sydney". 
  • Ranked by Chambers Asia Pacific as a "leading labour and safety lawyer" (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011).
  • Named by Australian Legal Business (ALB) as one of its "40 hottest lawyers" (2010).

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Law Society of New South Wales member
  • Law Society of New South Wales Employment Law Committee member
  • Australian Rugby Union – Rugby Union Players Association Occupational Health & Safety Committee Chair
  • Firm board member

Speaking Engagements

Mr. Phillips frequently lectures to lawyers and senior managers on employment, industrial relations and work health and safety issues.
  • Acting for the successful defendant in Gardiner v WorkCover NSW, the leading discrimination case in the area of carer's responsibilities. In this case Mr. Phillips acted for an employer who was able to successfully defend an allegation of discrimination brought by a senior executive.
  • Secured the acquittals for five managers who were prosecuted arising from the Gretley mining disaster. This case, which was the largest occupational health and safety prosecution pursued in Australia was a major prosecution following upon a judicial inquiry into the Gretley mine disaster which saw four mine workers lose their lives.
  • Ongoing advice and representation in the modernisation and reform of industrial relations in the New South Wales electricity industry.
  • Acting for the Baulderstone Hornibrook and Bilfinger Berger AGjoint venture in all aspects arising from the Cross City Tunnel construction fatality including dealing with the trade unions, representation with the workplace regulator and coroner, preparation of the matter for a significant inquest and subsequent prosecution.
  • Advising companies in the mining and construction industry regarding collective labour agreements.
  • Advice and representation in industrial relations and work health and safety matters on major infrastructure projects including the Westlink M7 and Cross City Tunnel Project.
  • Advises and acts for Leighton Contractors and Leighton Mining on industrial relations, employment and safety issues all around Australia.
  • Secured an acquittal for Laing O'Rourke in the high profile Cyclone George prosecution in Western Australia.