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Melissa Foster

Special Counsel

As a highly regarded insurance law specialist, Melissa’s in-depth knowledge and strategic approach make her an invaluable asset to the team and her clients.
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Melissa has extensive experience in advising on matters in the NT workers’ compensation context and is a competent advocate for her clients in the Work Health Court and Supreme Court and Northern Territory Court of Appeal. Melissa works for a number of leading insurers including Allianz, the Nominal Insurer, QBE, CGU, the Northern Territory Government and self-insured employers.

Melissa’s pragmatic and creative approach to work means she provides sensible, but innovative advice on complex and discreet areas of the compensation scheme in the Northern Territory. These areas primarily include:

  • liability advice and assessments of financial liability, risk and risk mitigation; and
  • advice on strategic claims management, particularly complex cases – whether it be medical or legal complexity.


Melissa is at the forefront of developing case law that shapes the workers’ compensation industry in the Northern Territory.

She has acted in test cases concerning the application of statutory provisions which affect the cost implications for insurers and employers in the Territory. More recently in 2023 this has included:

  • the extent of the indemnity owed by subcontractors to principal contractors under section 127 of the Return to Work Act; and
  • whether multiple whole person impairments the result of different injuries can be combined under section s71 of the Act.

Melissa regularly appears before the Work Health Court in relation to interlocutory applications where workers are seeking payment of interim benefits. Melissa has recently successfully defended multiple applications on one of the two-limbs for consideration by the Court. That limb being that the worker has not established that there is a serious question to be tried – historically a very difficult threshold to overcome by employers.

Melissa regularly appears Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and  provides advice on employment law, industrial relations, and disciplinary matters for local and national businesses through their insurers; and

Melissa has a long history of construction/mining law experience which she is able draw from when dealing with the factual complexities of workers’ compensation claims in those or related industries.

Melissa's Expertise

    • Australian Insurance Law Association
    • Law Society of Northern Territory
    • Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours)
    • Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice