Stephen Coyle

Stephen is an experienced dispute resolution and litigation lawyer acting for Commonwealth government agencies and private sector clients in federal and state courts. His litigation experience is underpinned by a background in commercial law advising private and public sector clients on major projects, contracting, risks and disputes.

Stephen has acted on a wide range of commercial and civil disputes and has particular expertise in complex litigation, large multi party/cohort litigation, natural disasters, cross jurisdictional litigation, public liability involving psychiatric injury, nervous shock, intentional torts, media sensitive cases, competition law, defamation and public interest immunity issues. He routinely advises clients on dispute resolution processes including mediation, case appraisal, conciliation and arbitration, inquests and statutory inquiries.

Stephen has in-depth knowledge of model litigate obligations and Legal Services Directions 2017 and has experience in briefing Ministers and the Office of Legal Service Coordination in the Attorney-General’s Department.

Stephen is admitted in the Supreme Courts of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Western Australia and the High Court of Australia.


Stephen’s experience includes:

  • Department of Defence
    • Defence Legal (on instructions from Comcover): Stephen acted for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in relation to 30+ claims for property damage arising from the Marrangaroo Army Base bushfire (aka the State Mine bushfire). He has also acted for the ADF in other contract and liability disputes and litigation for alleged defamatory publications (Gmitrovic v Commonwealth of Australia [2016] NSWSC 418);
    • Office of Defence Special Counsel (ODSC) – Defence Legal (full time secondment): Stephen was seconded on an extended full-time basis to the ODSC which is tasked with managing strategic and complex claims involving the ADF;
    • Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) (then Defence Materiel Organisation): Stephen has worked with various teams consulting on the LAND116 Bushmasters Program, JP2008 Phase 3F Satellite Wideband SATCOM program, Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar and the JP2070 (Djimindi Alliance) project;
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (on instructions from Comcover): Acting for the DIBP in relation to claims by former immigration detainees for alleged psychiatric injury arising from immigration detention. Stephen has also advised and appeared as counsel in various claims against the DIBP for damages arising from alleged defamatory publications and misfeasance in public office;
  • Australian Crime Commission/Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC): Acting for the ACIC in relation to various applications to set aside subpoenas, Public Interest Immunity claims and other objections against production of sensitive material – R v Eastman [No 4] [2015] ACTSC 366 (judgment suppressed) determination of PII claims; R v Eastman [No 14] [2017] ACTSC 66 (judgment suppressed) application to set aside subpoena;
  • Leading national agribusiness: Acting for a national agribusiness defending prosecution by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for contraventions of Sections 18, 29 and 33 (misleading and deceptive conduct) of the Australian Consumer Law – Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and in various other planning and development disputes in the State Administrative Tribunal;
  • Westpac Banking Corporation Ltd (Westpac): Acting for Westpac in relation to 50+ urgent Supreme Court applications to prevent Westpac’s interests from confiscation as a result of the operation of the Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 (WA); and
  • Various insurers: Acting for an international intergraded facilities service provider in litigation arising from the destruction of a remote mining camp by a cyclone. Advising a consortium of insurers in relation to multiple business interruption claims caused by the Varanus Island Gas explosion in Western Australia.

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