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Expertise

Christine is a construction and commercial litigator with 20 years' experience across residential, commercial and infrastructure asset classes. She is the editor of Residential Focus, a fortnightly newsletter for professionals in the residential building sector in NSW.

Christine is also the interface partner for the firm's NSW government practice and the editor of NSW Government Bulletin.

Experience

Christine's experience includes:

Residential

  • acting for owners, owners corporations and builders in residential building disputes including contract disputes and claims for breach of statutory warranty, including multi-party proceedings and proceedings in the NCAT jurisdiction
  • acting for owners and inspectors in disputes over negligent performance of pre purchase inspections
  • acting for a local council in relation to the enforcement of fire safety orders affecting a residential high rise building
  • acting for a nationwide building material and machinery manufacturer and supplier in relation to warranty claims by consumers, including in circumstances where technical staff were used as experts in proceedings to which the manufacturer was not a party
  • advising a television production company behind a national lifestyle show regarding Home Building Act compliance
  • advising developers, builders, specialist contractors, consultants and owners corporations on compliance issues under the Home Building Act, the Strata Schemes Management Act, the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement) Act and the Design and Building Practitioners Act
  • advising developers in the charities and NDIS sector regarding Home Building Act compliance
  • advising subdivision developers on Home Building Act issues affecting project structuring
  • acting for the statutory insurer in proceedings for the recovery of home building insurance payments, including significant claims against high profile contractors and developers
  • acting for the statutory indemnifier in relation to home warranty insurance claim disputes and recoveries in a range of jurisdictions, covering individual dwellings to large high rise and mixed use developments
  • acting for the liquidator of two home warranty insurers in defending and asserting claims in relation to home warranty insurance policies.

Commercial & Infrastructure

  • advising the project management office of a regional council in relation to project management issues arising across a variety of State and Commonwealth funded infrastructure projects in road, water and waste asset categories, including conducting performance audits of the PMO at key project milestones
  • advising a regional council on the impending insolvency of a contractor on an infrastructure project
  • advising a regional council on close out of a road project contract
  • advising a regional council on a $80m claim against a product supplier for defective road base affecting road assets across its network
  • acting for a subcontractor in upstream and downstream disputes regarding performance of an infrastructure contract
  • acting for a mine operator in a claim against a mechanical upgrade contractor
  • acting for a materials manufacturer in a claim against its joint venture participants for diverting a business opportunity
  • acting for applicants and respondents on Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) claims
  • acting for various end-users, contractors and professional service firms in relation to money and defects claims in a range of jurisdictions
  • acting for a landlord in dispute with a tenant over restaurant premises rendered inoperable by the actions of an adjoining residential owners corporation in interfering with a mechanical ventilation shaft
  • acting for a railway owner in a commercial arbitration involving a local authority regarding payment for access to the track and interruption of overhead line electrification
  • acting for a machinery supplier in a cross border dispute with a mining company
  • advising a prepared food wholesaler and owner of a production facility in relation to issues arising from the purchase of a food production facility site, in particular the inadequate remediation of the food production facility site, a former mine, as part of the purchase.

Government

Christine’s government experience includes advising agencies in relation to:

Disputes

  • defence of a bailment claim by a former tenant and prosecution of a cross claim for remediation costs of asbestos contamination under s.105 of the Protection of Environment (Operations) Act
  • advice on s.133A of the Conveyancing Act in the context of a claim for make good by a landlord
  • liability to a former tenant under a letter of comfort arising from a potential change of use of a waterfront asset
  • a dispute regarding an adverse affectation on title related to an infrastructure project
  • a dispute regarding allocation of project risk and rectification of defects in an urban renewal project constructed by a developer with the benefit of a 99 year lease
  • relationships with private sector operators in contemplation of the implementation of a new policy for the use of agency owned facilities used by those operators
  • applications made by long term leaseholder of a hotel development including dealing with change of operator and financier
  • a dispute regarding the calculation of performance rents
  • a dispute regarding the ability to vary waterfront licences
  • the fraudulent issue of certification cards and other documents by a private sector organisation whose approval had been cancelled by the agency
  • the unauthorised use of agency names and trade marks by a private fund raiser purporting to have been engaged by a charitable organisation to generate funds on their behalf
  • a claim against former lawyers for professional negligence
  • contested subpoena and subpoena in sensitive matters
  • recovering amounts paid under a statutory insurance scheme and defending claims disputes in relation to recourse to a statutory indemnity. Complexities included administrative law challenges, questions of statutory interpretation, elapsed time and reluctant witnesses
  • the failed installation of critical software systems on the advice of an outsourced IT services provider. The case, which was conducted in the Technology and Construction List of the Equity Division of the NSW Supreme Court involved substantial electronic discovery and over 30 (mostly public sector employee) witnesses for the plaintiff alone. The case was successfully settled in the context of a mediation
  • a commercial arbitration involving outstanding payment to the railway owner by a local authority for access to the railway track and interruption of overhead line electrification.

Inquiries, investigations and reviews

  • an employee disclosure relating to alleged invoice padding/siphoning
  • a desktop review of Council land acquisition at less than arms length
  • an independent review of a series of transactions relating to Crown land
  • the Operation Spector public inquiry by the ICAC regarding alleged corrupt solicitation of funds by public officials (engaged on behalf of a public sector witness)
  • the Operation Acacia segment of the public inquiry by the ICAC into the NSW public sector regarding allegations concerning mining exploration licences (acting for a private sector witness)
  • the Operation Scania public inquiry by ICAC, engaged to represent a Council employee including appearing as solicitor advocate.

Publications

18 May 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

A recent NCAT Appeal Panel decision serves as a reminder that builders could face onerous consequences if they fail to adequately insure residential building works.

11 May 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

A wrap-up of the latest government news in NSW.

04 May 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

The Audit Office of NSW has released a report on how effective the Department of Customer Service and Department of Planning and Environment have been in dealing with combustible external cladding.

20 April 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

Building practitioners wanting to install a ground anchor under a neighbouring property will no longer need to present a registered easement following an updated order under the Design and Building Practitioners Act.

13 April 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

A wrap-up of the latest government news in NSW.

06 April 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

In this edition, we provide a wrap-up of the latest residential property news in NSW.

30 March 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

A wrap-up of the latest government news in NSW.

23 March 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

The NSW Fair Trading currently issues builders with an owner-builder permit to build a dual occupancy only if the purpose of the build is for ‘special circumstances’. What does this mean? We explain through a recent case between a licensed builder and the Commissioner for Fair Trading.

09 March 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In the context of rising material costs, much has been written lately on the risk to contractors of lump sum contracts. A recent decision, Aslan v Stepanoski [2022] NSWCA 24, demonstrates the flip side – the risk to owners of a bad bargain.

23 February 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

We look at a tribunal decision that reminds owners to be mindful that the right to terminate a construction contract at general law is separate and distinct from a right to terminate under contract.

09 February 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

The recent decision in Zhang and Mills v JSW Property Projects Pty Ltd and Ors [2021] NSWDC 655 serves as a reminder that directors of incorporated builders do not assume contractual obligations simply because they are the face of the company.

19 January 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin – summer edition

#Government, #Administrative Law, #Corporate & Commercial Law, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Procurement, #Property, Planning & Development, #Workplace Relations & Safety

In this edition, we explore various skills to help you reset and reinvigorate for what lies ahead for the public sector in 2022.

22 December 2021 - Knowledge

What (SOPA claims) are you getting for Christmas?

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

As the holiday period soon begins, we remind principals and head contractors to stay on top of Security of Payment claims and applications which may land over the shutdown period, to avoid nasty surprises in the new year.

15 December 2021 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

Time is ticking down to the end of the transitional exemption from compliance with the mandatory insurance requirements under the Design and Building Practitioners Act.

08 December 2021 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

In this edition, we take a close look at the ICAC’s latest guidance note on the dos and don’ts when obtaining external independent advice.

01 December 2021 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

In this edition, we look at a recent decision that clarifies what evidence you need when making a claim for breach of the statutory duty of care under the Design and Building Practitioners Act.

17 November 2021 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

The NSW Government has announced the development of a risk rating tool that will assist insurers and purchasers in assessing the trustworthiness of building practitioners and the construction quality of Class 2 buildings.

03 November 2021 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition, we look at the recent Biowood appeal that sheds light on how Australian courts and tribunals are likely to determine the compliance of combustible cladding products.

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