Arushan Pillay

  • Barrister - victorian bar
  • Castan Chambers, Room 1817, 460 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • BAR ROLL: 2003 | ADMITTED: 1996
  • +61 3 9225 6911 | 0411 840 350
Arushan Pillay Barrister

Since coming to the Bar Arushan has worked mainly in the occupational health and safety, administrative law and personal injuries fields. Within the personal injuries arena he particularly practises in the areas of medical law, dust diseases and general liability.
He has represented numerous statutory bodies including the Medical Panels Victoria, Nurses Board of Victoria, the Victims of Crimes Assistance Tribunal and the Legal Aid Commission. He also has an established practice representing medical professionals before their professional disciplinary bodies and VCAT. 
He specifically represents medical practitioners at AHPRA hearings (Panels) and also in contested VCAT matters where a practitioner’s conduct is being indicted.  As a result of his combination of criminal law experience and medical law negligence practice Arushan brings a unique focus to such work.
Arushan is engaged by both Plaintiff and Defendant parties in some of the most complex, high value medical negligence cases in Victoria.  He appears regularly at mediations and is briefed at trial both unled and as junior.
He represents private medical indemnity insurers and also the Victorian state insurer regularly in such actions. 
Arushan completed the National Institute of Trial Advocates (NITA) Trial Skills Program at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, USA in 2011.
While at the Bar Arushan has appeared in numerous complex matters:
In RN v Commonwealth of Australia & Anor he appeared with Mr. Noonan QC in the first case for damages brought by an asylum seeker for injuries sustained while detained on Manus Island in February 2014.  The matter was confidentially resolved in 2016.
Arushan appeared as lead Counsel at the Inquest into the death of Numan Haider on behalf of the deceased’s family. The inquest dealt with the shooting of an alleged terrorist who had attempted to behead 2 police officers in Melbourne in September 2014. Arushan was nominated, with co-counsel Megan Fitzgerald, for the Victorian Bar’s Pro Bono award in 2017 for his work in this matter.

In 2010 Arushan appeared in the case of Panlock & Panlock v Da Cruz which related to the workplace bullying and ultimate death of a young woman, Brodie Panlock.  The circumstances of Brodie’s death ultimately led to the introduction of Brodie’s Law in Victoria in 2011 which made serious bullying a crime.
In 2014 Arushan represented the Geelong Hospital at the Inquest into the death of Leroy Scott.  The case involved the death of a young infant with an undiagnosed infection.
Notable cases include:

High Court

  • Wingfoot Australia Partners Pty Ltd v Kocak (2013) 303 ALR 64. Counsel appeared unled on behalf of the Medical Panel Victoria.  The case concerned the quality of reasons to be provided by a statutory body providing medical opinions.
  • Colquhoun v Capitol Radiology Pty Ltd HCA 2013– Counsel appeared on behalf of the Medical Panel Victoria at the Special Leave application concerning the requirement of a Medical Panel to provide reasons. 

Court of Appeal 

  • Victorian WorkCover Authority v Elsdon [2013] VSCA 235. Counsel appeared on behalf of the Medical Panel.  The matter concerned the application of the AMA Guides in assessing spinal impairment.
  • Colquhoun v Capitol Radiology Pty Ltd [2013] VSCA 58. Counsel appeared on behalf of the Medical Panel. The matter concerned the standard of reasons required to be given by the Medical Panel.
  • Gosling v Lorne Foreshore Committee of Management & Surf Coast Shire – [2009] VSCA 228: Counsel appeared as junior to Mr. Mighell QC on behalf of 9 family members who suffered the loss of the family’s youngest daughter, Samantha, who fell down an embankment on the Lorne foreshore and subsequently died.  The Plaintiff’s failed against both Defendants on the issue of whether a duty of care was owed in the County Court, [2007] VCC 1791.  On appeal to the Court of Appeal against the Lorne Foreshore the family members were successful.  The Lorne Foreshore then sought special leave to appeal from the High Court.  Counsel appeared with Mr. Mighell QC at the special leave hearing in February 2010.  The application was denied.
  • Mountain Pine Furniture Pty Ltd v Taylor  [2007] VSCA 146: Counsel appeared as junior to Mr. O’Loghlen QC. Relating to the interpretation of medical guides used in the assessment of personal injuries in Victoria.  This case overturned 10 years of accepted practice as to how spinal injuries were to be assessed.
  • Victorian WorkCover Authority v Del Borgo — (2004) 9 VR 470: Counsel appeared as junior to Dr. K P Hanscombe QC. Statutory interpretation matter involving the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (Vic). The Respondent worker argued successfully that the section 98C threshold of 10% should only be imposed once in respect of claims for permanent impairment.

Supreme Court

  • Aged Care Services v Kontopoulos [2017] VSC 684. Counsel successfully appeared on behalf of the First Defendant to defend an application by the Plaintiff to quash a medical panel opinion.
  •  Redline Towing & Salvage Pty Ltd v The Convenor of Medical Panels [2012] VSC 472. Counsel appeared on behalf of one of the Defendants to oppose an application for mandamus compelling the Medical Panel to convene. 
  • Ripper v Kotzman [2008] VSC 448: Counsel appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff seeking to overturn a medical panel decision.
  • Sorrell v TAC [2009] VSC 505; Vukovic v TAC [2009] VSC 497. Counsel appeared as junior to J Kennan SC. Statutory interpretation matter regarding the interpretation of the Transport Accident Act 1986 (Vic) ss. 46A(1), (1AB), (1A), (1B), (2A).
  • Henderson v Read  [2006] VSC 304: Counsel appeared as junior to Dr Neal SC. Judicial review proceedings taken in respect of the exercise of a prison governor’s disciplinary power.  The Applicant’s were successful in demonstrating serious flaws in the investigation of disciplinary complaints and the actual conduct of the disciplinary hearings.

Arushan has appeared in numerous jury trials in the County Court and the Supreme Court relating to occupational health and safety prosecutions and also personal injury actions.
He also worked as the principal solicitor to the public service commission of Vanuatu. He returned to Australia in 2001 and represented one of the parties involved in the Cole Royal Commission into the building and construction industry.

His paper titled “The Rise and Rise of Non Civil Claims: the changing face of medical indemnity” given in 2016 can be viewed here.
His paper on Medical Panels can be viewed here: 17 June 2010 Medical Panels. How to get there or oppose getting there; what happens at the Panel and how to spot potential errors in their reasons.

His paper on current issues in health law given at the Legalwise Seminar on 28 November 2013 can be viewed here.
He is an author for the LexisNexis Practical Guidance series on Personal Injury in Victoria.  He is an occasional lecturer in the Monash University subject on Occupational Health and Safety.


To get in touch with Arushan Pillay | or for more information please contact the Clerk on: +61 3 9225 7222 or

publications - presentations - seminars


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