In February this year, the victims of the 2011 Brisbane floods were awarded a historic $440 million in compensation from a class action against the Queensland government and Sunwater, in a partial settlement over the operation of the Wivenhoe Dam, north-west of Brisbane. Dam operator Seqwater owes the remainder but is appealing against the payout, with a hearing set down for May.
Prosecution of experts in the wake of disasters has emerged as common in the context of increasing social intolerance of risk and the need to apportion blame. As the Wivenhoe case has shown this is not just a problem for the particular individuals concerned, but a risk to the companies and organisations that employ them.
This seminar will use the complexity of the Wivenhoe Dam case to explore a number of subjects relevant to water and utility companies, including:
- How technical issues can lead to legal vulnerability
- The issue of vicarious liability (the water authorities and the Queensland Government were found to be vicariously liable for the negligence of the flood engineers they employed)
- An exploration of the broader legal and reputational risks for water and other utility companies
- Potential risk management strategies to help mitigate these risks.
Legal Director, Sharpe & Abel
Melissa Kirby is a lawyer and strategist who likes difficult problems, wherever and whenever they might occur. She specializes in working with engineering and technical professionals, supporting clients and keeping their businesses safe through difficult times during the Asian Financial Crisis, the Global Financial Crisis and all the times between.
Prior to founding Sharpe & Abel, Melissa was counsel at the NYSE listed multi-billion dollar company, Honeywell, advising its Automation and Control Solutions business group in the Asia Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East regions and a director of its local subsidiary. Melissa has also headed up the legal, regulatory and compliance department of a major Australian utility company. She is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese and holds an LL.B from the Australian National University.
Banner image photo by [Somersetpedia.paul]
- Member Rate: $0.00 ($0.00 excl. GST)
- Student: $0.00 ($0.00 excl. GST)
- Non-Member Rate: $30.00 ($27.27 excl. GST)
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