Natalie Blok has a diverse practice in administrative law and workplace law, with a particular focus on planning & environment law, regulatory compliance & disciplinary inquiries and employment disputes. She has a particular interest in expanding her expertise in regulatory and integrity issues, including in public inquiries and commissions.
Prior to the Bar, Natalie was a Principal Solicitor with the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office (2004-2013) and an associate to the Hon. Justice Gray of the Federal Court (2003-2004). A highlight of her time with the VGSO was leading a team of schools’ lawyers in the Department of Education and Early Childhood (18 months).
Academic & Professional Qualifications
Bachelor of Arts/Law, University of Melbourne, 2003
Master of Public and International Law, University of Melbourne, 2018 (Planning and Development Law, Employment Contracts, Statutory Interpretation, Discrimination Law, Industrial Bargaining, Workplace Investigations, Citizenship Law, Workplace Health and Safety, Water Law, Advanced Administrative Law, and Executive Power)
Governance Essentials, Governance Institute of Australia, (2018, ongoing)
Scholarships and Awards
Melbourne Equity Scholarship – University of Melbourne (BA/LLB 1997-2002)
Jessie Leggatt Scholarship – History & Philosophy of Law 1997
Mallesons Stephen Jacques Ruth Campbell Prize – History & Philosophy of Law 1997
1st Place: History 1996, Sex Crime and Law 1996, Critical Issues in Criminology 1997
Natalie is hard working, reliable, engaged and personable. She has a systematic and thorough approach and attends to both detail and broader strategic concerns. She has an excellent understanding of government systems and administrative processes and is adept at making them easily understood. She is passionate about the law and brings strong research, writing and problem-solving skills and capacities to all her work.
Natalie’s practice involves advice and appearance work, both led and unled, in the Federal Court (including the Full Court), Victorian Court of Appeal, the Victorian Supreme Court, the Coroner’s Court, the Federal Circuit Court, the Children's Court and VCAT. Natalie regularly acts on behalf of developers, local government or objectors in planning cases in VCAT and before Boards and Panels in disciplinary matters (including the Suitability Panel, the Merit Protection Board, and as Counsel Assisting the Victorian Building Practitioners’ Board). She enjoys acting both for and against government clients in a range of matters including regulatory proceedings, merits and judicial review proceedings (such as migration and Comcare) and coronial inquests. She frequently acts for the Department of Health and Human Services in matters involving the State’s most vulnerable children.
In her employment law practice, Natalie advises and conducts litigation on behalf of both employees and employers including in unfair dismissals (and jurisdictional disputes), underpayment claims, adverse action and discrimination. She also regularly advises the new Registered Organisations Commissioner.
She recently completed her Masters while working full-time, relishing the opportunity to research and write on new subject matters. Highlights include her paper on the (executive) power to institute royal commissions (which considered also the history, purpose and functions of such commissions), the scope of relevant considerations under the Planning & Environment Act 1987 (Vic) and the use of the precautionary principle in decisions-making in applications involving the use of ground water.
Natalie regularly works with Senior Counsel, most recently with Dominique Hogan-Doran SC, Kristen Walker QC (Solicitor-General) and Christopher Canavan QC. She has also worked with Richard Niall QC (now of the Court of Appeal), Melinda Richards SC (now of the Supreme Court), Steve Moore QC (now of the Supreme Court), Susan Brennan SC, Paul O’Grady QC, and Guy Gilbert SC.
The Registered Organisations Commissioner v CEPU (2018) FCA (civil penalty – Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) – led by Dominique Hogan-Doran SC, instructed by Landers & Rogers)
DHHS v [confidential 1] (2018) Suitability Panel (disciplinary – Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) – instructed by the ASU)
DHHS v [confidential 2] (2018) Suitability Panel (disciplinary – Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) – instructed by the ASU)
DHHS v [confidential 3] (2018) Suitability Panel (disciplinary – Children Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) – instructed by the ASU)
Clarendon Works Pty Ltd v Port Phillip CC  VCAT 956 (led by Christopher Canavan QC, for the developer – instructed by Rigby Cooke)
LCM Calvary Health Care Holdings Ltd v Glen Eira CC (Red Dot)  VCAT 655 (Major Cases List, for the Resident Group, objector – direct brief)
Secretary to the Department of Health & Human Services v Children's Court of Victoria  VSC 183 (for the State, instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services)
DWN16 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection  FCCA 1911 (for the applicant – instructed by Kerdo Legal)
DCF407 King Street Developing Entity v Melbourne CC  VCAT 423 (led by Susan Brennan SC, for Haileybury College – instructed by Norton Rose)
Monsoon Bay Pty Ltd v Whitehorse CC  VCAT 217 (led by Susan Brennan SC, for Monsoon Bay Pty Ltd, developer – instructed by Norton Rose)
Parc Vue Projects Pty Ltd v Darebin CC  VCAT 1602 (for the responsible authority – direct brief)
Neo v Wyndham CC  VCAT 1679 (for the developer – direct brief)
Mornington Peninsular SC v Coleus Investments Pty Ltd  VCAT 1241 (for the developer – direct brief)
Talbot v Yarra CC  VCAT 1515 (for the objector – direct brief)
Nicholls v Queenscliffe BC  VCAT 1573 (for the objector – direct brief)
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection v BJC16  FCAFC 114 (led by Guy Gilbert SC, for the respondent, power of registrars to dismiss proceedings at the first court date, instructed by Kerdo Legal)
MZZLO v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (No 2)  FCA 356 (led by Guy Gilbert SC, for the applicant – instructed by Wimal and Associates)
Environment East Gippsland Inc v Secretary to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and VicForests (Supreme Court, 2016, settled) (for the plaintiff, led by Richard Niall QC and Kristen Walker QC)
MZABP v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection  FCA 1391 (for the applicant, instructed by Kerdo Legal)
Inquest into the death of Neil Williamson (2016, for the chief commissioner of police, instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright)
Inquest into the death of Jessica Wilson (2014, instructed by Youth Law)
Zhong v Royal Melbourne Hospital  VSCA 220 (for the defendant, instructed by the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office)
“Applying the Apprehended Bias Test: A Nuance and Balanced Approach”: Seminar Paper prepared with Nicholas Green QC for Legalwise June 2018
“Facts and Evidence in Administrative Law: Does it Matter?” Seminar Paper prepared with Nicholas Green QC for Legalwise 2017
“It is (not) ok to offer ‘Black Babies” to Indigenous Employees in the Commonwealth Public Service” (2016) 23 AJ Admin L 119 (case note on Mata-Meyer v Commonwealth  FCAFC 139 – race discrimination complaint)
Appointments and memberships
Women Barristers Association – membership officer and subcommittee chair (Women in History) 2018-
Tutor – La Trobe University
School Councillor: Spensely Street Primary School (3 years) & Education Policy Committee Chair: School Council (2 years)
VPELA; Australian Institute of Administrative Law; Australian Labour Law Association; Industrial Bar Association; Migration Law Bar Association