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Melanie McKean


Melanie McKean


T:+61 2 9330 8880

F:+61 2 9947 6999

Melanie McKean is a litigation and dispute resolution lawyer based in Canberra.

Melanie's main areas of practice are government and commercial dispute resolution, litigation, and workplace investigations and reviews.

Melanie acts for and advises government entities, including on sensitive and high-profile matters. Melanie's clients value her legal skills and her commitment to finding real solutions to complex disputes. Melanie understands the policy and administrative context in which disputes can arise and which govern how they must be resolved. She has assisted clients to make sound administrative decisions and to respond to administrative challenges.

Melanie also acts for private, corporate and insurance clients. Her experience includes commercial, tort, construction and intellectual property claims. Melanie knows that litigation is a last resort. She helps clients to understand and manage their risks so as to avoid disputes arising or escalating.

Melanie has significant and recent experience conducting major investigations and reviews for the Australian Government. While at a previous firm, Melanie led the large team supporting the Independent Investigator for Allegations of Workplace Bullying and Other Unreasonable Behaviour at CSIRO (Professor Dennis Pearce AO) (2013 and 2014). She was also a co-leader of the Review of Allegations of Sexual and Other Abuse in Defence (2011 and 2012), which led to the establishment of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce. More recently, Melanie has conducted investigations as the delegate of a number of Departmental Secretaries under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth).

Melanie is a registered Migration Agent. She assists corporate and individual clients with employer sponsored, investment, and business migration to Australia.

Melanie holds an Australian Government security clearance (Negative Vetting 1, formerly called Secret).

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  • Representative experience
    • Commonwealth Department/Comcover -  assisting to resolve litigated (ACT Supreme Court) and unlitigated claims for damages for negligent misstatement in relation to eligibility to join the Commonwealth superannuation scheme.
    • Commonwealth Department - administrative review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of decisions in relation to eligibility for research and development tax concessions.
    • Commonwealth Departments - conducting Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) investigations, and Code of Conduct investigations. 
    • Department of Defence - conducting independent reviews of numerous Australian Defence Force decisions affecting members' service under the Redress of Grievance (ROG) framework.
    • University - advising in relation to a breach of contract claim arising due to defects in work performed for the University.
    • Commonwealth Department - advice and representation in relation to a New South Wales Supreme Court claim for damages for alleged breach of a commercial property lease, estoppel, failure to make-good, and contractual damages.
    • Australian Capital Territory Medical Board - advice and representation on a high profile matter disciplinary matter. Melanie assisted the Board to obtain declarations from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal that the neurosurgeon failed to meet the required standards of practice.
    • CSIRO - leader of the legal team supporting the Independent Investigator for Allegations of Workplace Bullying and Other Unreasonable Behaviour in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
    • Minister for Defence - leader (along with Dr Gary Rumble and Professor Dennis Pearce AO) the Review of Allegations of Sexual and Other Abuse within Defence.
  • Admissions
    • High Court of Australia 1999
    • ACT Supreme Court 1999
  • Languages
    • English