Australia: Interview with Scott Puxty – Partner, Newcastle office
Last Updated: 21 February 2011

We speak to Scott Puxty about his main areas of practice and some of his best cases

What is your position within the firm?

Partner in the Newcastle Office.

How long have you had that role?

I was appointed Partner in 2006, but I had previously been a partner for four years in another mid tier firm.

What is your main client base?

Private and publicly listed corporations predominantly in the manufacturing and mining sectors, state government departments as well as not-for-profit entities.

What are your main areas of practice?

Workplace relations, workplace safety and compliance.

And what kind of work has that involved?

Advising clients in relation to employment contracts, award and legislative interpretation and collective agreements. I also work with clients in relation to workplace safety compliance.

What other types of advice do you provide?

I provide other strategic advice regarding engagement and termination of employment as well as redundancy and the variation of terms and conditions of employment. I also perform workplace education activities and workplace surveillance / audits to monitor compliance.

What types of matters do you act in?

I am involved in managing disputes for clients in relation to unfair dismissal, breach of contract, discrimination and union rights of entry. In relation to workplace safety, I assist in the management of critical incidents, investigations and prosecutions.

What jurisdictions do you operate in?

I have acted in most jurisdictions including the High Court of Australia, Federal Court, Supreme Court of NSW, the former Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Fair Work Australia, the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, HREOC, the Federal Magistrates Court, the former Chief Industrial Magistrate’s Court and the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

What has been your most interesting matter?

I was involved in assisting the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice manage its review of detainee policies and procedures after the riot at the Kariong Detention Centre. This incident also led to the department being prosecuted by the NSW WorkCover Authority for breaches of OHS legislation. I was instructed to defend the Department in those proceedings.

What has been your most challenging matter?

The coordination and documentation of the industrial relations strategy for a large construction site on behalf of a large publicly listed company. The work involved a complex contractual relationship between our client and a head contractor that in turn subcontracted work to numerous other providers. There were also a number of other stakeholders interested in the performance of the construction work, including the state and federal governments and a number of trade unions. All these interests needed to be accommodated and / or managed in the process of developing an appropriate strategy to ensure that the project was completed and to control the risk of industrial activity.

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