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About Catherine

Catherine leads our national Workplace Group and is also a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She advises public and private sector clients on issues relating to employment and safety in the workplace.  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.
What she does

Adopting a strategic yet empathetic 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. Drawing upon years of expertise, Catherine provides pragmatic solutions to difficult issues.

With a thorough understanding of workplace law (including the Fair Work Act, discrimination and contractual issues), Catherine regularly advises and represents employers on the management of  disciplinary issues, grievances, bullying and harassment, code of conduct breaches and industrial issues. She represents clients before federal and state courts and tribunals and advises on internal and external investigations, and performance management issues. She does this with a view to achieving a sound operational and business outcome while minimising the risk of protracted litigation.

Since 2018, Catherine has been acknowledged as a leading Occupational Health & Safety lawyer in AFR's Best Lawyers and named Lawyer of the Year in 2019. She was recommended as a Leading Workplace Health & Safety Lawyer (NSW) by Doyle’s Guide 2021. Catherine was also recognised in Australasian Lawyer’s inaugural Elite Women 2021 report.

Who she works with
Catherine advises Boards, executives, safety professionals and in-house counsel in a range of sectors including health, transport, manufacturing, mining, utilities, infrastructure and across all levels of government.
Work done recently
Qualifications
Catherine has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degree.
Life before Sparkes
Catherine has been with the firm for more than 25 years, having previously been employed as lawyer with another firm for a short time after completing her studies.
Life outside of Sparkes
Like most busy parents, Catherine spends her spare time with her family enjoying the beach, sport and is an avid podcast listener and always enjoys a few quiet hours taking in art exhibitions and at galleries. She enjoys holidaying with her extended family on the far north coast of NSW.