John Sharman

Personable, assessable and very knowledgeable. His team thinks like him.

- Client Perception Survey, 2015
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John Sharman


John Sharman is a principal in our Insurance and Health team and is based in the Brisbane office.

Over the years, John has developed a reputation as an experienced and extremely skilled practitioner who regularly advises insurers, underwriters and self-insureds on complex issues relating to:

  • Public liability
  • Property damage
  • Professional indemnity.

‘I began my career in the public sector. However, when I moved into private practice and discovered insurance law, I realised I had found my niche. I’ve now spent more than 20 years working in the industry. Coincidentally, this has involved quite a lot of work for local government – specifically, defending matters involving multiple claimants in cases arising out of the subsidence of underground mines, fires causing toxic fumes to be released into the atmosphere and fires in premises causing multiple deaths and injury.’

‘It’s important to understand that our clients are very sophisticated users of legal services. I’ve come to believe that as a lawyer you need to be a problem solver. Obviously, that involves being able to investigate a factual situation and develop a legal solution. However, you also need to take the time to listen to the client so that you understand their objectives and can offer them the most advantageous solution possible.’

John is a fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) and was listed in the 2015 Doyle's Guide as one of Queensland’s recommended public and occupiers’ liability lawyers, and one of Queensland's leading public and product liability lawyers in 2017. He has also been recognised in the 2017 to 2019 editions of Best Lawyers for Insurance Law.

‘At Barry.Nilsson., we’ve always had a very strong culture of being a friendly and unpretentious place to work. It’s a culture that we value, because it means that coming to work each day is a pleasant experience. But it’s also something that extends to the way we deal with our clients. They know that we’re focused on working in partnership with them to provide the highest quality legal advice that is still cost effective. As the firm expands, we want to ensure that this culture is preserved and that we remain truly unified. We’ve been very fortunate in that the partners and lawyers who have joined us in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide share this vision.’


  • Fellow, Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)
  • Member, Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA)
  • Member, Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RIMA)
  • Member, Queensland Association of Fire Investigators (QAFI)


  • Public liability
  • Property damage
  • Professional indemnity
  • General risk management and commercial advice


  • Master of Business Administration
  • Graduate Diploma in Insurance


Insurance and Health