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Venetia A. Stewart

Special Counsel
+61.8.9216.0956
Fax +61.8.9216.0901

Venetia Stewart acts for international and Australian clients in the resolution of commercial claims and litigation matters across a range of industries, with a focus on oil and gas, construction, mining services and sport. She advises clients on contractual disputes, construction and project issues, tortious matters, government inquiries, investigations and prosecutions, and joint venture disputes. Ms. Stewart is experienced in advising clients during significant events and industrial incidents, which allows her to advise clients on their emergency response procedures in preparation for major incidents and crises.

Ms. Stewart is also active in the sports industry. She advises sporting clients, chairs tribunal hearings and investigations, and regularly presents to sports industry members.

Ms. Stewart's focus is to provide responsive and commercial advice, and she enjoys building relationships with clients in the course of doing so.

She is currently studying a Master of Laws (focusing on construction law) at the University of Melbourne.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates in early 2013, Ms. Stewart was a lawyer and senior associate at a large Australian national law firm for six years.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA) President
  • Football West Tribunal Chair

Speaking Engagements

  • "Are you prepared for a crisis?" presented for Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA), Perth, August 14, 2012
  • "Conducting effective tribunals" presented at the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation, Perth, September 7, 2012
  • "Sports Law: Current issues in anti-doping" presented at Edith Cowan University, Perth, May 1, 2013
  • "Development of sports law in Australia" presented at the Melbourne University Law Masters Sports Law 25th Anniversary Conference, Melbourne, July 11 and 12, 2013

Major disputes: construction, oil and gas, mining industries

  • Advising and acting for Apache Corporation and its Australian affiliates (Apache Energy and Apache Northwest) in relation to the explosion and fire at the Varanus Island gas processing facilities in June 2008, including in respect of a regulatory investigation and the successful defence of a prosecution by the State of Western Australia, administrative law issues and significant multi-party civil claims by customers. 
  • Advising a large offshore construction and installation contractor in relation to a significant dispute arising from a large scale offshore construction project. 
  • Acting for Apache Northwest and Apache Corporation on a substantial multi-party commercial dispute with an existing gas customer. 
  • Acting for Quadrant Energy in relation to a dispute over the meaning and effect of provisions for payment of a transfer fee in a seismic survey licence agreement. 
  • Acting for Quadrant Energy in relation to a multi-party contractual dispute regarding seismic survey operations and liability for shared and joint costs. 
  • Representing HWE Mining in its defence of a prosecution by the State of Western Australia under the Western Australian mines safety and inspection legislation. 
  • Advising ATCO Gas Australia on a major incident in Western Australia, including managing responses to regulators and preparing for a Coronial investigation and anticipated legal proceedings. 
  • Providing Zhenhua Heavy Industries with strategic advice concerning a dispute with a Perth based construction company in respect of matter including non-payment of retention monies. 
  • Acting for ExxonMobil on a joint venture dispute with BHP Billiton relating to the explosion and fire at the Longford gas plant in 1998.

Sport

  • Advising Tennis West in relation to the redevelopment of its own facilities, in the context of the new Perth Stadium and redevelopment project on the Burswood Peninsula. 
  • Advising the West Australian Football Commission in relation to a seriously injured player. 
  • Advising Cricket Australia in relation to the serious injury and death of an Australian player. 
  • Advising and representing Tennis Australia in an anti-doping tribunal proceeding involving a junior player. 
  • Advising and representing NIKE in relation to a Pacific soccer competition and a dispute over the interpretation of its rules.
  • Advising Football West in relation to an off field incident involving players, including advising in respect of by-laws and procedures. 
  • Conducting an independent investigation on behalf of Cycling Australia into the behaviour of a Board member alleged to have harassed staff and other association members. 
  • Acting for Tennis Australia in a dispute against Adidas involving the use of Adidas’ “three stripes”. 
  • Advising Cricket Australia in respect of a player health and well being policy. 
  • Advising Melbourne Victory in relation to matters of anti-doping policy and compliance. 
  • Advising an individual athlete in relation to an anti-doping rule violation allegation. 
  • Acting for the AFL in an anti-doping tribunal hearing involving a player. 
  • Chairing an independent appeal board on behalf of Touch Football Australia regarding the behaviour of members and the sport's internal disciplinary and grievance procedures. 
  • Advising WA 2011 in relation to the Perth 2011 Sailing World Championships event, particularly in respect of insurance and risk management, and representing the company in relation to disputes arising after the event. 
  • Sitting as a tribunal member (or chair) to hear disciplinary, grievance and member protection issues across a number of sports, including basketball, tennis, cycling and football.

Other

  • Obtaining urgent injunctive relief for SRG to prevent the dissemination of confidential information. 
  • Representing a Portuguese manufacturing company in respect of trade practices claims by Australian customer and distributor. 
  • Representing and assisting HWE Mining/Leighton Contractors in respect of government inquiries into incidents at mine sites in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 
  • Working with a leading construction company on a dispute over a residential development in the south west of Western Australia. 
  • Advising and representing listed companies in Australian Federal Court proceedings for curative relief in respect non-compliance with Australian corporations law and failure to issue cleansing notices. 
  • Acting for National Foods on disputes with various distributors. 
  • Acting for Liberty Financial, Secure Funding and BGC (Australia) in a range of recovery proceedings against defaulting customers. 
  • Advising BGC Australia, ATCO Gas Australia and DOF Subsea on their crisis management response procedures in preparation for major events and crises.