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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

19 January 2023 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin summer edition: Navigating public sector risks and threats

#Government, #Administrative Law, #Intellectual Property, #Workplace Relations & Safety

In this special edition, we explore ways in which the public sector can navigate through some of the risks and threats facing government this year.

21 December 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

A summary of the latest government news in NSW.

14 December 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition, we provide the next instalment of our digest of recent cases on the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020, legislation which has significantly impacted day-to-day practice in the NSW construction industry for class 2 buildings.

30 November 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In its continued efforts to overhaul the behavioural norms of the NSW building industry, the NSW Government has introduced a series of amendments designed to improve transparency and confidence in the industry.

15 November 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

The new kid on the block in managing the risk of defects, particularly in high-rise residential buildings, is decennial liability insurance, also known as latent defects insurance. So what’s it all about?

02 November 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition, we look at the latest decisions on the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW), which takes a broad approach to the application of the statutory duty of care.

19 October 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

A recent decision of the NSW Supreme Court revisits the Onerati principle post section 18E(2), in a successor in title context.

05 October 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of NSW closed a potential pathway for claims to be brought after the expiry of the statutory warranty period, where the statutory warranties are expressly contractual.

20 September 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition, we put a spotlight on the commercial fit-out exception in the Design and Building Practitioners Regulation 2021.

07 September 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition, we discuss a decision in which s.18G of the Home Building Act, was found to impose a limit on the ability of a builder to contractually limit its liability.

24 August 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition, we look at a recent decision in the Tribunal, where a builder was found to be in serious breach of a contract where it failed to ensure that it and its subcontractors were appropriately licensed to carry out the works.

10 August 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: DBP Act update – what is ‘substantive control’ of construction work?

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

The court is beginning to grapple with the Design and Building Practitioners Act and in this latest decision looks further at what is ‘substantive control’ as a trigger for owing the statutory duty of care.

27 July 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

We look at a recent decision where an Owners Corporation failed to establish breach of statutory warranty in a combustible cladding case.

13 July 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In a recent decision, the Appeal Panel invoked the flexibility of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s procedure to ascertain appeal grounds in the context of litigants in person.

29 June 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

Tales of low-balling advice on likely construction costs are common place. In this edition, we take a look at a decision on an extreme example where the owners overcapitalised in the context of a cost-plus contract.

15 June 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In this edition we look at a recent decision on whether a developer owes the statutory duty of care, under the Design and Building Practitioners Act, to avoid economic loss from defects arising from construction work.

01 June 2022 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

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

In the first decision considering the application of the statutory duty of care in section 37 of the Design and Building Practitioners Act, the NSW Supreme Court has ruled that the duty is not only limited to Class 2 buildings.

25 May 2022 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin

#Government

In this edition, we set out the key concepts of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill which passed through parliament on 19 May 2022.