Tony Vernier

Call 2013

Background

Tony maintains a broad practice in employment and industrial law, general commercial and insolvency litigation, and professional conduct and administrative law matters. He also possesses a wealth of experience in the equity jurisdiction representing clients in property disputes, building and construction matters and trade practices cases.

Tony appears for his domestic and international clients in the Federal Court of Australia, Supreme Court of New South Wales, the Fair Work Commission and in tribunals, such as NCAT, across a diverse range of sectors. Although he appears primarily in New South Wales, Tony also has experience working in every other jurisdiction in Australia. He accepts briefs from law firms and from human resources departments.

Tony is valued for his effective advocacy and cross examination skills, as well as his practical advice. He deploys strong lateral thinking, analytical and legal reasoning skills when advising clients and gets to the heart of matters expeditiously. Having worked in senior positions in law firms, Tony’s leadership skills are refined, and he enjoys collaborating with his instructing solicitors and clients to achieve the most favourable outcomes, whether in Court or in an alternative dispute resolution forum, such as mediation.

Prior to being called to the Bar in 2013, Tony worked in private practice for 24 years, including as a Partner in the Employment and Industrial Law departments and General Commercial Litigation departments of large national law firms. While practising as a solicitor, Tony received specialist accreditation in employment and industrial law through the Law Society of New South Wales.

Tony has delivered numerous professional development seminars relating to his core areas of practice and has been interviewed by journalists from The Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Channel 7 regarding high profile employment law cases and other employment-related matters, such as the impact of social media on the workplace. Tony holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.

Publications And Media

Select Matters

Employment and Industrial

  • Spiral Foods v Norton (Supreme Court- Equity Division). Complex litigation that spanned over 3 years involving equitable tracing, breach of fiduciary duties and Barnes v Addy claims. Settled in 2024 just prior to a 2-week hearing commencing.
  • Hilltop Meats Pty Ltd [2022] FWC 2844. Application to approve an Enterprise Agreement opposed by the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union.
  • United Workers’ Union v Wilson Security Pty Ltd [2021] FWC 1447. Dispute concerning the proper construction of provisions in an Enterprise Agreement which regulated the quantum and timing of pay increases.
  • Atlantic Pacific Securities Pty Ltd v Primmer (Supreme Court – Equity Division). Complicated matter including breach of fiduciary duties and breach of confidence. Matter settled in 2021.
  • Kinninmont v Ku-ring-gai Council [2020] NSWIRComm 1064. Application for relief for victimization. Presumption displaced in respect of dismissal.
  • SafeWork NSW v P & K Bezzina Pty Ltd [2020] NSWDC 91. WH&S prosecution where there was a risk of death or serious injury.
  • Loata Petrunic v Q Catering Limited T/A Q Catering [2019] FWC 3931. Unfair dismissal claim that ran for 5 days.
  • Richard Kinninmont v Ku-ring-gai Council [2019] NSWIRComm 1029. Amendment of application for relief from victimisation out of time.
  • National Union of Workers v Broadspectrum (Australia) Pty Ltd [2018] FWC 122. Successful defence of a dispute under s739 of the Fair Work Act lodged by the NUW.
  • Rabbi Samuel Tov-Lev v Strathfield & District Hebrew Congregation [2018] FWCFB 5613. Appeal from an unfair dismissal hearing.
  • Wigglesworth v Warringah Plastics Pty Ltd [2017] FWC 1266. Unfair dismissal claim.
  • Global Integration Technology Pty Ltd v Basilio (unreported, Local Court Magistrate Keogh, 11 November 2016). Successful defence of a claim seeking damages for breach of post-employment restraint.
  • Guy v The GEO Group Australia Pty Ltd [2016] FWC 1628. Successful defence of an unfair dismissal claim involving theft.
  • Broadcast Transmission Services Pty Ltd v Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union [2015] FWC 6340. Application for an order that industrial action by employees stop.
  • De Martin & Gasparini Pty Ltd & Anor v CFMEU [2015] FWC 477. Application for orders that industrial action not occur due to pattern bargaining.
  • Maleknia v University of Sydney [2014] FWC 7773. Opposing a jurisdictional challenge by the employer that the employment was not terminated at the initiative of the employer.
  • Goldsmith v CSR Limited t/as Viridian New World Glass [2014] FWC 157. Successful defence of an unfair dismissal claim involving misconduct.
  • Krix v Director-General Department of Education and Communities [2014] NSWIRComm 1000. Unfair dismissal claim which received widespread media publicity.
  • Workpac Pty Ltd v Bambach [2012] FWAFB 3206. Appeal concerning the interpretation of what constitutes continuous service for the purpose of unfair dismissal proceedings under the Fair Work Act 2009.
  • Garuccio v W.P. Crowhurst Pty Ltd [2010] FWA 9595. This was an unfair dismissal hearing regarding carer’s leave.
  • Kaur v DHL Exel Supply Chain [2008] AIRC 457. This was an unfair dismissal hearing, which required an interpreter. The hearing ran for 4 days.
  • AMWU V Hitachi Construction Machinery (Australia) Pty Ltd [2007] AIRC 562. Opposition to an application for a Protected Action Ballot.
  • Sapula v ResMed Ltd [2007] FCA 438. Unlawful termination matter commenced in the Federal Court. The application was dismissed with costs.
  • Philip Knight v Wattyl Australia Pty Ltd [2006] AIRC 788. Successful application to dismiss an unfair dismissal claim on jurisdictional grounds, resignation.
  • Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union v Wattyl Australia Pty Ltd [2005] AIRC 996. This was an appeal from orders preventing the taking of industrial action by the union.
  • Australian Workers’ Union v Pilkington (Australia) Operations Ltd [2004] AIRC 696. This was a dispute where the tribunal ordered that the entire workforce should be given a warning for taking unlawful industrial action.
  • Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union v Norske Skog Paper Mills (Australia) Ltd [2004] AIRC 494. This was a dispute over the interpretation of an enterprise agreement.
  • Re Australian Workers’ Union and Another (2002) 118 IR 1. This was the leading case on demarcation under NSW industrial law.

Commercial / Insolvency / General

  • Bucher Municipal v Crozier (Federal Court). Complex litigation that ran for 2 years involving breach of copyright, breach of the ACL, breach of restraint terms in a sale of business agreement and breach of fiduciary duties. Settled in 2023 just before a 2-week hearing.
  • In the matter of Fitzgerald Housing Limited (Restructuring Practitioner Apptd) [2023] NSWSC 1481. Application to adjourn winding up to advance restructuring and challenge to plaintiff’s standing in winding up application.
  • In the matter of Kay Fitzgerald Housing Charity Limited (unreported judgement, Black J, 14 September 2023). Application under section 459S of the Corporations Act.
  • Stonebark Pty Ltd v Disage Pty Ltd [2022] NSWSC 1015. Successful opposition to extension of caveat.
  • Explorer Pty Ltd t/as I&D Industries v System Logix Pty Ltd [2020] NSWSC 1198. Misleading representations under the Australian Consumer Law and whether director knowingly involved in the contravention.
  • O’Neil v Country motor Company Pty Ltd [2019] NSWCATAP 129. Breach of consumer guarantees – rejection of caravan for major defect. Hearing at first instance [2018] NSWCATCD 76.
  • Kohacek and Colley v Alextor International Pty Ltd and 5 others (unreported, District Court of NSW, Gibb DCJ, 24 June 2016) Successfully defended a claim for damages for nuisance due to noise, odour and smoke. The hearing ran for 8 days.
  • Agriwealth Pty Ltd v Gordon [2016] NSWSC 824. Application for joinder of third party.
  • Zeene v Zeene (No 2) [2015] NSWSC 1151. Application to strike out claim on estoppel grounds.
  • Steel Supplies Bega v Shoveller [2014] NSWSC 1612. Breaches of lease. Termination of tenancy. Application for relief against forfeiture.
  • Delaney & Cullinan v Winn [2014] NSWDC 87. Contract law and negligent misstatement in a pre-purchase report of a house.
  • Dyason v Butterworth [2013] FCCA 2067. Application to set aside a Bankruptcy notice – complicating factor whether costs in an Apprehended Violence Order are able to support a Bankruptcy Notice. 
  • Trinity Properties Pty Ltd and Others v R F Giles and Payne and Co (1996) 20 ASCR 22, [1996] FCA 1456. Successful application to set aside statutory demands used to recover costs of a solicitor. This decision received publicity at the time due to the consequences it had on the recovery of solicitor’s costs.
  • Re Future Life Enterprises Pty Ltd (1994) 33 NSWLR 559. This case dealt with the reinstatement of a deregistered company and that a company cannot be reinstated for limited purposes.
  • Pollard Ex parte; Lensing Management Co Pty Ltd (1991) 33 FCR 284. This was an application to set aside a Bankruptcy Notice and dealt with the issue of whether the debtor was estopped from disputing the validity of the Bankruptcy Notice.

Professional Conduct/Administrative Law

  • Russo v Legal Services Commissioner [2016] NSWCA 306 (Lead by T Lynch SC) Successful appeal setting aside orders made by NCAT.
  • Roulstone v NSW Bar Association [2015] NSWSC 1749 (Lead by B Coles QC). Successful application setting aside refusal by Bar Association to issue practising certificate.
  • Dyason v Butterworth [2015] NSWCA 52. Judicial review of apprehended personal violence order. Jurisdictional error by the District Court.
  • Roulstone v NSW Bar Association [2015] NSWSC 5. (Lead by T Lynch SC) Barrister’s practising certificate. Application for interim order to grant certificate. Application granted.
  • Barakat v Law Society of NSW [2014] NSWSC 773. (Lead by T Lynch SC) Solicitor’s practising certificate. Whether fit and proper person. Relevance of acting on advice. Certificate granted.

Building and Construction 

  • Kitchen Complex Pty Ltd v Revelop Building and Development Pty Ltd [2020] NSWSC 96. Appeal from the Local Court (Led by S Dawson SC). I also appeared in the case at first instance.
  • Glykis v Clarendon Homes (NSW) Pty Ltd (unreported decision, NCAT Senior Member Paull, 18 August 2017). Successful application to dismiss the proceedings on the basis that the applicant had no standing.
  • Trinh v Clarendon Homes (NSW) Pty Ltd [2016] NSWCATCD (unreported, NCAT Senior Member Robertson, 11 November 2016). Acted for the builder. Application by the homeowner was dismissed on all grounds with costs.
  • The Owners-SP 76597 v Dasco Constructions Pty Ltd [2014] NSWCATCD 96. Application for costs when proceedings settled without a hearing.
  • Jessica Talbot v Dr Geoffery Lee and Sue Maree Olsen/Lee [2014] NSWCATCD 181. Application is dismissed as frivolous, vexatious and misconceived.
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