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Australia > Transport > Aviation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Transport: aviation
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Richard Davis - HWL Ebsworth
    • Mark Mackrell - Norton White

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HWL Ebsworth’s ‘exceptional’ aviation team is noted for its ‘outstanding technical expertise delivered in a pragmatic, cost-effective way’ and its ‘very short response times’. Richard Davis and Simon Liddy ‘are both exceptional’; Davis, who ‘combines flair and pragmatism’, advised Korean airline Jin Air on the regulatory and commercial requirements in connection with the commencement of its operations in Australia, which required negotiations with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority; Liddy led a team assisting two airlines in a recovery action against an airport for damage done to aircrafts during a storm. Matthew Brooks is defending a leading airline in personal injury and negligence proceedings filed by an ex-employee and acted for an aircraft operator in its response to next of kin claims and police investigations following the deadly loss of an aircraft as well as in its contribution claim against the manufacturer of the aircraft and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Joe Hurley heads the national transport group from Sydney; the name to note in Brisbane is Philip Hunter. *Since publication, HWL Ebsworth and Tress Cox have merged.

Norton Rose Fulbright services airports, banks and financial institutions with regards to regulatory, operational, financing and transactional issues in the aviation space. Brisbane-based Dale Rayner is acting for a major global bank in the chapter 11 refinancing of a transnational helicopter services company operating in the transport of oil and gas and rescue operations, and jointly with the tax team assisted a client with its acquisition of an aircraft leased to a global household name aviation company. In the infrastructure space, national head of aviation Tom Young advised an independent fund manager on its bid to become the long-term commercial partner in the operation of a major airport. Special counsel Julie Brown supported Young to handle the real estate due diligence and the negotiation of the long-term lease in connection with the privatisation of the Port Hedland international airport by a consortium comprising funds managed by client AMP Capital Investors and Infrastructure Capital Group. Ernest van Buuren is the firm’s head of road and aviation transport.

Norton White’s team advises airlines, aircraft operators, underwriters and brokers as well as their insurers on liability, regulatory and commercial matters. Trade practices, product liability and intellectual property expert Mark Mackrell and Ben Martin have recently handled negotiations with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and other government departments, high-profile claims against operators arising from accidents, and aircraft transactions and financings.

Clayton Utz’s aviation team is part of its transport and logistics group and ‘provides advice of the highest order’ in a wide spectrum of issues, with a strong presence in the public sector. The ‘exceptional’ Canberra-based Andrew Leece is a regulatory expert and ‘trusted adviser’ who ‘has a great manner with clients and makes them feel safe to ask questions’. He led the advice to a number of airports including Alice Springs, Canberra and Brisbane Airport with regards to agreements pertaining to their operation, such as pricing, conditions of use and terminal services agreements. In other highlights, the Department of Finance engaged the team to handle all aspects of its implementation of whole-of-government airline agreements, and a joint infrastructure, projects and aviation team advised Hobart International Airport on its runway upgrade. Noteworthy is Leece’s work with the environment and planning team for the Commonwealth and a number of airports in connection with investigations and risk assessment arising from a contamination issue regarding firefighting foam.

Clyde & Co LLP handles airline liability, regulatory, uninsured claims and general aviation issues with a particular expertise in aviation safety. The five-partner team is led by national maritime and commodities practice head Maurice Thompson who splits his time between Melbourne and Perth; he led on the advice to airlines with regards to numerous claims filed by next of kin following major aviation accidents; he was assisted by special counsel James Cooper. They also advised a leading retailer on regulatory issues arising from the use of drones, and an airline on its local tax liabilities in connection with flights to and from Australia. Another recent work highlight has been advising a client on a recovery action arising from misrepresentations surrounding a commercial aircraft’s traffic collision avoidance system at the time of its sale. Gavin Beardsell joined the firm’s Sydney office from Gilchrist Connell.

Insurance litigation specialist Andrew Tulloch heads Colin Biggers & Paisley’s aviation practice with extensive experience in recovery actions against air and sea carriers; he is supported by newly promoted special counsel Marcus Saw. The pair are currently acting for QBE as the insurer of an aircraft which crashed into a shopping centre shortly after take-off; newly promoted insurance partner Ana Kolovos defended jointly with Tulloch a Supreme Court claim filed by the father and husband of two passengers who lost their lives in an aircraft accident due to poor weather conditions. On the non-contentious side, a new entrant to the Australian market received advice on drafting a new aircraft insurance policy.

HodgkinsonJohnston is a specialist Perth-based aviation and aerospace firm founded in 2015, led by David Hodgkinson and Rebecca Johnston. The team has been advising Facebook on its Aquila project, which involves significant regulatory issues pertaining to the use of unmanned aircraft systems and the commercial implications of testing first-of-type drone technology. Maroomba Airlines receives advice on a wide range of matters, including the sale and acquisition of aircrafts, leasing arrangements and domestic and international registration work; on the transactional front, the team acted for SC Aviation, a private charter company, in connection with a number of aircraft transactions such as the cross-border procurement of a private jet which fell under the requirements of the recently implemented Cape Town Convention, an international registration system.

King & Wood Mallesons’ practice head John Canning specialises in cross-border structured finance transactions. The team advised Ireland-based Goshawk Aviation on a purchase, sale and leasing transaction with the Indonesian entity PT Lion, and Yuen-Yee Cho assisted Sydney Airport with its bank debt refinancing. On the infrastructure front, construction specialist James Forrest is part of the team advising Transport for New South Wales on the proposed procurement of rail infrastructure as part of the Western Sydney Airport development at Badgery’s Creek; he also advised Perth Airport on its A$1bn redevelopment. The key name to note for corporate, M&A and competition work in the aviation space is Wayne Leach.

Mills Oakley Lawyers’ two-partner team consists of Gavin Douglas and Tom Lennox and advises clients on operational agreements, cross-border transactions, leasing and M&A matters. Douglas and senior associate Paul Henry advised Qantas in its renegotiation of a complex aircraft operating agreement by which National Jet Systems is the incumbent operator of the Boeing 717 fleet and provider of maintenance services for at least ten years. A helicopter services provider instructed the team on a cross-border leasing transaction as well as related safety, tax and regulatory issues. Other key clients include Royal Flying Doctor Service, Oil Search and Sydney Seaplanes.

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