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Kirsty Smith


Kirsty Smith has been a key member of the firm’s Building and Construction practice for 14 years, and is an experienced construction dispute lawyer and front-end lawyer. 

Kirsty has been recognised as a thought leader in the Autumn 2021 Mondaq Thought Leadership Awards for Australia in Arbitration & Dispute Resolution.


Kirsty’s experience includes advising on risk and drafting agreements for developers and contractors, and advising, negotiating, and acting in court proceedings, adjudications and alternative dispute resolution proceedings on construction disputes involving multi-national companies, mining companies, engineers, property developers and contractors.

Kirsty works as part of a focussed team to successfully achieve objectives set by clients, including coordinating high pressure adjudication proceedings and instructing junior and senior counsel in both the State and Federal System. Her understanding and interest in our client’s business and projects helps her to achieve the best result possible for our clients.

Kirsty’s contribution to the successful outcomes obtained by our clients in major construction and infrastructure disputes is founded on her dedication to our clients as well as her pragmatic approach to advising on strategies to overcome obstacles. 

Examples of Kirsty’s construction dispute experience include the following:

  • Brisbane Airport — acted in relation to 2 significant disputes (between $10 million and $30 million+) in relation to design works and Supreme Court Proceedings.
  • GIS Substation project in New South Wales (Holroyd and Rookwood Road Project) — acted for a professional service consultancy company in relation to the design works and involving adjudications and advice on substantive proceedings, and resulting in a commercial settlement
  • Northern Territory Secure Facilities Project — acted for an Australian subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company in relation to a security systems subcontract involving a maximum security prison in the Northern Territory, resulting in complex adjudication proceedings and successfully defending an appeal of the adjudication decision in the Northern Territory Supreme Court
  • Sino Iron Ore Project — acted for a civil contractor in relation to major civil pipeline construction projects in Western Australia involving adjudications, mediations, a commercial arbitration and substantive Federal Court proceedings. In addition to contributing the all aspects of the proceedings, Kirsty was responsible for implementing an electronic disclosure regime which resulted in review of over 100,000 documents
  • Legacy Way Tunnel, Project Connection — acted for a joint venture in defending a claim brought by Energex Limited under the security of payment legislation in Queensland, resulting in a commercial settlement
  • “The Sands” at Yamba — acted for a commercial building company in relation to a residential building claim by a body corporate concluding to a successful determination by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal in New South Wales
  • Clem Jones Tunnel in Queensland — acted in alternative dispute resolution proceedings and Court of Appeal proceedings in relation to signage works on the Clem Jones Tunnel in Queensland, which resulted in a commercial settlement.


  • acted in various Originating Applications seeking urgent injunctive relief in the Supreme and Federal Courts
  • prohibitory injunctions to restrain Principals on construction projects from having recourse to the security (bank guarantees) (acting both for Principals and against Principals)
  • mandatory injunctions seeking delivery up of goods.

Adjudication proceedings, advice and associated court proceedings

  • acted for various contractors in relation to the Gladstone LNG Project on Curtis Island.

Debt recovery

  • advising clients of options for enforcing judgment debts
  • enforcement of judgment debts in the Supreme and District Court of Queensland, including
  • acting in proceedings for the enforcement of a judgment debt against a Director of a company liable for the judgment debt pursuant to a personal guarantee
  • applying for enforcement warrants for the seizure and sale of property
  • applying for, and instructing Counsel at, an enforcement hearing
  • applying for the appointment of a receiver to call up informal loans made by the debtor company to interrelated companies payable on demand
  • enforcement of a judgment debt in the small claims division of the Local Court of New South Wales, by way of a Notice of Motion for the issue of a writ for the levy of property against the judgment debtor
  • lodging/removing caveats over property
  • recovery of debts under the Subcontractors’ Charges Act 1974 (Qld), including instructing Counsel in associated proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • issuing statutory demands under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).


17 April 2023 - Knowledge

Decoding design and construct contracts: Defects (Part 6)

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

In the sixth instalment of this series on the AS4902 standard form design and construct contract, we discuss how contracts deal with defective work and rectification.

01 November 2022 - Knowledge

Latent conditions in civil construction: What constitutes ‘forthwith’ notification? (Part 2)

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

In this instalment, we discuss the obligation to give notice of a latent condition by revisiting the trial and appeal decisions of a dispute between BMD Major Projects Pty Ltd and Victorian Urban Development Authority.

18 September 2022 - Knowledge

Latent conditions in civil construction: Does a latent condition exist? (Part 1)

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

In this two-part series, we consider some of the guiding principles as to how a latent condition clause applies by revisiting a case between a construction company and an urban development authority.

17 August 2022 - Knowledge

Luxury developments: Delivering the vision (Part 3)

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects, #Property, Planning & Development

In the last installment of this series, we discuss the issues associated with managing works during and after the construction stage, and what can be done when the luxury design intent is not achieved.

17 August 2022 - Knowledge

Contracting for civil construction works – are you getting the deal you bargained for?

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

We consider two key areas of risk associated with contracting to perform civil construction works – latent conditions and construction methodology.

08 August 2022 - Knowledge

Defects, experts and maintaining privilege – the importance of engaging early

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

We consider the importance of investigating defects, engaging experts early when a defect is identified, and maintaining privilege.

07 December 2021 - Knowledge

Queensland Government Bulletin

#Government, #Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

With Government departments relying on external consultants to superintend construction contracts, it is important to understand how the Government can be bound by the actions of its consultant under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017.

24 November 2021 - Knowledge

Luxury developments: Contracting for success (Part 2)

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects, #Property, Planning & Development

In our second instalment, we look at the contracting phase of luxury development projects and discuss how the contractual framework can ensure the finished product achieves the developer's vision while limiting their exposure to risk.

27 October 2021 - Knowledge

Luxury developments: Achieving vision through smart contracting (Part 1)

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects, #Property, Planning & Development

Our first instalment of a three-part series covering key considerations for luxury development developers to ensure they achieve their vision.

13 July 2021 - Knowledge

Will your expert determination clause hold up?

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects, #Transport, Shipping & Logistics

Expert determination is quickly becoming a preferred method of dispute resolution for construction claims. We provide a quick update on a critical development in the interpretation of a standard form clause following a recent NSW Supreme Court decision.

07 July 2021 - Knowledge

Hurdles to recovering loss for latent defects in construction projects

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

We consider the issues concerning limitation periods, proportionate liability and insurance when recovering loss for defects that are only discovered long after something has been designed and built.