Geoff Masel Lecture
As one of Australia's leading lawyers, Geoff Masel, was widely known for his second to none expertise in the areas of the law, principally insurance, building, professional indemnity, and aviation law.
Geoffrey Masel was born in Melbourne in 1928. Since 1921, his father had been a partner of the Melbourne firm Phillips, Fox and Masel. Geoff followed his father and his elder brother, Leigh, as senior partner of the firm, retiring as such, as he had intended for many years, at the age of 60. In 2002 he celebrated 50 years with the firm and in the profession.
Geoff had the capacity to be an outstanding success in whatever field of legal practice he chose. He was a single father for some years and solicitors practice enabled him to go home to his children every day at 10 past 5. It was Geoff's brilliance as a lawyer, his razor sharp mind and incredible ability to focus on issues and deal with them efficiently and decisively that enabled him to do more in a working day than most of us can manage in a week.
Geoff Masel was a founder of the Victorian Branch of AILA, the first recipient of the Insurance Law Prize in 1995 and one of AILA's first life members.
Geoff was involved in many leading cases including litigation arising from the Westgate Bridge collapse and the Ash Wednesday bushfires, the latter taking him to the UK courts.
He also acted for TAA's insurers in the case arising from the collision at Sydney Airport in 1971 between a TAA Boeing 727 and Canadian Pacific DC8.
After retiring as the senior partner of Phillips Fox (as it had become) in 1989, Geoff remained associated with the firm until his death, as a consultant, mentor and opinion writer as well as pursuing his long-time interests in legal education and writing. He became a sought after arbitrator and mediator.
During his career, Geoff wrote two books and a myriad of learned legal papers. He was a must as a speaker at conferences.
Geoff was a true individual with an independent mind; a secular man and a voter of conscience.
He was always there to provide assistance.
The tributes to Geoff included the words 'wisdom', 'esteem', 'excellence', 'integrity', 'professionalism' and 'humility'. But that praise was always coupled with references to Geoff's easy, jokey, unpretentious manner.
Geoff was to be the guest speaker for the highly successful AILA ‘Travelling Fellows & International Speakers’ in 2004 however he passed away on 8th August 2004, aged 75.
In memorial AILA announced the Geoff Masel Lecture Series in 2005.
The series continues to this day and a list of past speakers is as follows:
2005 Peter Rashleigh – Insurance contracts act: evolution or revolution
2006 Tony Scotford - Walking the Tightrope: The duties of Australian Insurance Lawyers acting for
both Insurer and Insured After ten years of debate has anything really changed?
2007 Professor Greg Reinhardt - Can courts ignore the reality of insurance in litigation?
2008 Justice Carmel McLure - A Practical Guide to the Resolution of Causation Issues in Negligence
2009 Professor Robert Merkin - D & O Policies and the Global Financial Crisis
2010 Ron Ashton – Keeping the Faith: development of good faith concepts in insurance
2011 The Honourable Justice Michael Ball – Double insurance and contribution: recent
2012 Dallas Booth – Government intervention in insurance markets
2014 Justice Kevin Nicholson – reflections on the practical operation of the (not very) uniform
proportionate liability regemes in Australia
2015 Ian Enright - The Insurance Social Contract: 1788 and all that
2016 The Honourable Justice Martin Daubney - Reflections on Contemporary Issues in Legal
2017 The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO – Fundamentals of insurance law
2018 Richard Douglas QC – The Ipp legislation: has the game been worth the candle
2019 Michael Gill - Insurance: facing a change of era