Liability DIsputes

Melbourne's experts in Liability Disputes

Brockhill & Usherwood are experts in dealing with liability claims, professional liability disputes, financial service disputes and Corporations Act claims.

Building & Property Disputes

We often act in various types of building and property related disputes for builders, consultants and owners with defects in houses or strata complexes.

We also act in property liability disputes in relation to leases, sale of land, boundary and neighbour disputes.

Professional Liability

We regularly act in relation to professional liability disputes.  This includes negligence claims, misleading and deceptive conduct claims in relation to property purchases and financial investments. We act for and against many types of professionals including:

  • architects and engineers of various types
  • mortgage brokers
  • conveyancers
  • real estate agents
  • strata managers
  • building inspectors
  • financial advisers
  • insurance brokers.

We have specific experience in pursuing professional liability claims against building, property and financial professionals and can assess whether you may have a claim.

Insurance Broker Negligence

Insurance brokers can be held liable if they arrange the wrong cover. Understanding how to run a broker professional liability claim is important given these claims can be particularly complicated to juggle. Our principal has worked with many of the major insurance brokers in Australia and overseas, both as an insurance broker and Head of Legal. If you are an insurance broker and defending a claim, or believe you have a claim against your insurance broker, we can help.

Financial Advisers and Investment Disputes

If an investor receives poor financial advice or advice that is inappropriate or misleading they may be able to claim compensation. Brockhill & Usherwood is regularly instructed to act in financial advice disputes and financial product disputes and this includes for investors, shareholders, debtholders or financial advisers (licensees and authorised representative) and also their professional indemnity insurers.

Due to the potential for loss to the public, financial advisers are required to hold insurance and have processes and procedures to deal with disputes and compensation. This includes Internal Dispute Resolution (“IDR”) and External Dispute Resolution (“EDR”) processes in place. These processes, when triggered, allow for a complaint to be lodged with the financial services industry complaint body, called the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (“AFCA”). The time limit for most complaints is usually two years from the financial firm’s final response during IDR, so it is imperative to get advice early and not delay.

There are a plethora of different laws a licensee can breach which may give rise to a ‘cause of action’ or financial adviser claim. However, it is important to understand which laws will achieve the ‘remedy’ or result which you want or need. Brockhill & Usherwood specialises in financial disputes and can help.

Corporations Act

Brockhill and Usherwood deals with a range of disputes under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). This includes:

  • Disputes between shareholders (also known as members)
  • Disputes between members and company directors
  • Disputes involving creditors.

In relation to disputes between (company members / shareholders), we can assist in claims of oppression. Oppression actions will usually involve preferential treatment of one shareholder or class of shareholders to the detriment of others. Brockhill and Usherwood can assist company directors and officers in disputes arising from a breach of their duties.

Debt Collection and Statutory Demands

A statutory demand can be issued to a debtor company requiring it to pay a debt due. It arises under section 459E of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). A company has to pay within 21 days or face the prospect of insolvency.
We regularly issue statutory demands and defend proceedings against debtor companies.The ways to respond to a statutory demand include:

  • Paying the debt
  • Applying to a court to set aside the statutory demand. This includes where a genuine dispute exists, if there is an offsetting claim, there is a defect in the demand (this is very important to obtain advice) and other potential reasons.


Brockhill & Usherwood are experienced in dealing with insolvency matters that arise where a company is unable to pay its debts as they fall due. While companies are viewed as legal persons, insolvency is overseen by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) as separate from the law relating to bankruptcy of individuals in the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth).

We have acted for directors, creditors and insolvency practitioners and have a solid understanding of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) but we stand out in relation to insolvency in the building industry.

Preference Claims and Uncommercial Transactions

Brockhill and Usherwood can assist you in relation to preference claims arising from payments made by an insolvent company. An uncommercial transaction relates to a transaction entered into by a company, where expected that a ‘reasonable person’ in the company’s circumstances would not have entered into that transaction. Liquidators can void such transactions under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Book a consultation today and discover what sets us apart.


I am very happy with Blair’s strategic, well-thought-out and carefully considered advice and methodical approach. He is an ethical and caring lawyer who gets things done. I have no hesitation in recommending him.