old-About Us

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John Dawson was admitted as a legal practitioner in 1985 and for thirty years was a partner of the Sydney CBD law firm, Carneys Lawyers.  In 2018, with Brad Hayward, he founded Vector Legal.  John’s broad legal practice has involved the management of complex transactional matters and representing clients litigating in every major State and Federal jurisdiction. 

John has extensive commercial, employment law and workplace relations experience. Since 1995 he has served as a director of a leading defence contractor specialising in the supply and support of electronic warfare, radar and radio communications systems for the Australian Defence Force. 

Much of John’s legal work has focused on the aviation industry, particularly in relation to regulatory matters and litigation arising from aviation accidents. He started his working life with the Australian Civil Aviation Authority in Air Traffic Services and for more than a decade was the NSW Secretary of the principal union representing aviation personnel employed by the Commonwealth. John was a pilot, has taught aviation regulation to students studying to become professional pilots and lectured in aviation law in Bachelor of Aviation degree courses at the University of NSW.  He currently serves as a director of the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (ALAANZ) and is a former President of the Association.

John’s extensive experience gives him an appreciation of the difficulties faced by an individual and/or small business proprietor in utilising the legal system: that most people embroiled in a legal dispute have limited resources and simply want an outcome and that going to court has drawbacks and should at times be considered as the last resort in dispute resolution.  He is a professional member of the Resolution Institute, the preeminent body offering alternative dispute resolution services in Australia and New Zealand and an accredited mediator and arbitrator.  For fifteen years he has also been accredited by the NSW Law Society as a Specialist in Employment and Workplace Law and served on the NSW Law Society committees for arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.

John represented the families of sixteen Australian passengers who lost their lives in the MH370 and MH17 tragedies. He is the only plaintiff’s lawyer listed in the 2018 and 2019 Doyle’s Listings of Leading Australian Aviation Lawyers.

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Before his admission to practice in 2013, Brad worked for a decade in the flight operations division of a large regional airline in positions involving regulatory compliance. Brad’s operational background in the airlines gives him a firm grounding in aviation and allows him to take a practical approach to aviation legal issues.

He has also written academically in the areas of aviation and outer space law, presenting papers at international conferences. He has also taught aviation law as a sessional tutor at Swinburne University of Technology and as a guest lecturer on a few occasions at the University of New South Wales.

Brad’s practice focuses on litigation and advice in aviation legal matters, including claims against air carriers following accidents, and aviation regulatory matters for industry participants.

He is a committee member of the NSW Branch of the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand and an Associate Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, where he served on the Australian Division Council between 2013 and 2017.


  • 2003 – Bachelor of Aviation (Management), University of New South Wales
  • 2008 – Master of Commerce, University of Sydney
  • 2011 – Bachelor of Laws, University of New South Wales
  • 2013 – Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, University of Technology, Sydney