Paula Freeleagus

Assistant Crown Solicitor

Paula joined Crown Law in 1999 as Team Leader of the Planning and Environment Team after working in the private sector for 13 years to Associate level as a commercial litigation and insolvency specialist. In 2003, Paula was seconded to establish the Confiscations Branch in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Paula returned to Crown Law in 2004 as Assistant Crown Solicitor of the Commercial Dispute Resolution Team.

As a commercial litigator with many years’ experience in both the private sector and in government, Paula has a comprehensive and unique understanding of all facets of litigation and in particular, litigation involving the State and State agencies. Her areas of expertise span across commercial disputes, insolvency, debt recovery, trade practices and consumer law litigation, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, real property litigation, negligence claims, state revenue litigation and advice and alternate dispute resolution.

Paula has conducted many large commercial and significant litigation matters on behalf of the ministers, directors-general, the State and State employees, in the Supreme Court and Federal Court. During the conduct of significant litigation matters, Paula has personally briefed ministers, the Attorney-General, directors-general and Cabinet on the conduct and strategic direction of the matters.

Paula has had the conduct of numerous significant litigation matters and general litigation matters on behalf of  ministers, directors-general, the State and State employees, in all jurisdictions. Her experience includes:

  • successfully defending the State of Queensland in the Supreme Court proceedings of Hamcor & Armstrong v State of Qld & Ors where the plaintiffs sought damages in negligence in excess of $18 million arising out of an industrial fire at Narangba
  • the conduct of 23 Supreme Court claims (heard together) claiming damages in negligence for property damage and diminution in value arising out of the 2008 mine subsidence event at Collingwood Park
  • successfully defending Federal Court proceedings in the matter of RP Data Limited v State of Queensland seeking injunctions, declarations and damages against the State and State employees alleging fraud, conspiracy and breaches of the Trade Practices Act 1974
  • successfully negotiating by way of alternate dispute resolution 73 compensation claims arising out of the 'Pacific Adventurer' oil spill in Moreton Bay in the Maritime Jurisdiction of the Federal Court
  • defending State employees and the State against claims for damages arising out of alleged malicious prosecution and false imprisonment .
  • advising and representing employees in respect of defamation claims and proceedings
  • defending Supreme Court proceedings in the matter of Kelsall & Others v State of Queensland and Brisbane City Council seeking declarations claiming invalidity of a Change of Purpose declaration regarding a property acquired by the Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • seeking declarations, penalties and injunctions under the Consumer Credit (Queensland) Act 1994 and Consumer  Credit Code, the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 and the Australian Consumer Act 2010
  • advising and representing departments in proceedings alleging breach of contract
  • acting on behalf of clients at mediations and without prejudice conferences and successfully negotiating resolution of claims
  • defending Supreme Court claims against ministers and State employees alleging negligent misrepresentation, negligent misstatement and misfeasance in public office
  • advising and acting for the Commissioner of State Revenue on debt recovery matters, appeals  and declaratory proceedings under the Duties Act 2001, Payroll Tax Act 1971, Land Tax Act 2010 , Mineral Resources Act 1989 and the Taxation Administration Act 2001
  • advising departments on insolvency, bankruptcy, preference claims and debt recovery
  • acting on behalf of the Registrar of Titles defending claims for compensation under the Land Title Act 1994
  • defending Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal proceedings claiming damages for alleged breaches of the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994
  • advising departments on non-party notices and disclosure and preparing objections on grounds of public interest privilege, cabinet privilege, legal professional privilege, confidentiality and relevance and defending proceedings challenging objections
  • defending urgent injunction applications in the Land Court brought under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003
  • advising on, defending and or negotiating claims for compensation under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967, including conducting the Land Court, Court of Appeal and High Court proceedings in Marshall v The Director-General of Transport
  • acting on behalf of the former Department of Main Roads and Environmental Protection Agency and Wet Tropics Management, advising on and defending major claims for compensation in the Land Court
  • negotiating claims for compensation under the Water Act 2000 and claims for compensation arising out of flooding caused by the construction of dams.