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Joanne Wade

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Practice Group Leader, Asbestos Claims

Location Sydney, New South Wales
Language English

Joanne Wade has been a plaintiff lawyer since her admission to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1996 and has worked in asbestos litigation for well over 18 years.

Joanne is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and prides herself on her communication with her clients and, on many occasions, her clients’ families.

Joanne understands the importance and need to handle all her cases with the utmost diligence and compassion.

Joanne has acted for hundreds of people suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease. Her clients are everyday people who have worked hard all their lives and deserve justice.    

Joanne acted for Steven Dunning in his claim against BHP Billiton Limited in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW (Dunning v BHP Billiton Limited [2014] NSWDDT 3).  Mr Dunning suffered from malignant pleural mesothelioma and in a landmark decision; the court awarded Mr Dunning the highest amount for damages for pain and suffering in NSW.  Joanne went on to represent Mr Dunning in the Appeal before the NSW Court of Appeal where BHP’s appeal was unanimously dismissed (BHP Billiton Limited v Dunning [2015] NSWCA 55). 

Joanne has also successfully acted for the late Bevan McGrath in his claim against Allianz Australia Insurance Limited, for his condition of asbestos related pleural disease and ensured that case was resolved on a provisional damages basis. Mr McGrath went on to develop mesothelioma, one of only a small number of cases where he then brought a second claim for further damages because his first claim was resolved on a provisional basis. Joanne successfully acted for Mr McGrath in both his claims and the late Mr McGrath successfully received further damages in a judgment by the court (McGrath v Allianz Australia Insurance Limited [2011] NSWDDT). The judgement was upheld on appeal (Allianz Australia Insurance Limited v McGrath [2011] NSWCA 153).

“It is with great privilege to work with people suffering from asbestos illnesses, and the greatest satisfaction for me is securing a result for those people to help ease their suffering, and to know their families will be looked after.”

Joanne takes great pride in the work Slater and Gordon have undertaken in representing victims of asbestos disease, unions and asbestos support groups, including the work of Ken Fowlie in 2004 who acted for the ACTU and asbestos support groups in negotiations with James Hardie to secure an agreement which will ensure current and future victims of asbestos –related diseases would be fully compensated for years to come.

Joanne is a passionate advocate and one thing that separates Joanne from other lawyers is perspective, with her own father being exposed to asbestos working at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, she is in the unique position of seeing it from both angles. 

“My clients are generally people who have worked hard all their lives, and are lovely people who deserve justice.  I am glad to fight for that justice and to make a difference to their lives.”


  • Asbestos Claims
  • Dust Disease Board Appeals
  • Dust Diseases Claims
  • Compensation Claims

Career History

  • Slater and Gordon since 2008 (practice group leader)
  • 2000-2007 Watkins Tapsell (partner)
  • 1996-2000 Watkins Tapsell (lawyer)
  • 1992-1995 NSW Crown Solicitors Office (paralegal clerk) 

Memberships and Associations

  • Law Society of NSW
  • The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia 
  • Australian Lawyers Alliance

Professional Qualifications and Admissions

  • Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law
  • 1996 Admitted, Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • 1996 Admitted, High Court of Australia
  • 1995 Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Laws, Macquarie University

Client Testimonials

"Again, thank you for your efforts and time you have spent on Dad’s claim. We both appreciate it very much. Considering the complexity of the claim, I believe we have had a great outcome."  - Name Witheld.

"Thank you so much for your support during this time. I’ve just passed your news onto Mum and we would both would like to let you know how wonderful yourself, Jenny and your colleagues at Slater and Gordon have been expediting Dad’s case.You have made the legal passage a smooth one for Dad and my family. I’m sure Dad is sending his thanks to you as well in spirit." - Name Witheld.

"Your efforts on his behalf took away the financial worry for me and made it easier for him knowing I would be ok. Thanks again for what you did and I think of you often with gratitude, regards" - Name Witheld.