Areas of Expertise

James draws on over 20 years of employment and industrial law experience to provide advice and guidance that’s grounded in the real world. James views his relationship with clients as a partnership focused on delivering strong outcomes and positive productive workplaces. Employers rely on him for everything from acting as a sounding board on employment issues through to advising on complex, challenging and sensitive cases.

James helps management and HR apply holistic and lasting solutions to workplace issues. This includes advising them on navigating industrial disputes, dealing with complaints and grievances, managing difficult employees and resolving complex claims involving awards, agreements and employment contracts. He also often represents clients in court as an advocate in unfair dismissal, adverse action and discrimination claims.

 

What James’ clients say

“Over more than 8 years of dealing with James, I have found him to be a highly skilled and professional legal advisor, who has a demonstrated ability to apply the Australian employment relations regulation in a practical manner, often managing to explain difficult concepts to us and overseas head office and regional teams” – Yolanda Mallouhi, Senior Human Resource Manager, ANZ for a Global medical technologies corporation.

“James is a brilliant industrial lawyer. His deep knowledge, analytical mind and street-smart approach ensure that the legal advice he provides is first rate. James has provided strategies and tactics that have kept us safe and secure on a number of occasions.” – Scott Walker, Commercial People & Culture Leader of a leading retail investment company

 

Qualifications/Memberships

  • Accredited Specialist – Employment and Industrial Law

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (UNSW)

  • Masters of Law (University of Sydney)

  • Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW and High Court of Australia

  • Member, Australian Human Resources Institute

 

A word from James

"The reward in my job is being able to make a difference. I was involved a matter where an employee of a client had tormented other employees for years. Employees were breaking-down at the thought of having to deal with him and management was afraid to act due to the employee's aggression and threats.

I spent time with each employee "hearing" their story. I gave the employer the confidence to act and dismiss the employee. When an unfair dismissal claim was lodged, the employees finally had the courage and conviction to give evidence at the hearing. The dismissal was upheld as fair. The employer was relieved. The employees and management personally thanked me for ‘standing by them’".

 

Career highlights

  • Helping clients avoid industrial disputes and achieve gradual benefits in workplace practices and costs over a number of enterprise bargaining cycles.

  • Helping a private client reduce its legal spend (by 600% over a 3-year period) by training and educating staff on employment law, and eliminating a culture of employees suing to get more money from the client.

  • Giving advice on the interpretation of an industrial award in 2002 and having the Full Federal Court uphold the advice as correct in 2016. Confident in our advice, we supported the client and stood up to the challenge by the union.

  • Being recognised by peers at the 2016 Australian Labour Law Association national conference and receiving the Dominica Wheelan prize for the best practitioner paper (with Mark Paul) on ‘Workplace investigations: time to reform our thinking?’

  • Writing the employment law chapter for Lexis Nexis in the textbook, Social Media and the Law and other related publications.

  • Working closely with a small business for many years on workplace safety initiatives and for it to then win Safe Work NSW and Safe Work Australia's national award for safest small business.

 

Specific areas of focus

Managing sensitive and complex cases: Acts against difficult litigants and manages sensitive employment disputes to find the best possible outcome.

Expert advice and guidance: Works closely with clients whether it is to manage misbehaving or poor performing employees, advising on employment termination or managing an industrial dispute.

Technical knowledge and considered analysis: Regularly advises on interpreting contracts, industrial instruments and legislation, including areas of conflict.

Advocacy and presentation: Conducts hearings for clients before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, NSW Industrial Relations Commission, the Fair Work Commission and in Federal and State courts.