Civil Law.
After establishing Canberra’s largest specialist criminal law firm, pressure mounted for us to extend our practice into civil law.


After receiving countless enquiries from clients requesting us to represent them in civil matters, we answered the call. The result has been the establishment of Canberra’s leading boutique civil law practice with a well-earned reputation for excellence, displaying the same commitment, rigour and enthusiasm for justice of our much-celebrated criminal law arm.

Coming freshly to civil law, our approach to civil matters is based on fearless and dedicated representation. We earned our stripes in law pursuing cases against the might of the various government authorities, and now you can engage the same level of professionalism to work for you, with a specialist civil team handling personal injury compensation, defamation, commercial law and civil disputes.


A dedicated civil team by your side

Over the past few years, we’ve sharpened our swords and strengthened our shields (both are needed in civil law) by recruiting the best minds in the areas our clients demand.

The only thing that’s indisputable is our credentials.

Aulich civil lawyers are some of the best in the field, which means that we’re more aware than most of how time consuming cases can be. You can take comfort in knowing we understand the imperative of resolving disputes with the greatest efficiency, through mediation or arbitration or skilled negotiation; and, failing that, winning for our clients in a timely manner.

Whether we act for you or your company as defendant or plaintiff, we are bound by the duty and drive of our firm to provide only the most dedicated and thorough legal assistance for you.

What is a civil dispute?

The term refers to disputes or contests between two or more parties – individuals, groups of individuals or companies. It’s differentiated from a criminal matter in that it does not involve a prosecution by the authorities of a State or Territory.

Types of cases

The variety of civil disputes is infinite, ranging from the negligence of a doctor, consumer claims, injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents, suits for defamation, other personal injuries, breach-of-contract disputes and building disputes. That list is far from complete!

Who we represent

We act for both defendants and plaintiffs. Whichever side of the proceedings they’re on, our clients receive only the most professional, dedicated and thorough legal advice, assistance and advocacy. This sees us regularly taking on government bodies and insurance companies. If you’d like more information on our services, please get in touch for an obligation-free consultation.

When you come to see us, you’ll find that at Aulich the corridors of legal knowledge aren’t lined with cold marble. We’re warm, and we’ll fight for you like you are family. Unlike the old guard of Canberra’s stuffiest law firms, we won’t charge for hidden extras.

Our team take the time to “get” you and your business. If you want practical and to-the-point advice to achieve your business goals or to have us with you in a dispute likely to involve the Court, then we’re the firm for you. We’ve acted for families, public and private companies, partnerships, joint ventures, not-for-profit organisations and national and local businesses and can help with:

  • Corporate structuring and restructuring
  • Shareholder’s Agreements, Partnership Agreements, Joint Venture Agreements, Trust and Unitholder Agreements and Trusts
  • Business sales and purchases including due diligence
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts
  • Franchise Agreements
  • Competition and Consumer protection law

Debt is a fact of life in contemporary commerce.

When it comes to debt recovery, wisdom demands that clients choose a team that can quickly and efficiently force payment. We work closely with clients to achieve timely and favourable results in debt recovery against individuals and corporations.

Over the years we have developed a streamlined and established process of getting money for clients who are owed it. If you have a debt you would like recovered, get in touch. Choosing us won’t just make you dollars, it makes a lot of sense.

There’s more and more of it about! Libel and slander (defamation) is a very complicated area of law and it’s essential to deal with specialists, whether you are on the attack, or defending what you published.

Even “publication” is a tricky concept that can’t be left to novices with so much – reputation and damages – at stake. As leading defamation lawyers in Canberra (Ben Aulich contributes commentary on the op-ed pages of the Canberra Times), we have access to the best barristers in Sydney and across the country including Queens Counsel and other senior barristers.

If you believe your reputation has been harmed in some way due to hurtful or damaging published content, then you have a potential case to receive compensation. The same applies if you’ve been responsible for any form of communication that your opponent consider to be actionable for damages.

We’re not talking only about the mass media: today, most defamation is being published on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Few people using those social media appreciate the significance of what they’re doing – even with a negative review of a local business, or their dentist.

We provide experienced defamation lawyers who will work closely by your side every step of the way to ensure you receive the result you’re entitled to. Our lawyers can help repair damage to your reputation by having a party retract a harmful statement and issue an apology in its wake.

Having represented many clients in high profile defamation cases, we know what it takes to win these matters.

Alternatively, if you have been accused of making a defamatory statement, you should seek legal advice immediately as there may be repercussions for not responding appropriately and quickly.

What is defamation?

The classical definition is: any statement that tends to lower a person in the opinion of reasonable people.

Plaintiffs sue for damages as compensation for damage done to their reputations caused by material in any form of medium – from graffiti scrawled on a wall, through social media, to national television current affairs programs. The legal rules are the same – and they’re very, very technical.

But there are defences, ever more arcane – and our consultant QC always lectures his clients that there’s really only one defence you can always count on: truth!

Defamation cases are usually settled, and our experience in mediation assures our clients of the best possible outcomes, short of a full-blown trial.

Social media counts

With the enormous popularity of social media platforms, it’s possible to claim compensation for damaging comments posted on the internet, using websites such as Twitter or Facebook.

Our team of defamation lawyers can help clarify whether an online post is defamatory and offer valuable advice. There are some things to consider determining whether you should commence a claim for defamation, or seek the best possible compromise if you’ve acted unwisely in posting an attack.

Even if an individual was not responsible for creating the harmful post they can still be held accountable if they share the content. Although cases involving the Internet are still relatively new, the same legal principles of defamation are applicable to these types of publications. Defaming an individual is not limited to print and can be acted upon whether through photos, blog posts or otherwise. There have been plenty of cases about theatrical skits and cartoons.

The bottom line is that free speech isn’t as free as most people believe.

Employment Law

Employment law is strewn with hazards.

Given this landscape, practical and strategic advice is essential. We work alongside our clients to implement proper workplace practices to prevent potential claims arising from unsafe systems. For those employers and employees where a claim is unavoidable, we can help to resolve the situation quickly, discreetly and efficiently. We’re well versed in the following areas:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Adverse action claims
  • Bullying, harassment and discrimination matters
  • Employment contracts and policies
  • Workplace investigations
  • Work health and safety

We offer thorough and diligent estate planning services. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a kilogram of cure.

Proper estate planning lays the foundation for preserving your wealth values and wishes. Our solicitors plan meticulously to assist you in managing everything life has to throw at you – from complex relationships and blended families to longevity, diminished capacity and disability.

A full suite of services is available, including fixed fee rates for:

  • Wills
  • Testamentary trust wills
  • Superannuation binding death benefit nominations
  • Self-managed superannuation nominations
  • Enduring powers of attorney
  • Guardianship guidelines

We can guide you through this complicated and technical area.

Disputes between directors or shareholders within a company or between a company and creditors – including the Australian Tax Office (ATO) – are usually very stressful for those involved. There are often strict timeframes, which parties must act before significant consequences are imposed, such as winding up of a company or being declared a bankrupt.

If you’re involved in a corporate dispute or you or your company are being pursued by the ATO or other creditors, the sooner you find out what your rights, obligations and options are, the better you can manage.

If you are trying to recover a debt owed to you, the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) provide options for creditors to force debtors to come to the table or face insolvency.

A number of our solicitors sit on not-for-profit boards and committees giving them a unique understanding of issues in this area.

Combined with our expertise in handling commercial and corporate matters, we have experienced lawyers experienced in advising not-for-profit organisations.

We have a genuine concern for these altruistic organisations and our team is eager to help you meet your objectives and to ensure that legal and compliance issues are not too burdensome.

We deal with:

  • HR and employment
  • Board governance and compliance
  • Restructure and incorporation
  • Contracts
  • Risk management
  • Commercial
  • Bequests
  • Taxation advice including applications for tax exemptions or deductible gift recipient status
  • Policy advice or preparation of policies such as workplace policies, member protection, child protection and child protection
  • Investigations into breaches of policies

Usually when a person dies, they leave behind a will specifying what is to happen with their assets.

In many cases, probate needs to be obtained from the Supreme Court before anything can be done with the estate. In such matters, our solicitors compassionately and efficiently guide clients through the process.

We handle:

  • Grant of probate
  • Application for letters of administration
  • Estate administration

But sometimes things are not so straightforward – especially where a family member or dependant feels they have been excluded or not properly provided for, or the circumstances surrounding the will are dubious. This may be because the will-maker’s mental capacity is questionable or there may have been undue influence of others. We can help in the following areas:

  • Family provision applications
  • Estate administration disputes
  • Reviewing a suspicious will

It is important to know strict time limits apply in this area of law so you should seek legal advice from us as soon as possible so we can take action to look after your interests.

From commercial leases right through to large-scale development contracts, our reputation is built on sound advice to public and private clients.

They include government, developers, landlords, tenants, owners’ corporations and strata managers, commercial and residential property buyers and sellers.

Our services extend to:

  • Commercial and retail leases including preparing leases for landlords or negotiating for tenants, agreements for lease, surrender of leases and lease assignments
  • Building contract advice
  • Advice on retirement village contracts
  • Advice on loan, mortgage and guarantee documents
  • Property developments
  • Planning and regulatory advice including interpretation of Crown Leases, variation of Crown Leases and other planning and development requirements
  • Business Structure

The Team

The Civil Law team – locked and loaded

Each member of the our civil law team has been individually and carefully chosen. Each solicitor packs their own unique brand of firepower to achieve one outcome: winning.

Ben Aulich


Less More about Ben

As founding partner of the firm, our Principal Ben Aulich has established himself as Canberra’s most reputable criminal lawyer.

The word ‘tenacious’ is an understatement. For Ben, winning is everything. If he is quiet in court, it’s not because he is lost for words. He’s fond of saying that one must never interrupt an enemy when they are making a mistake.

After graduating from Flinders University in South Australia with an economics degree, a law degree from Canberra University and a graduate diploma in legal practice from ANU, Ben was admitted to legal practice in 2000. Initially working at a boutique law practice for three years solely in crime, Ben then joined a large commercial litigation firm, practicing in corporate law and commercial litigation. That gave Ben a well-rounded exposure to Court matters and litigation.

Ben’s passion for his client’s rights is infectious. It’s the reason our team is so close-knit, and so committed. It’s helpful that Ben’s fixation with winning is also motivation for clients. He’s certainly not afraid of sleepless nights … if it ensures they ultimately get some sleep.

Erin Taylor


Less More about Erin

Community-minded, sports mad dynamo Erin gives all new meaning to the term ‘all-rounder’. After completing a double degree of a Bachelor of Applied Science (Sports Administration) and a Bachelor of Laws followed by a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at ANU, she applied her athletic sense of justice at the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

She then moved over to the ACT Government followed by the ACT Academy of Sport, until the siren call of the legal profession proved too strong. After all, Erin did tell her year two teacher that she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up. We chose Erin to be part of the battle ranks at Aulich due to her unrivalled knowledge of each and every commercial area, as well as her thorough understanding of the issues facing businesses and sporting bodies on all levels.

In her time at Aulich Erin has become a fierce litigator getting really great results for her clients from property developers to individuals and everything in between. The combination of her commercial and litigation knowledge makes her a real asset to her clients and a difficult opponent for her opposition.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Erin is a Director on the Board of Touch Football Australia. Prior to that she was the proud holder of various board and not-for-profit section appointments such as being the Chair of Touch Football ACT as well as the Chair of the Touch Football ACT Judiciary and a Director on the Board of Netball ACT. In addition to being sports mad, Erin is extremely passionate about giving back to the community and will often spearhead our involvement in charitable events.

Stefan Russell-Uren


Less More about Stefan

Stefan is a graduate of the University of Canberra and a recipient of the coveted Dean’s Excellence Award.

Prior to joining the Aulich team, Stefan worked in the trade union movement as a legal officer for United Voice. This is where Aulich came across Stefan, when he was on the other side of a matter.  We were pretty impressed with his knowledge, skill and dogged approach to litigation and we knew he’d fit in extremely well here at Aulich.  Stefan has a keen interest and extensive experience in industrial law and workplace health and safety.

Stefan also has a decade’s worth of experience as a chef and baker, before he found his true calling and joined the law.

When Stefan isn’t whipping up a batch of his world-famous Friands for his co-workers, he blows off steam in the boxing ring and enjoys spending his time with his lovely wife and two beautiful kids.

Caitlin Holloway


Less More about Caitlin

Caitlin started her legal career in Melbourne before moving to complete her studies in Canberra and working at another Canberra firm before joining Aulich. Since starting here as a paralegal and while finishing her Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Canberra, she has been an integral part of the Aulich Civil Law team. Like her mentor, Erin Taylor, she is passionate about litigation and building and construction law and is well and truly on the pathway to become a leading litigator.

What Caity also has in common with Erin is her sports team, Carlton. You’ll often find the two of them debriefing over a loss while making a tea on a Monday morning. It’s safe to say, at the moment they both drink lots of tea. Speaking of AFL, Caity also plays for the Queanbeyan Tigers where she was lucky enough to snap her collarbone clean in half last year. That injury hasn’t frightened her off her game and it is a perfect example of her resilience and motivation. Two qualities that also make an excellent lawyer.

Alexis Currier


Less More about Alexis

Alexis is a dyed-in-the-wool Canberran, being born and raised on the north-side of the lake.  Alexis fell in love with the law at College, largely thanks to an inspiring Legal Studies teacher. Alexis, also known as ‘Lekkie’ among her colleagues, started with Aulich as a paralegal whilst also completing a double degree in Law and Commerce at the University of Canberra.

Being with Aulich for such a long time means we have been able to ‘raise’ Lekkie from a young hatchling and grow her into a real asset to our civil team, specialising in wills and estates and personal injury law.  This area of the law often requires a more compassionate approach which comes naturally to Lekkie as she is passionate about our clients and their matters.

Two truths and a lie:

  1. Alexis is an identical twin;
  2. Alexis loves rugby union; and
  3. Alexis hold the record for the most number of parking tickets accumulated at UC during a semester.

Minuri Dharmasena


Less More about Minuri

Minuri was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka. She grew up between Australia and Sri Lanka before permanently moving to Melbourne when she was 18. After choosing the Australian National University to complete her studies, she moved to Canberra to enroll in and complete a Bachelor of Laws.

Choosing a law degree and subsequent career as a lawyer was an easy choice for Minuri, it was the perfect way for her to productively channel her argumentative tendencies.

Prior to joining Aulich, Minuri worked as a junior advisor to a member of the ACT Legislative Assembly. After finishing her short stint working in politics, she joined us at Aulich as a paralegal working alongside all-star Bridie Harders.  The two of them together make quite the formidable team.

Aulich office legend has it there is a video somewhere on YouTube of Minuri singing, we haven’t been able to find it. Can you?

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