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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

07 February 2024 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: New rules for building bonds

#Property, Planning & Development

The Strata Schemes Management Amendment Regulation 2024 commenced in January, introducing three changes to the building bond scheme. We provide a brief overview of these changes.

24 January 2024 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin summer edition: The more things change

#Government, #Data & Privacy, #Property, Planning & Development, #Workplace Relations & Safety

At the beginning of a new year of challenges, we refresh key concepts and skills to arm government lawyers for the year ahead.

06 December 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: A new era for building reform

#Property, Planning & Development

As anticipated, the NSW Parliament has passed the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, which will become the Building Legislation Amendment Act 2023 and is likely to commence in February 2024, subject to proclamation.

23 November 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

We wrap-up the latest residential property news in NSW.

08 November 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

We wrap-up the latest residential property news in NSW.

25 October 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: The Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 has been introduced to parliament

#Property, Planning & Development

We explore the Building Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, passed by the Upper House last week.

10 October 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: Amendments to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW)

#Property, Planning & Development

Following the changes to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW), we discuss the amendments to the Consumer and Commercial division and the key points affecting parties when dealing with Tribunals.

28 September 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: Jurisdiction (revisited) and transfer

#Property, Planning & Development

In this edition we look at a decision of the Appeal Panel which unpacks the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for building claims under s 48K of the Act.

13 September 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus

#Property, Planning & Development

We wrap-up the latest residential property news in NSW.

29 August 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: Section 54 and insurance required by the Home Building Act

#Property, Planning & Development

The recent decision in Drummond v Gordian Runoff Ltd is the latest iteration of the debate about whether section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act, which prevents the decline of a late claim, but allows for a reduction for prejudice, operates in relation to insurance required the Home Building A

15 August 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: What the future of the NSW building industry might look like

#Property, Planning & Development

The proposed reforming building laws in New South Wales will have a much wider impact than just on the residential sector. While we await the government’s decision, join our webinar as we explore the draft bills and discuss the details of the reform package.

02 August 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: Licensing and insurance no bar to SOPA claim

#Property, Planning & Development

A recent decision in the District Court makes it clear that the Security of Payment Act is a powerful tool, not only for enforcing payments in ordinary circumstances, but also to sidestep conduct which would be considered disentitling to payments under the Home Building Act.

27 July 2023 - Knowledge

NSW Government Bulletin: Private and public nuisance in infrastructure development

#Government, #Transport, Shipping & Logistics

The NSW Supreme Court’s recent finding in a class action relating to the development of the Sydney Light Rail clarifies what constitutes a private nuisance claim and highlights key considerations for infrastructure principals as they plan and establish future projects.

18 July 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: Cladding claims, revisited

#Property, Planning & Development

The Court of Appeal has reversed a decision on a cladding claim, clarifying the position on what is necessary to prove in a cladding claim and the extent of the evidentiary onus.

05 July 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: No change in exemption for automatic deemed registration under the mutual recognition scheme

#Property, Planning & Development

Amended in 2021, the Commonwealth’s mutual recognition scheme introduces automatic deemed registration (ADR), enabling holders of a valid occupational licence in their home state to work across jurisdictions simply, quickly and cheaply.

21 June 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: DBP Act and RAB Act to extend to class 3 and 9c buildings

#Property, Planning & Development

Effective 3 July 2023, new legislation will extend the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020 and the regulatory and compliance provisions of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 to class 3 and 9c buildings.

07 June 2023 - Knowledge

Residential Focus: Project Intervene held not a reason to stay proceedings

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

A recent scheme aims to offer pathways to remediate serious defects in recently completed and occupied residential apartment buildings as an alternative to litigation.

07 June 2023 - Knowledge

Severing parts of adjudication determinations under SOP Act

#Construction, Infrastructure & Projects

The NSW Supreme Court has for the first time exercised its discretion to sever part of an adjudication determination affected by a jurisdictional error under section 32A of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (SOP Act).