BN Health Forum Brisbane: Going Viral - Healthcare, Media and the Law

event information
Thursday, 20 July 2023
Forum sessions: 4:00pm I Networking & drinks: 6:15pm
The Grove Rooftop: Level 32/480 Queen Street, Brisbane
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    Following the final session, attendees are invited to continue the conversation over drinks and canapes.

    If you have any questions, please get in touch with the BN Events team at

    Health Forum

In January, the Federal Court changed its rules to prevent public access to its files prior to the first court appearance. This prompted debate regarding the need for an open and transparent justice system versus the potentially prejudicial impact of media access to sensitive or confidential content in court documents.

The relationship between media and the legal system has long been a complex one, and this is particularly so in the healthcare context. Recent times have seen the media play a central role in public health during the pandemic, and programs such as Four Corners’ “Cosmetic Cowboys” act as a catalyst for regulatory reform. On the other hand, media involvement can complicate and sometimes compromise legal processes for healthcare providers. The public nature of litigation, regulatory proceedings and coronial inquests means that journalists often have a front row seat. Additionally, social media and other online platforms provide unprecedented scope for the publication of uncensored commentary. Public confidence in the healthcare system can be a casualty, as can the professional reputations of the individuals involved.

As always, we will be joined at this year’s Health Forum by an impressive line-up of industry experts who will share their views, experiences and stories as we take a deep dive into the relationship between healthcare, media and the law. You can meet our speakers below.

BN’s Health Forum is a must attend event for all professionals working in or alongside healthcare who want to stay up-to-date on the trends and issues affecting the sector. But be quick, registration is free and places are limited.


  • Session 1: Trial by Media: Legal issues when healthcare and the media collide

    Legal session presented by BN's Brisbane health law team:

    Healthcare providers involved in legal proceedings often face the unwelcome company of the media. Not only does the healthcare provider face an escalated risk of reputational harm through widespread publication, but their response to the media can ignite legal repercussions.

    In this session, the BN team will explore common issues that can arise in a legal context, addressing key questions that include:

    • In what circumstances can I seek a non-publication order in court or tribunal proceedings?
    • Can journalists audio record in a Queensland court room, and can they live tweet during a trial?
    • What legal consequences could I face when engaging with the media or social media about a matter?
    • Will the media be able to access material exhibited to my affidavit?
  • Session 2: Healthcare in the court of public opinion: Is it the disease or the cure?

    Panel discussion moderated by BN's Melissa Carius, with panellists:

    In the Bruce Lehrmann Inquiry, barrister Steven Whybrow SC claimed that his client was ‘convicted in the media before the trial started’, prompting fresh debate about the impact of the media on the right to a fair trial. Session one focuses on the more challenging aspects of media involvement from a healthcare provider’s perspective, with concerns about doctor patient relationships and public confidence front of mind. But recent history provides many examples of the positive impact of journalism as a channel of information to the community, as well as a tool for influencing policymakers through shaping public opinion. Healthcare providers, and the communities they service, share the same end goal of improving the quality of the healthcare system. Sometimes, perhaps, this requires a louder voice.

    In this session, we look at the role of media from all angles with a diverse panel of experts. The panel will explore the role of media and its potential to shape changes within both our healthcare system and our legal system. They will also discuss the challenges and opportunities that arise from media involvement in legal proceedings, while aiming to equip healthcare professionals with effective strategies to successfully navigate this complex landscape, and, importantly, minimise reputational damage.

Meet our speakers

  • Hedley Thomas, The Australian and News Corp


    Hedley is an award-winning investigative journalist with 38 years of industry experience. Dedicated to solving cold case murders through immersive long-form investigative podcasts, Hedley is one of Australia's most respected investigative journalists. His notable works include critically acclaimed podcasts such as "The Teacher's Pet", "The Night Driver" and "Shandee's Story".

    He has won eight Walkley Awards, including two Gold Walkleys for his journalism, and in April 2023 he was awarded Australian Journalist of the Year.

    Throughout his career, Hedley has challenged prominent figures, holding them accountable for their actions. With an impressive track record and a commitment to transparency, he continues to make a significant impact in the media landscape.

  • Richard Douglas KC, Callinan Chambers


    Richard is a litigation Barrister and King’s Counsel, specialising in common law, insurance law, land law, and the confiscation of criminal profits, with a notable focus on statutory proportionate liability. He is a member of Callinan Chambers in Brisbane, as well as a member and director of Hemmant’s List, where he conducts an extensive, trial court appellate and advisory practice. Richard is also a nationally accredited mediator.

    Richard was president of the Bar Association of Queensland from 2009 to 2011 and Medico-Legal Society of Queensland from 2016 to 2018. He also chaired the Bar Association’s civil litigation committee from 2012 to 2022.

    Since December 2021, Richard has been editor of the Association’s “Hearsay” electronic magazine. He is also the lead author of two publications on the Ipp legislation, being the online Civil Liability Australia, which covers the Ipp legislation of the Commonwealth, states and territories, and the text Annotated Civil Liability Legislation Queensland.

    In 2014, Richard was awarded the National Insurance Law prize by the Australian Insurance Law Association, and was the Association’s annual Geoff Masel lecturer in 2018.

  • Dr Mellissa Naidoo, Viridis Consultants


    Dr Mellissa Naidoo is a specialist medical administrator with over 15 years of industry experience in clinical, medical leadership and executive roles in both public and private health and insurance industries.

    Mellissa has a strong interest in social impact and health equity. .In addition to her Board roles, Mellissa is a certified Advisory Board Chair and provides advice to government, NGO and corporates on a range of medicolegal, risk management, strategic,, medical professional and health workforce issues.

    She is actively involved in mentoring and training the next generation of diverse medical leaders through her college and university roles and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and Bond University Medical Schools.

  • Justine Nolan, BBS Communications


    Justine is a Group Client Manager at BBS Communications Group - an award-winning consultancy whose expertise spans corporate communications, digital public relations, risk and crisis management, stakeholder engagement and advocacy.

    Justine has more than 25 years’ experience in media, communications, and public affairs across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and more recently as a corporate media trainer.

    She commenced her career as a journalist at The Courier-Mail before moving into government where she held senior ministerial media and policy advisor roles in portfolios, including education, infrastructure and treasury. Justine is passionate about the power of communications and her role as a trusted strategic communications advisor in shaping, protecting and promoting the public profiles of her clients.

  • Melissa Carius, Barry Nilsson


    Melissa specialises in medical negligence claims, OHO and AHPRA matters, and Coronial investigations and inquests involving health care professionals. With a diverse range of clients, including hospitals, doctors, medical indemnity insurers and aged care providers, she regularly advises on complex liability, quantum and strategic issues. Melissa has a particular interest in the issues surrounding consent for medical treatment involving minors.

    Alongside her role as a Special Counsel, Melissa has an interest in training and education, and regularly delivers educational and professional development sessions to clients. She has also contributed to our in-house podcast, The Checkup, providing valuable insights on complex legal principles and discussions on issues related to Indigenous health.

  • Sarah Carlisle, Barry Nilsson


    Sarah is a Special Counsel in BN's Insurance & Health team. With a strong focus in personal injuries law, she is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist in the field. Sarah’s expertise lies in handling complex liability and contribution issues, as well as all aspects of damages assessment in personal injury claims.

    Sarah manages a range of claims, including medical negligence and public liability cases. Her exceptional skills and contributions have been recognised by Best Lawyers where she has been featured in the Personal Injury Litigation category since 2022.

  • Lisa Fairley, Barry Nilsson


    Lisa is a Senior Associate in BN's Insurance and Health team. Her expertise spans across medico-legal litigation, coronial inquests, assisting in statutory investigations, parens patriae applications, OHO and AHPRA complaints, and capacity and guardianship matters. Lisa also has a particular interest in advisory work for hospitals, particularly matters involving legal and ethical issues which arise from emergency medicine and health matters involving questions of consent and capacity.

    Lisa has completed a secondment to a large tertiary hospital as in-house counsel and also to the Queensland Government Insurance Fund. Prior to BN, Lisa worked for the UK Government Legal Department where she primarily practiced in human rights, administrative law, medical negligence and coronial inquests.

    Committed to pro-bono work, Lisa regularly volunteers through the Human Rights Legal Clinic in partnership with Queensland Advocacy Incorporated.

  • Remy Crozier, Barry Nilsson


    Remy Crozier is a solicitor in BN's Insurance and Health division. Remy has worked in multiple teams across the division and experienced a diverse range of matters.

    Before joining our firm, Remy served as an associate to a judge in the District Court of Queensland, where he gained valuable insight into advocacy and adjudication in complex criminal and civil proceedings.

  • Bonnie Lawler, Barry Nilsson


    Bonnie is a Graduate in BN's Insurance and Health team. Bonnie has worked on a wide variety of insurance matters in relation to professional negligence, public liability, OHO matters, and Coronial inquests involving health care professionals. She is also on secondment to Caxton Legal Centre in their Human Rights and Civil Law Practice team.

    Prior to joining Barry Nilsson, Bonnie was an associate to a Judge in the District Court of Queensland in Maroochydore where she was introduced to advocacy and gained valuable insight into judgment of complex criminal, civil and planning & environment proceedings.

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