Catherine Wilkinson
Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Catherine Wilkinson, Partner and National Practice Group Leader - Workplace, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Catherine Wilkinson

Partner and National Practice Group Leader - Workplace
Sparke Helmore Lawyers

 L7, Sparke Helmore Building, 28 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle NSW 2300
 +61 404 828 193
  [email protected]
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Catherine is the National Practice Group Leader of our dynamic and collaborative Workplace team. A champion of gender equality and diversity at the firm and in the law, she fosters a supportive and cohesive work environment achieved through transparent and fair decision making and inclusivity. This is underpinned by her commitment to valuing every person for their contribution.

She brings to this leadership role more than 25 years’ experience in litigation and excellence in client service, having practised extensively in work health and safety and employment law for well over 22 years. Her depth of knowledge in these complex areas allows her to provide government and corporate clients with strategic and pragmatic advice on work health and safety, and a vast range of employment issues including discrimination, unfair dismissal, bullying, grievance procedures, sexual harassment and contractual issues.

Adopting a strategic yet sensitive approach, Catherine has managed many catastrophic workplace incidents (involving multiple fatalities) from an immediate coordinated response, through to responding to Regulator requests and investigations, coronial inquests, and defending prosecutions.

She advises Boards, executives, safety professionals and in-house counsel on due diligence requirements under the WHS laws and legislative compliance in areas such as contractor engagement and the appointment of principal contractors, safety management systems and the concept of “reasonably practicable.” Clients value her ability to draw upon years of expertise to offer pragmatic solutions to difficult issues.

With a thorough understanding of workplace law (including the Fair Work Act, discrimination and WHS legislation), Catherine regularly advises and represents employers on the management of long term injured employees, grievances, bullying and harassment, investigations and industrial issues. She does this with a view to achieving a sound operational and business outcome while minimising the risk of protracted litigation. 

Clients trust and value her advice, evidenced by her enduring relationships with many of her clients for whom she has worked with for over 20 years. This extensive experience and knowledge of her clients means she can develop strategies that align with her clients' objectives and business goals.

Motived by her ongoing commitment to her clients, the firm and the profession she expertly balances client work, mentoring and managerial responsibilities, whilst remaining a leader in her field.