Partner

Dr Laura Sowden

Laura is an experienced and reliable advisor and litigator across workplace relations, employment, discrimination and health and safety. Her responsive and strategic thinking provides clients with security and confidence.

She reflects the concerns and the character of the client in considering what will suit the client best. She provides timely, expert and tailored assistance. She can be relied upon for exceptional client service, timely strategic advice and know-how in successfully managing a range of disputes.

She also advises and acts for insurers regarding employment, discrimination and statutory liability claims. Her depth of experience in acting for insurers combined with her expertise in employment discrimination and work health and safety make her uniquely equipped to efficiently assist insurers with such claims.

Expertise

Laura’s expertise includes:

  • Employment and workplace relations
  • Employment disputes and advisory work
  • Restraint of trade disputes
  • Work, health and safety advice and investigations
  • Defending work health and safety prosecutions
  • Discrimination claims including third party claims
  • Investigations
  • Privacy complaints
  • Offences under the Education and Care Services National Law (Childcare)

Recent projects

  • Employment disputes – vast experience defending unfair dismissal and general protection applications, underpayment claims, sexual harassment claims within the Federal Courts.
  • Racial discrimination claim by parents of a student at a school. Laura achieved early dismissal of the matter following noncompliance of the Applicant with the court’s orders. The dismissal was achieved with a costs order in favour of the School.
  • Work health and safety – defended a prosecution formerly against director and company initiated by SafeWork NSW for a fatality. Laura successfully negotiated a plea deal in which the director’s prosecution was discontinued and the Company entered a guilty plea. Laura achieved a sentencing outcome of $75,000 penalty and prosecutor’s costs.
  • Work health and safety – Representation of a major construction client during investigation into a serious incident on site by SafeWork NSW resulting in not prosecution and closure of the SafeWork NSW investigation without any further action.
  • Work health and safety – recently defended a prosecution against a director for a due diligence offence and achieved a penalty of only $30,000 and payment of the prosecutor’s costs via negotiated particulars of the offence and statement of agreed facts.
  • Statutory offences – Successfully defended a prosecution by the NSW Department of Education against a childcare centre and its director regarding an alleged breach of the National Childcare Law.
  • Previously initiated restraint of trade proceedings seeking interim injunction against the former employee and achieving a negotiated outcome. Currently defending a restraint of trade matter in the Federal Court of Australia brought against a new business and two former employees of the Applicant.
  • Investigations – conducting investigations into employee misconduct or safety incidents. Also representing individuals responding to various investigations by statutory authorities. Most recently advised several councillors subject to an investigation by the Director of Local Government resulting in removal of the majority of adverse findings and sanctions proposed to be implemented against the councillors.

Professional Memberships/Accreditation & Activities

  • Women in Insurance: Member
  • Law Society of NSW: Member
  • NSW Industrial Relations Society Member
  • Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand member
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Special Counsel

Valentyna Jurkiw