Areas of Expertise

Robert is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation, with over 25 years’ experience in building and construction and insurance law. Having worked for boutique practices and running his own niche practice for the last ten years, Robert has developed a stable base of clients in building, construction and related businesses.

Acting for developers, builders, subcontractors, building professionals and consultants and private clients, Robert adapts his approach to meet the needs and priorities of his clients, providing honest and pragmatic advice.

Robert has enjoyed assisting many of his clients in their growth cycle, tailoring the delivery of legal services to their evolving requirements. Whilst preferring to find alternative pathways to litigation for his clients, Robert enjoys the strategic side of litigation and exploring the psychology behind commercial disputes.

 

Qualifications/Memberships

  • Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Economics, University of Sydney

  • Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation               

  • TASC Adjudicator’s Course (Building & Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (NSW) 1999)      

 

What Robert's clients says

“Robert possesses obvious legal knowledge and experience in construction, development and commercially associated areas, combined with efficiency and excellent people skills. Robert is highly valued by the Leda Group” Gregory Miles, in house counsel LEDA Group.

 

A word from Robert

Commercial disputes are usually triggered by unforeseen events and fuelled by psychology. Finding the key to the escalation of any dispute is most satisfying, as it inevitably unlocks the door to tangible solutions. Listening to clients and observing the subtleties of opposition behaviour often reveals the optimal pathway to negotiate a successful outcome. If a matter reaches the hearing stage, I like to be comfortable in the knowledge that it had to go the distance because every reasonable alternative had first been explored.

In my experience, only a small percentage of disputes require determination by a Court or Tribunal. In the majority of cases, it’s about finding the right way to take dispute resolution outside the black and white realm of litigation preparation, and turning it into a form of strategic and practical art.

 

Career highlights

  • Acting on behalf of the owners of an aged care facility in the Supreme Court by successfully challenging an Adjudication Determination in favour of an electrical contractor. It was one of the early instances of the Court determining an adjudication to be void, resulting from the Adjudicator failing to make a conscientious attempt to perform the Adjudicator’s function under the Act.

  • Obtaining an injunction on behalf of a joint venture partner, restraining the other joint venture partner from transferring lots to which it was beneficially entitled under the Joint Venture Agreement to a third party.

  • Acting for a Civil Contractor in defence of a summons issued pursuant to s30 of the Work Safety Act 2008 (ACT) where a concreting subcontractor sustained injuries to both legs. The Court found that the appointed Inspectors had misused their powers under the Act by failing to issue the requisite warnings to relevant witnesses when conducting the interviews. The Court dismissed the summons with cost.

  • Acting for a shaft drilling company against a large coal mine following the collapse of metal casing into the base of the shaft, rendering the shaft unrecoverable. Whilst the mine held a Contractors All Risks Insurance Policy, the policy contained certain exclusions pertaining to whether the loss was consequential resulting from inadequate design. A dispute with the insurer followed as to the cause of the loss. Detailed expert evidence was obtained and the insurer ultimately accepted liability and paid the claim pre-litigation.

  • Successfully resolving Supreme Court proceedings in Queensland regarding the ownership of a drilling rig between an Australian-based drilling company and a US competitor. Final settlement was reached at mediation pursuant to expert evidence casting doubt as to the true value of the rig in the marketplace, avoiding the substantial costs of further preparation and a lengthy hearing.

 

Specific areas of focus

  • Security for Payment Act (SOPA) claims and defences

  • Regulatory processes under SOPA legislation

  • Building contract and defect disputes and resolution

  • Claims for design related issues

  • Breaches of statutory warranty

  • Home warranty claims and building insurance issues