James is a Partner in Sydney and admitted to practice in Australia and the UK and Wales.  James relocated to Australia in 2015 from Kennedys’ London office after 12 years in the London insurance market.

James’ practice includes a focus on Financial Lines, Cyber, D&O and Professional Indemnity for a range of professionals including construction and design professionals (architects and engineers), accountants, financial advisors, brokers and real estate agents.

He regularly advises on coverage matters and subrogated recoveries. His current practice combines Australian-based risks underwritten locally and internationally (particularly for insurers in the UK, Europe and APAC), including multi-jurisdictional claims.

He continues to act for a market of international insurers on high-value mining claims, as well as an international market of reinsurers or high value and high profile claims involving financial institutions. James manages a team of lawyers who handle claims and coverage advice arising out of SME businesses, which can vary from claims against company directors, IT professionals constructions professionals or IP infringements.  James also acts for one of the world’s largest electronic companies, on matters relating to product liability, property damage and personal injury.

James continues to provide seminars and lectures to insurers/reinsurers locally and internationally, most recently on matters relating to Cyber, Financial Institutions, D&O, Australian Regulators and Professional Indemnity trends across APAC.

He is approachable, commercial and offers good advice that understands what I want

Market recognition

  • Recommended Lawyer for 'Insurance (Australia)'
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021
  • Recommended Lawyer for 'Insurance (Australia)'
    "James Melvin is always focused on his client’s needs and looking to provide early commercial advice".
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020
  • A Recommended Lawyer for “Insurance”
    James Melvin is praised for his “acute commercial sense”
    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016 and 2018
  • James Melvin: “He is approachable, commercial and offers good advice that understands what I want”
    The Gracechurch Report: Asia Pacific Insurance Law 2017 – Kennedys’ outstanding lawyers: Australia

Work highlights

  • Advised insurers on their new cyber liability and privacy protection wording. This involved drafting policy sections, following consideration given to competitors within the Australian market.
  • Coverage advice in relation to a high-profile data breach involving an Australian property valuation firm. The response to the breach was expensive and complex, involving multiple technical advisors, public relations advisors and legal advisors.
  • Cyber incident response advice in relation to a number of email compromise incidents and ransomware incidents suffered by SMEs in industries including manufacturing, technology, real estate, healthcare and hospitality.
  • Mobis Parts Australia Pty Ltd v XL Insurance Company (SE) – Successfully defended AIG Europe Limited in a lengthy NSW Supreme Court trial following the collapse of a factory during a storm.  The trial centred on issues of proximate cause and entitlement to indemnity under a local and global insurance program
  • National Australia Bank (BBSW) – Advising the reinsurance market on issues of indemnity following ASIC progressing a claim against NAB for manipulation of the BBSW rate and unconscionable conduct.
  • National Australia Bank (IRHP) – Advising the entire reinsurance layer for NAB in relation to claim arising out of the interest rate hedging product that occurred within the UK by entities related to NAB.
  • Mount Gibson Iron v GHD – Acting for the insurance market in relation to the collapse of a seawall at Koolan Island that resulted in MGI and its Insurers incurring significant losses for the consequential property damage and business interruption.
  • US class action and claim against IT professional – Defended an Australian IT company who provided POS software to a large international cosmetic company, who sought to include the IT professional in the three separate US class actions relating to numerous breaches of US FACTA legislation.