Cathy Dowsett


  • +61 3 9225 6777

Areas of Practice

Common Law/Personal Injury
  • Intentional Torts
  • Professional Negligence
  • Workers Compensation
  • Appellate
  • Disciplinary Proceedings
  • Discrimination
  • Judicial Review and administrative law
  • Merits Review
  • Discrimination
  • Employment Contracts and Restraint of Trade
  • Industrial Disputes and statutory employment rights
  • Public Sector Appeals
  • Work Health and Safety
  • Coronial Inquests
Cathy Dowsett

Cathy Dowsett

Telephone: +61 3 9225 6805
Room 0603
Joan Rosanove Chambers
550 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne Vic 3000

Admitted to the Legal Profession: 

05 Aug 1997

Signed Victorian Bar Roll:

20 May 2010


BA LLB (UTAS), Grad Dip Legal Prac (ANU)

Also entitled to practise in:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • High Court of Australia


Cathy Dowsett has a practice centred on employment and administrative law, and a developing professional negligence practice. She represents clients at all levels of court and tribunal and has appeared as sole counsel, and as a junior, on multiple occasions in the Federal Court of Australia.  Cathy undertakes both advisory and advocacy work.

Administrative law

Cathy’s administrative law practice is based largely in the Federal jurisdiction. Cathy has vast experience representing insurers in workers’ compensation proceedings before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Cathy often appears in appeals to the Federal Court and Full Federal court on matters concerning the interpretation and application of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Current and recent cases include:

Summers v Repatriation Commission [2015] FCAFC 36, Summers v Repatriation Commission (No 2) [2015) FCAFC 64, Summers v Repatriation Commission (No 3) [2015 FCAFC 85 – Full Court appeal concerning entitlements under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth).  The case also considered the question of whether to grant leave to further amend notice of appeal, and the issue of costs (including whether the solicitor was entitled to seek or obtain payment for legal work performed).

Hutchinson v Comcare [2014] FCA 1300 – resisting an application for an extension of time to lodge an appeal under section 44(1) of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth) in circumstances where the draft notice of appeal did not disclose a question of law. 

Digiglio and Transpacific Industries Pty Ltd [2015] AATA 226 – claim for compensation under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth). The applicant suffered an injury prior to the grant of a licence to the licensee. The Tribunal was required to consider whether the applicant’s employment after the grant of the licence contributed, to a significant degree, to the injury in respect of which compensation was claimed.

Employment law

Cathy is a specialist in employment and discrimination law with considerable experience in the full range of litigation in this field of law. Cathy has experience across a wide range of industries including public sector, retail, transport, security, financial services, manufacturing and tourism.

Current and recent cases include:

Duff v Commonwealth of Australia (through National Museum of Australia) and Others NTD43/2014 – allegations of unlawful discrimination contrary to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth).

Shamir v Commonwealth of Australia (Australian Taxation Office) (VID321/2015) – broad ranging allegations arising from the applicant’s employment with the ATO, including allegations of contraventions of various provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Hindu Society of Victoria v Fair Work Ombudsman (MLG2645/2014) – an application under section 717 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for review of a compliance notice issued under section 716.

Fair Work Ombudsman v Lu’s Health Care Pty Ltd (MLG2246/2014) – application seeking declarations and orders in respect of alleged contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including allegations of sham contracting.

Fair Work Ombudsman v Devine Marine Group Pty Ltd [2015] FCA 370 – resisting an application for costs under section 570 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in circumstances where the operation of section 550 (“knowingly involved in” the contraventions) was clarified by decisions delivered after the proceedings were instituted.

Lei v Chance Trading Pty Ltd  [2015] FCCA 441 – default judgment in a general protections claim brought by a receptionist who was subjected to adverse action (including dismissal) because of pregnancy. Compensation for economic loss and non-economic loss, and pecuniary penalties ordered.

Zarb v Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Pty Ltd [2014] FCCA 967  - adverse action, discrimination and breach of contract claim brought by an employee who resigned following extended training and repeated unsuccessful attempts to obtain an essential qualification.

Marshall v Commonwealth of Australia (represented by The Bureau of Meteorology) [2012] FMCA 1052 – the “Beauty and the Geek” case.

John Holland Pty Ltd trading as John Holland Aviation Services Pty Ltd v Ronaldo Salazar [2014] FWCFB 7813 – application for leave to appeal from a decision of a Commissioner at first instance, determined on the basis of procedural fairness issues.

From 26 Aug 2010, liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.

The information referred to above has been supplied by the barrister concerned. Neither Victorian Bar Inc nor the barrister's clerk have independently verified the accuracy or completeness of the information and neither accepts any responsibility in that regard.