Jan Mills

Senior Principal Lawyer

Jan is a key member of Crown Law’s Government Insurance and Risk Team, having honed her skills in this area for more than 20 years in personal injury and WorkCover litigation in the private and public sectors.

Jan has conducted more than 400 complex personal injuries claims, having significant experience defending such claims on behalf of Queensland Government agencies, including the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services. Many of these matter involved complex liability issues and significant claims for quantum.

Jan’s experience includes complex litigation matters involving allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated on or by minors in the care of the State and claims involving catastrophic injuries sustained by minors as a result of domestic violence. These matters often include psychiatric claims resulting from alleged sexual abuse. Jan has a reputation for managing such matters with the utmost sensitivity, often under intense scrutiny from the media and interest groups.

Jan has appeared in the Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts for matters including:

  • personal injury – master/servant and injuries to the public
  • property damage claims
  • debt recovery actions
  • diverse commercial and transport litigation.

She has written and presented a number of legal papers and conference sessions including a joint presentation at the 2014 Crown Law Legal Conference on disclosure obligations.

  • Plaintiff & Ors v State of Queensland

    Three plaintiffs alleged that they suffered psychiatric injuries as a result of sexual abuse by a youth who resided in their home as a foster placement by the State. The matters failed to settle during the pre-proceedings because of the disparity in quantum. Liability was also in issue. Jan managed the three claims and the contribution claim during the course of the pre-proceedings. Litigation was commenced by each plaintiff in the Supreme Court at Cairns. This complex matter, which consisted of three separate and distinct claims against the State, and a Third Party Claim, also attracted substantial media interest.

    Jan’s significant work on this matter included:

    • identifying and locating numerous potential witnesses
    • conferring with approximately 17 witnesses over three days in Cairns
    • drafting court documents and supporting Affidavits for the numerous Applications and Directions Hearings brought by the various parties during the course of the litigation
    • drafting a nine-page Evidence and Witness List
    • preparation of a nine-volume Brief of Documents to be tendered by consent at trial
    • acting as Instructing Solicitor at the District Court trial in January 2014.
    • Outcome: The decision remains outstanding.
  • Plaintiff & Ors v State of Queensland

    The plaintiff, one of a number of plaintiffs who filed a Statement of Claim in the Supreme Court, was taken into the care of the State of Queensland at the age of eight years. The plaintiff alleged that he suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse whilst in the care of the State at two separate facilities.

    Jan assumed carriage of this matter in 2011, managing all aspects of the case, including conducting investigations, briefing Counsel, particularly with regard to a Section 31 application and an issue of prejudice given the time that had elapsed since the incident, and briefing senior Government executive officers on the best course for proceeding.

    Outcome: A settlement with the plaintiff was negotiated for the amount that was offered at conference.

  • Plaintiff v State of Queensland

    The plaintiff came into the care of a department in about 1979. She was placed with a foster family on or about 18 December 1979. The plaintiff alleged that she was physically, emotionally and sexually abused by various members of the family during her period in the foster placement.  As a result of the abuse, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered a psychiatric injury.

    Jan advised the client agencies at the commencement of the claim that the matter was statute barred under the Limitations of Actions Act 1974. The alleged abuse occurred between 1979 and 1985. As such, the claim had become statute barred from April 1991. The matter failed to settle at the compulsory conference. Litigation was commenced in the District Court with the State pleading that the matter was statute barred.

    Outcome: Prior to the Application proceeding, Jan negotiated a settlement in terms favourable to the State.

  • Plaintiff  v State of Queensland

    The plaintiff, a sentenced paedophile, was the subject of intense media scrutiny.

    At the time of commencing his claim, the plaintiff was an inmate of the Wolston Correctional Centre. Over a period of many years, the plaintiff had been in and out of custody for various offences including indecent dealings with children under the age of 16 years, kidnapping, sodomy and assault causing grievous bodily harm.

    Over a period of 19 years when the plaintiff was in custody, he made numerous allegations of assault and corruption against prison officers and members of the Queensland Police Service. Jan’s investigations found the plaintiff’s allegations to be frivolous and vexatious. The plaintiff became a self-represented litigant at trial.

    Outcome: The plaintiff did not continue with his claim. The file was closed without recourse to a trial.