Leading industrial lawyer Gerard Phillips has been appointed President of the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC), and will simultaneously join the NSW District Court bench, Attorney General Mark Speakman and Finance Minister Victor Dominello announced today.
Mr Phillips replaces Judge Greg Keating who retired as WCC President earlier this month after 11 years of service.
“Mr Phillips brings more than 30 years of legal experience to the bench and is consistently recognised as one of Australia’s top industrial lawyers in Chambers Asia-Pacific legal directory,” Mr Speakman said.
“He has practiced extensively in every state in Australia and also the United Kingdom, appearing in all NSW court jurisdictions, as well as the High Court, across a range of criminal, civil, personal injury, industrial relations and employment matters.”
Mr Phillips has acted for hundreds of clients, predominantly in the construction, mining and electricity industries, and is one of the few lawyers who has both prosecuted and defended work health and safety matters.
He has also appeared in the Industrial Commission of NSW and represented clients in Royal Commissions, the State Crime Commission and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
He is a partner at the private law firm K&L Gates, and was a Board member between 2011 and 2017. Mr Phillips has provided pro bono services to community organisations including St John’s College at the University of Sydney and the Australian Rugby Union Players Association, and is a regular author on industrial relations issues.
Mr Dominello said the Workers Compensation Commission played a crucial role in the $3.2 billion scheme, helping to mediate and adjudicate disputes between injured workers and insurers.
“I congratulate Mr Phillips on his appointment. He is undoubtedly a leader in the field of industrial relations law and he joins the Commission at a critical juncture in the development of the dispute resolution system. I have every confidence that Mr Phillips will bring great leadership, vision and energy to the role of President,” Mr Dominello said.
Mr Phillips begin his seven-year term as President of the WCC on 23 January next year. His appointment as a District Court judge will begin on the same day.