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one eagle – waterfront brisbane
level 30, 1 eagle street
brisbane qld 4000
+61 7 3235 0400


40-42 scott st,
dandenong vic 3175
+61 3 9794 2600


level 7, 600 bourke st,
melbourne vic 3000
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level 11, 225 george st,
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+61 2 8298 9533

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Barney Adams

special counsel, employment, safety and migration

meet Barney

about Barney

melbourne office 03 9208 9822
pa: kerstan welshman 03 9794 2625

about Barney

In employment law, the subject matter is always people and it is this aspect of his practice that interests Barney Adams the most. Always striving to build rapport with his clients, Barney is responsive to their needs and thoughtfully tailors his approach.

“We are trusted advisors and, in our area, our advice has significant impacts on people and their livelihoods. In any matter, we are not only there to provide advice but also reassurance that everything is under control in what is often a stressful situation.”

Barney advises and collaborates with his clients across all aspects of employment law and he has specific expertise in workplace health and safety.

Barney’s attention to detail and passion for effective communication have earned him a reputation as a lawyer with exceptional technical and drafting skills. These skills enable Barney to guide his clients safely through the labyrinth of Australian workplace laws to achieve their objectives.

Areas of Expertise

  • General employment advice
  • Independent contract engagements
  • Managing fitness for work
  • Organisational restructures and redundancies
  • Employment disputes (including unfair dismissal and general protections claims)
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Workplace investigations

recent experience

  • Persistence pays off in fight against WorkSafe

    Through never-wavering persistence and creative legal work, Barney was able to save a longstanding family-run business after WorkSafe suspended its license to operate as a registered training organisation indefinitely and without warning. Despite his client’s weak legal position, Barney worked tirelessly to exhaust all potential avenues for having the suspension lifted and avoiding a permanent cancellation. Even after an injunction to prevent the suspension was refused by the Supreme Court, Barney did not back down. He lobbied local government members, prepared a freedom of information request and advanced his client’s position through correspondence with the regulator. Dedication ultimately paid off when the reviewer agreed to not cancel the client’s license, allowing them to get back to business.

  • Smooth management of major industrial factory accident

    The team were contacted at 5pm on a Friday in relation to a major industrial accident at a client’s meat processing facility. Quick thinking and expert knowledge were essential to providing on-the-spot telephone advice on immediate incident response measures. Following this initial advice, Barney and team conducted a compliance investigation which was then followed by a full investigation with external OHS professions. Barney guided the client through the necessary steps, calmly managing all aspects to minimise distress for the client.

  • Making the best of a bad situation

    Barney’s client was charged with breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 following a workplace accident. The injured worker had long since returned to work with support from the client, but WorkSafe had resolved to prosecute. Working closely with specialist counsel, Barney ensured that the proceedings were resolved with a modest fine and no conviction recorded. Pleased with the excellent level of service, the client returned to Barney on multiple occasions as a first port of call for commercial and employment matters.