Christine Westlake

Christine Westlake

Special Counsel Melbourne, Australia

Christine Westlake is Special Counsel based in Melbourne, Australia.  Christine was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario, Canada in 2011 and was subsequently admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales, Australia in 2015.

Christine has over ten years’ experience advising local and international insurers particularly in the areas of professional indemnity and directors’ and officers’ liability.  Christine acts for a range of professionals in professional indemnity claims, including directors and officers, solicitors, engineers, accountants, auditors, estate agents and building professionals.

Christine regularly provides advice in relation to litigation defence, external dispute resolution schemes, claims management, complex liability and coverage disputes, and strategic litigation management.

Christine also acts for clients in the educational sector in defence of a wide range of claims arising from allegations of breach of contract, breach of the Australian Consumer Laws, defamation and judicial review applications.

As Preferred Counsel to Ontario’s legal professional indemnity insurer, Christine has represented numerous lawyers in successfully defending a variety of claims ranging from allegations of negligent advice, conflicts of interest and missed deadlines from 2011-2015.  Upon relocating to Australia in 2015, Christine has continued acting for solicitors in her practice in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Christine has also acted as either defence counsel or coverage counsel in respect of various high profile class actions, including for an insurance brokerage in defence of a complex class action involving sixteen parties in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

While practicing in Ontario, Canada from 2011-2015, Christine was elected by her peers various to various executive positions within the Ontario Bar Association.  In these roles, Christine participated in advocating for various legislative changes in respect of various bills, development of continued professional development programming for the Ontario Bar Association and oversaw the drafting of case updates in respect of recent developments and edited newsletters for the benefit of its members.  In Australia, Christine has been actively involved in community pro bono programs first through the Lakemba Advice Bureau operated through Salvos Legal in Sydney, New South Wales and subsequently through Justice Connect and the Cancer Council Pro Bono Programs in Melbourne, Victoria.

Market recognition

  • Member-At Large (Elected), Young Lawyers Division Section Executive (Central) 2014-2015, Ontario Bar Association
  • Member-at-Large (Elected), Labour and Employment Section Executive 2014-2015, Ontario Bar Association
  • Newsletter Editor, Labour and Employment Section Executive 2012-2014, Ontario Bar Association

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a lawyer from a negligence claim in a 38-day trial in Ontario (See: Century v. New World Eng. Corp., 2013 ONSC 20140 – Reasons for Decision).
  • Successfully defended a lawyer in Ontario in a six-day motion wherein the moving party sought personal costs against the lawyer in respect of the underlying litigation (See: Giglio v. Peters, 2014 ONSC 2 – Reasons for Decision) and thereafter, successfully obtained a costs award in favour of the lawyer in the amount of $110,883.42 (See:  Giglio v. Peters, 2014 ONSC 1736 – Decision on Costs).
  • Acted for an insurance brokerage in a class action brought by debenture holders in the Supreme Court of Victoria. 
  • As a solicitor, acted as coverage counsel in respect of a securities class action against a large retail chain in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Defended a range of professionals in disciplinary proceedings, including accountants, lawyers, and healthcare professionals.