Health and Medical Law

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The Australian medical malpractice insurance industry has in the past five years experienced both a period of consolidation and disruption. Market forces have resulted in a number of significant London and US market insurers penetrating the market, seeking to erode the base of the longstanding insurers. The traditional split between doctor-based and institution-based insurers is fading, with all insurers expanding their suite of products and portfolios. This is clearly a response to market demand and forces.

The health and medical law practice of HWL Ebsworth is one of the premier legal service providers to the Australian health industry.

We have an extremely broad client base crossing various industries and interests. Our client base is strong and loyal, and our longest standing client has retained HWL Ebsworth for over 30 years.

Our team are specialist health and medical lawyers who practice exclusively in health law. Our experience includes health law and policy, defending claims brought against doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical centres and dentists and general professional indemnity litigation, medical ethics, disciplinary and statutory work involving complaints to the HCCC, to statutory and regulatory committees, tribunal hearings, clinical governance inquiries and medical advisory committee inquiries, advice to hospital and health care providers on health law and policy and advice in respect of privacy.

The national team has unparalleled experience in having acted for all of the major hospital authorities in Australia, including State and Commonwealth public health systems, a number of medical defence organisations, medical insurers, doctors and health care facilities.

Our lawyers have gained practical experience by serving on State and Federal government advisory courses, Area Health Service boards and ethics committees. They are also members of leading professional associations, authors of academic texts and regular contributors to health law and ethics journals.

In addition to our extensive experience in medical negligence and clinical risk, we have a broad‐based health law practice advising both public and private health providers on a range of legal issues including:

  • Clinical protocols for health care providers;
  • Developing health policy for government and private industry;
  • Providing corporate and commercial advice to industry participants;
  • Industrial relations in the health sector; and
  • Medical practice management.

This experience underpins our clinical negligence work and ensures we have a deep and up‐to‐date understanding of the legal and policy environment which shapes the health sector.


  • Medical practitioners: Acting for medical practitioners of varying specialities in a myriad of cases on issues of advice, informed consent, negligent performance of surgery, negligent diagnosis, and all aspects of medical malpractice litigation in both the Supreme Court and District Courts of New South Wales;
  • Medical practitioners and private hospitals: Acting for numerous medical practitioners and private hospitals who are interested parties in coronial inquests;
  • Various health care professionals: Acting for various other health care professionals such as students and trainee doctors, physiotherapists, optometrists, pharmacists, dentists and veterinary surgeons in the defence of claims for professional negligence and before disciplinary bodies, workers compensation accreditation review panels and coronial inquiries;
  • Medical practitioners: Acting for medical practitioners of varying specialties in disputes against professional colleges including assisting them on applications for review or reconsideration of decisions and/or appeals for such matters as failed examinations and expulsion from training programs;
  • Medical negligence: Acting in the seminal case that first established the principles governing entitlement to damages for ‘loss of a chance’ in medical negligence claims;
  • Multiple anaesthetists: Acting for multiple anaesthetists in an HCCC/Medical Council investigation involving, among other things, the licensing arrangements of a medical facility;
  • Private hospital: Acting for a private hospital being sued by multiple plaintiffs in negligence for sexual abuse perpetrated by a contracted specialist;
  • Medical practitioners: Acting in defence of catastrophic damages claims, in particular baby brain damage matters; and
  • Medical practitioners: Acting in defence of failure to diagnose cancer cases which often involve expedited timetables and court hearings.

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