Deborah Mackenzie – Principal

(02) 5127 5261


Deborah Mackenzie is an experienced employment lawyer with a strong litigation background.

After finishing a degree in Economics at the ANU, Deborah commenced her legal career in 1992 as a law clerk in one of Canberra’s more quirky criminal litigation firms where she gained invaluable litigation experience while studying law part-time by correspondence.  Deborah also worked for several years with the ACT Government Solicitor, managing the Territory’s debt recovery practice while completing her legal studies.

Deborah took a number of years out of the workforce to raise her family, returning to the law in 2005 to complete her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.

In 2006, Deborah commenced working in the employment law team of one of Canberra’s leading law firms, finding employment law a perfect fit for her legal skills and litigation experience. Deborah was admitted as a solicitor in late 2006 and has practiced exclusively in employment law ever since, with several prominent Canberra law firms.

In 2017, Deborah embraced the concept of a specialised micro-law firm, establishing Mackenzie Workplace Law as a sole-practitioner firm.

Without the constraints of a large firm, Deborah is able to provide quality, personalised employment law services to her employee and employer clients. Working with individual employees as well as employers gives Deborah the perspective to achieve the best possible practical results for her all her clients.

Deborah is known for her pragmatic, common-sense approach to workplace issues and the care and attention she gives to her clients and their matters.  She regularly receives referrals from other law firms and barristers and her clients include a range of private and public sector employees, executive level employees, local and national businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

Deborah has a particular practice focus in advising small to medium enterprises who may not have access to dedicated HR services.

Areas of expertise

Public Sector Employment

As a Canberra-based employment lawyer, public sector employment issues form a major part of Deborah’s practice, particularly public sector employee work.  She has advised and assisted employees at all levels of the both the Commonwealth and ACT Public Service in relation to code of conduct investigations, review of actions (including judicial review), discrimination and employee entitlement issues.

Workplace Disputes

Deborah acts for both employers and employees in workplace disputes including unfair dismissals and breach of general protections applications, regularly conducting conciliation conferences in the Fair Work Commission. Deborah is skilled in dispute resolution and is experienced in managing litigation in the ACT and federal jurisdictions.  Deborah’s pragmatic approach assists her clients to reach a satisfactory resolution to most dispute matters.

Workplace Disciplinary Matters

Deborah regularly advises employers in relation to employee performance and conduct issues, assisting her clients to implement fair disciplinary and termination processes and reducing the risk of further legal action.  Deborah also advises private sector employees subject to disciplinary processes, empowering her clients to ensure that a fair process is followed.

Workplace bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment

Deborah acts for both employers and employees in workplace bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment matters including advising through investigation processes and acting for her clients in respect of complaints made to the ACT or Australian Human Rights Commission and subsequent court or tribunal proceedings.

Employment Contracts

Deborah is skilled in drafting plain English employment and independent contractor agreements for employers, as well as reviewing employment agreements for employees.

Post-Employment Restraints

Deborah has also acted for a wide variety of employers and employees in post-employment restraint matters, particularly in the real estate and IT industries.  Deborah is experienced in conducting litigation in this difficult area of law.


Deborah was awarded a Bachelor of Economics (B.Ec) from ANU in 1991, a Diploma in Law from the Legal Practitioner’s Admission Board in 1997 and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the NSW College of Law in 2006.

In 2019, Deborah was joint winner of the inaugural ALERA ACT ER/IR Professional of the Year award in recognition of her professional and community contribution and achievements.

Since 2021, Deborah has been recommended in Doyle’s Guide as a leading employee-focused Canberra Employment Lawyer.

Deborah has been a member of the ACT Law Society’s Industrial Relations Committee since 2012.

She is also Chair of the Hockey ACT Disciplinary Tribunal, President of Western Districts Hockey Club and a dedicated hockey mum in her spare time.