Michelle Taylor > Sparke Helmore Lawyers > Brisbane, Australia > Lawyer Profile

Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Work Department

Commercial Insurance


Partner, focusing on maritime law and insurance law.


An accomplished lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience as a litigator, Michelle specialises in maritime law and insurance law. She has been recognised internationally for her extensive experience in shipping casualties and oil spills, including some of the most noteworthy maritime incidents in Australian and New Zealand waters in recent years. Michelle acted for the Swedish Club in the Rena grounding (which is the second largest maritime casualty globally, following Costa Concordia).

Michelle has depth of experience in all areas of marine insurance claims including P&I, hull, cargo and transit matters for Australian and London market insurers. She has drafted wordings for hull and all forms of marine liability policies. Her marine insurance experience extends to being involved in the ALRC review of the Marine Insurance Act (Cth) 1909 (MIA), and her research was published in the ALRC Report 91.

Michelle also has significant experience acting in statutory liability matters. She has acted for insurers of publicly listed companies in major pollution incidents on land and sea and is regularly appointed to defend high-profile heavy vehicle transport law prosecutions.  

Michelle was admitted in 1995 and worked at a number of top tier and international legal firms, including Clayton Utz, DLA Piper and Ashurst, before settling at Norton Rose for eight years.  Michelle joined Colin Biggers Paisley as a Partner in 2018, and was engaged by Sparke Helmore as a Partner and Head of Maritime & Transport practice group in 2020.




Michelle is Vice-President of the Maritime Law Association of Australia & New Zealand and is on the Executive of Australian Maritime and Transport Arbitration Commission.


Michelle has a Master of Laws in Maritime Law from UQ (Dean’s Honour Roll for outstanding academic excellence).


Michelle enjoys diving on shipwrecks, cello concerts and running with her sons.

Lawyer Rankings

Australia > Transport: shipping

The marine and transport team at Sparke Helmore Lawyers advises marine insurers, ports, shipowners, charterers, transport operators, importers and exporters, and government agencies on a diverse array of shipping matters. These include procurement for vessel construction, leasing arrangements, marine pollution incidents, regulatory compliance, P&I matters, and hull and cargo liability insurance policies. Headed in Brisbane by marine and transport law authority Michelle Taylor, who joined the firm in November 2020 from Colin Biggers & Paisley, and supported by marine insurance specialist Natalia Hallum, the group’s portfolio features such clients as the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Port of Brisbane, and National Transport Insurance.