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Expertise

Chris is a Dispute Resolution & Litigation partner and the head of our Property & Real Estate practice. Chris’ clients include some of the most prolific and distinguished property organisations both in Australia and internationally. Chris’ experience, leadership and understanding of the unique positioning of his clients enables the consistent provision of tailored, commercial legal advice to his clients.

Chris regularly acts for companies and individuals in ASIC investigations and prosecutions, including advising in respect of compliance with notices issued under s33 of the ASIC Act and evidence at s19 examinations.

Experience

Chris’ practice focuses on advice, dispute resolution and litigation in the principal areas of:

  • retail and commercial leasing – advising a number of Australia’s largest retail and commercial landlords and tenants in matters of strategy, risk assessment and management, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation
  • property disputes – advising clients in terms of trustee relationships, adverse possession, compulsory acquisition, land valuation, and caveats
  • commercial/corporate conflicts – advising clients in terms of corporate advisory and financial services, shareholders, partnerships, joint ventures, trade rivals, trade practices and contracts
  • corporate insolvency – advising clients in a range of industries, including financial services, retail, airline, accounting, property development, construction, mining and services sectors. This includes advising practitioners, directors (including on ASIC investigations and directors duties cases), shareholders, employee groups and creditors, and conducting litigation, alternative dispute resolution, investigations and examinations on behalf of those groups
  • deceased estates – advising clients on testator family maintenance, testamentary capacity, and competing wills.

Publications

23 September 2020 - Knowledge

Update: Victorian leasing amendments now in force

#Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

Key amendments to the Retail Leases Act 2003 and the Building Act 1993 will be effective from 1 October 2020, except for those regarding essential safety measures which commenced on 23 September 2020.

16 September 2020 - Knowledge

Amendments passed to retail leasing legislation in Victoria

#Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

On 15 September 2020, the Victorian Parliament passed the Retail Leases Amendment Bill 2019, which amends the Retail Leases Act 2003 and the Building Act 1993.

16 September 2020 - Knowledge

Update: Retail or commercial leases in Victoria and COVID-19 – legislative amendments

#Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

Amendments have been passed to Victoria’s COVID-19 Omnibus Act which, amongst other things, permit the making of regulations to temporarily modify laws relating to leases and licences until 26 April 2021, amend the definition of ‘eligible lease’ and permit regulations to be made dealing with binding orders requiring landlords to give specified rent relief.

20 August 2020 - Knowledge

Update: COVID-19 relief in Victoria for landlords and tenants

#Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

The Premier of Victoria has today issued further guidance to landlords and tenants regarding their lease obligations, having regard to the COVID-19 restrictions which continue to remain in place across Victoria.

22 July 2020 - Knowledge

Landlords win the right to claim rent as an expense of administration

#Corporate restructuring, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Property & Real Estate

The Federal Court has provided important guidance for landlords on the operation of the priority regime in s556(1)(a) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

03 June 2020 - Knowledge

Navigating voluntary administration: Eight key considerations for landlords of insolvent tenants

#Corporate restructuring, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Property & Real Estate

We pinpoint eight key considerations landlords of insolvent tenants should be mindful of when dealing with the administration process, and outline key action items from day one.

13 May 2020 - Knowledge

Update: Retail and commercial leases in the ACT and COVID-19 – regulations

#Property & Real Estate, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

On 12 May 2020, the ACT Government published a Declaration with respect to retail and commercial leases which gives effect to the National Cabinet's Mandatory Code of Conduct. In this article, we explain the key points of the Declaration and the matters which ACT landlords and tenants should be mindful of.

04 May 2020 - Knowledge

Update: Retail or commercial leases in Victoria and COVID-19 – regulations

#Property & Real Estate, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

On 1 May 2020, following the recent enactment of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act in April, the Victorian Government has published regulations with respect to commercial leases and licences which give effect to the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct.

28 April 2020 - Knowledge

Retail or commercial leases in Victoria and COVID-19 – what the new legislation means

#Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

On 23 April 2020, the Victorian Parliament passed the eagerly anticipated COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020, the purpose of which is to modify certain laws in Victoria for the purposes of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

21 April 2020 - Knowledge

SA and WA lead the way with legislation to start giving effect to the Leasing Code

#Property & Real Estate, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

On 3 April 2020, the National Cabinet announced a Mandatory Code of Conduct for dealings between landlords and tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we discussed in a previous article.

08 April 2020 - Knowledge

SME leasing principles during COVID-19: National Code of Conduct

#Property & Real Estate, #COVID-19

With pressure mounting on landlords, tenants and the Federal and State Governments, the Prime Minister has announced a compulsory code of conduct for landlords and tenants dealings with rentals during the COVID-19 crisis.

01 April 2020 - Knowledge

Land tax deferral – a relief for land owners during COVID-19

#Property & Real Estate, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

In a bid to support businesses in the current climate, the Victorian Government is now giving eligible land owners the option to defer their 2020 land tax payment until 1 January 2021.

01 April 2020 - Knowledge

Trading through the corona crisis: Practical steps to help protect businesses

#Corporate restructuring, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak is wreaking havoc on businesses and exposing a number of internal issues. We address critical business housekeeping matters that may protect your business under current circumstances.

24 March 2020 - Knowledge

Immediate injunctive relief during the shutdown period

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

Historically, times of wide-spread financial stress can increase the chance that decision-making by your commercial counterparties may be more inwardly focused, lacking consideration for your commercial interests and legal rights. This may lead to a requirement to bring or defend legal action urgently to protect your own interests by seeking orders for immediate injunctive relief.

23 March 2020 - Knowledge

COVID-19 response: Changes to insolvency laws

#Corporate restructuring, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

The increasing spread of COVID-19, and now the unprecedented measures being taken by governments to slow that spread, is having and will continue to have a significant impact on economies around the globe, including Australia. As the situation has not been seen before, it is difficult for businesses and individuals to plan ways to limit the impact on their ability to continue trading – and pay their debts. In recognition of the unique challenges facing businesses today, the Australian Government has responded by acting to relax laws relating to insolvency.

03 March 2020 - Knowledge

Land tax – are you overpaying?

#Property & Real Estate, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation

Between now and May 2020, the State Revenue Office will send close to 510,000 land tax assessment notices to customers. If you consider that the valuation placed on your property is too high, you must lodge an objection within 60 days of receiving your land tax assessment notice.

10 December 2019 - Knowledge

Tribunal rules retail landlords cannot claw back fit-out costs from defaulting tenants

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

We examine a recent Tribunal decision in Victoria regarding a landlord’s ability to claw back a fit-out contribution paid to a tenant upon early termination of a lease.

26 November 2019 - Knowledge

Reconfirming retail: Court overturns tribunal decision on leases falling out of the Retail Leases Act

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

The Supreme Court of Victoria recently overturned a Tribunal decision on leases ‘jumping out’ of the Retail Leases Act during the lease term. We examine the case in detail.