Henry Silvester


Insurance & Health

Henry is a principal in our Insurance and Health team and is based in the Sydney office.

‘I started my career as an associate to Justice O’Loughlin in the Federal Court. I then took a commercial litigation role at a large firm. I became interested in insurance during a backpacking trip, when I saw a beggar on a street in Cairo. He’d had both legs amputated, and he was pursuing the only option open to him. It made me realise the importance of an insurance scheme, which not only protects the individual but also ensures that the system works. When I returned to Australia, I began practising in the area of catastrophic injury. In the late 1990s, when I went to the bar, I broadened my insurance practice and built a pool of clients in matters ranging from common law industrial (including toxic chemicals) and compulsory third party (CTP) insurance, to professional indemnity (especially for medical professionals), public liability and sports law.’

Over the past 29 years, Henry has developed expertise in:

  • Compulsory third party (CTP)
  • Professional indemnity (including medical defence, accounting and financial services)
  • Public liability
  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Henry has particular experience in handling fraudulent and catastrophic injury claims, especially in cases where the medical evidence is complicated. In addition, he has worked on many matters that involve analysing and advising on medical, accounting and engineering evidence.

‘I think clients like working with me because I pay attention to what they want, which means listening to them. I try to make the complex simple, and to provide them with an easier way to solve the problem they are facing than they might have come up with themselves. Even more importantly, I have a good understanding of the insurance industry after working in it for more than two decades. I understand that my clients don’t want a 20-page advice. For them, speed and accuracy are important. In the end, they know I’ll provide a strategy that will help them achieve the desired result.’

Having spent 12 years at the bar, Henry is an adept advocate. He has also had a great deal of experience in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In addition, he regularly advises clients on policy issues, including the application of exclusion clauses, as well as providing assistance with regulatory and reform issues.

‘I left the bar because, while studying for an MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management, I realised that I enjoyed working in a team. As a solicitor, you’re constantly working in a team environment, where it’s crucial to get the right balance of people if you’re going to provide your clients with exceptional service. And it isn’t just about getting the right mix of lawyers; you’ve also got to find the right experts and counsel. This is something we’re very focused on at Barry Nilsson. We know it’s one of the ways we ensure we deliver the best possible service to our clients.

Henry has a keen interest in autonomous vehicles and the potential impacts faced by CTP Insurers because of them. In 2019 he became a committee member of Aus & NZ Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), the peak industry advisory body regarding automated vehicles across Australia and New Zealand.

Henry has been recognised as a Recommended and Leading CTP lawyer in the 2016-2023 editions of Doyle's Guide. As well as contributing to B.N.’s bi-monthly CTP.Files eNewsletter, he authored the chapter on expert opinion in the engineering text, Handbook of Human Motion.

  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
  • Masters of Business Administration

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