Greg Laughton SC
Areas of Practice
- Building & Construction Law
- Commercial Law
- Domestic Commercial Arbitration
- Insurance & Professional Indemnity
- International Commercial Arbitration & Mediation
- Professional Liability (including medical negligence and directors & officers liability)
- Transportation Law (including Aviation & Maritime Law)
Masters of Law (International, Commercial and Economic Law), University of New South Wales, 2008
Diploma of International Commercial Arbitration, University of New South Wales, 2007
Professional Certificate in Arbitration, University of Adelaide, 2006
Diploma of Law, Barristers Admission Board, Law Extension Committee, University of Sydney, 1982
With over 30 years at the Bar, I have considerable experience acting for, and advising, clients globally, in complex cross-border maritime commercial, building and construction, professional negligence and insurance-related disputes.
Complementing my practice, I have a strong interest in alternative dispute resolution, and in particular, international commercial arbitration. With chambers in Sydney and London and possessing specialised knowledge and expertise in commercial, maritime and building and construction disputes, I have appeared in local and overseas jurisdictions, including Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Dubai and Frankfurt, in commercial arbitrations and mediations as counsel, arbitrator and mediator, affording me a true global perspective.
I have provided complex advice to multi-national insurers as well as insureds, and have appeared in mediations, arbitrations and Court in matters regarding coverage, construction of policies, liability and subrogation. The broad range of classes of insurance in which I have acted encompass construction (including professional negligence of engineers, architects and quantity surveyors), maritime (including cargo), infrastructure (including energy), product liability and trade credit risk.
I am a Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA); member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a BarADR approved arbitrator of the NSW Bar Association. I am also an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediator Accreditation Standards and a court-appointed mediator of the Supreme and District Courts of New South Wales.
In 2015 I was awarded the Australian Arbitration Barrister of the Year in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards and in 2018 was selected by my peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in Australia for my work in Product Liability Litigation.
Course Director and Speaker – Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration: 2017
Teacher – Australian Bar Association International Faculty to Bangladesh: since 2005
Director – New South Wales Bar Practice Course: 1999 to 2001
Teacher – Australian Advocacy Institute
Teacher – New South Wales Bar Association
Course Director ACICA – Advocacy in International Arbitration
Admitted to Gray’s Inn, 2015
Head of Chambers – Thirteen Wentworth Chambers, Sydney
Consultant to Gatehouse Chambers, London
Fellow – Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)
BarADR Approved Arbitrator – New South Wales Bar Association
Member – Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Accredited Mediator – Australian National Mediator Accreditation Standards
Court-Appointed Mediator – Supreme and District Courts of New South Wales
Arbitrator – Mauritian International Arbitration Centre (MIAC)
Registered Mediator – Civil Mediation Council (CMC) (UK)
I have extensive experience appearing in complex hearings and appeals in a wide variety of jurisdictions, including the High Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, Supreme Court of New South Wales and inferior courts. I have also conducted litigation in all States of Australia. Select cases are as follows.
Gram Engineering Pty Limited v BlueScope Steel (2014) FCAFC 107; 26 August 2014; Full Court of the Australian Federal Court; (2018) Federal Court of Australia (Jagot J) – Acted for the owner of a registered design on its assessment of damages following findings of infringement of a registered design
Joseph v Commissioner of Police  NSW CA 31 (6 March 2017) New South Court of Appeal; Administrative law on the entitlement of the Appellant to a Firearms Dealer Licence
Bestcare Foods Ltd (subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement)  NSWSC 1673; and 18 December 2014 NSWSC 183 New South Wales Supreme Court (Equity Division) – Appeared for the Directors of Bestcare Foods Limited in proceedings against the Administration of the company which clarified:
- the circumstances in which a Deed of Company Arrangement can be terminated upon a company in administration returning to solvency; and
- the Administrators remuneration can be reviewed by a Court.
Hampton & Farley  FamCA 213 (5 April 2013) Family Court of Australia – Concerning the circumstances in which a constructive trust will arise based on a representation of future intention.
Carbone v Calabria Community Club Pty Ltd  NSWSC 998 (26 July 2013) New South Supreme Court (Equity Division) – Dealt with the obligations of the Directors of a community based corporation to its members and the circumstances in which a Company can be wound up on just and equitable grounds.
State of New South Wales v Tyszyk  NSWCA 107, New South Wales Court of Appeal – Dealt with the liability of police in emergency situations and the liability of the owner of commercial premises to an innocent passer by.
Chandos Development Pty Limited v Mulkearns & Anor  NSWCA 62, New South Wales Court of Appeal – Dealt with the circumstances in which a vendor of commercial property could terminate a contract for sale of land for breach by a purchaser, notwithstanding its own breach.
Erect Safe Scaffolding (Australia) Pty Limited v Sutton  NSWCA 114, New South Wales Court of Appeal – The construction of an indemnity clause in a subcontract between a builder and a scaffolder was considered, in the context of an insurance policy, covering public liability of the builder.
Coshott v Principal Strategic Options Pty Limited  FCAFC 50, Full Court of the Australian Federal Court – Dealt with the principles of damages and causation in relation to a wrongly obtained injunction.
Nominal Defendant v Gardikiotis (1996) 186 CLR 49, High Court of Australia – Clarified in favour of the insurer, the liability to pay damages for fund management for catastrophically injured plaintiffs.
Andjelic v Marsland  HCA 55, High Court of Australia – Clarified in favour of the insurer the obligation to pay damages for funds management to injured plaintiffs.
Columbia Coffee and Tea Pty Limited & Ors v Churchill & Ors (1993) 9 ACSR 415, New South Wales Supreme Court – Major case involving the negligence of the auditor of an international coffee trading company. The case clarified the Australia position on the scope of the duty of care of auditors.
Other recent cases in which I have recently appeared include as follows.
Acted for the owners of Development land in the outer suburbs of Sydney against a developer on the proper construction of a Put and Call Option (2017)
Gram Engineering Pty Limited v BlueScope Steel (2014) FCAFC 107; 26 August 2014; Full Court of the Australian Federal Court – Acted for the owner of a registered design on its assessment of damages following findings of breach of a registered design
Other significant Matters appearing as Senior Counsel, Arbitrator and Mediator
Alternative Dispute Resolution
I have appeared in numerous arbitrations and mediations in commercial, building and construction, maritime and professional negligence matters.
Arbitration between two shareholders of an international trading company involving multiple disputes concerning shareholder and director’s conduct and entitlements.
Arbitration between a maintenance provider and an aircraft owner concerning a dispute about the entitlement of the maintenance provider to hold his aircraft pursuant to a contractual lien.
Arbitration in Hong Kong between a software provider and an international company about the fitness for purpose of the software.
Ad Hoc Arbitration in Sydney about the entitlement of the police to use documents seized on a warrant.
Ad Hoc Arbitration between two shipping companies about the entitlement of a shipping company for compensation about non-use of cargo space pursuant to a slot agreement.
Ad Hoc Arbitration in Hong Kong between a software supplier and a bank concerning the fitness for purpose of administration software supplied to the bank.
International Commercial and Maritime
I have advised and appeared in disputes concerning jurisdiction and cross-border legal issues and in maritime and construction cases, insolvency, sale of goods and general commercial disputes.
International Commercial Arbitrations
I have been involved in various international commercial and maritime arbitrations in the following jurisdictions. I have appeared for:
In Hong Kong
- Two container shipping companies over the terms of, and the amount due, under a Slot Agreement.
- A computer hardware and software supplier and a Hong Kong financial services company over the quality of the computer equipment and software supplied.
- The CEO of a container shipping company and the company, about whether the CEO was wrongfully dismissed and the amount of compensation owed by the company under the CEO’s employment agreement.
- The head contractor and a sub-contractor about the value and quality of work performed in a major construction dispute.
- A CEO in a wrongful dismissal claim by his employer.
- An IT provider and a head contractor about the supply of IT services in 120 countries; wrongful termination of a services agreement and unpaid invoices for services rendered.
- Recovery of significant sum due under a guarantee of a Hong Kong registered Company.
- For the Plaintiff in a dispute concerning breaches of a Shareholders Agreement between two Hong Kong residents. (Case No HKIAC/17111)
- An IT provider and head contractor for the supply of IT Services.
- A telecommunications company for the sale of its infrastructure.
- Both cases above were mediated in London before the arbitration.
- Two telecommunications companies about the terms of a Supply Agreement for VOIP service and other amounts due under it.
- Two telecommunications companies about the ownership of the intellectual property in Apple I telephone application and the amounts due under an agreement to export it.
- Advised and appeared for telecommunications company for issues including carry services and distribution networks
- Advised and appeared in the agricultural institutions associated with the sale of grains, cereals and pulse; financiers for agricultural products including livestock and disputes concerning forward grain contracts.
In Papua New Guinea
- The landowners and a goldminer about the royalties payable to the landowners and environmental issues.
- The landowners and a copper miner and the royalties payable to the landowners.
- Advised and appeared in disputes concerning charter parties; cargo and general shipping disputes.
- Acted for head contractors; specialist sub-contractors and government and local government departments in both national and cross-border disputes involving:
- Infrastructure – roads; rail; bridges and ports;
- Commercial high rise; and
- High and low rise residential
- Defective workmanship;
- Breach of contract and statutory warranty;
- Delay and liquidated damages;
- Security of payment.
Professional Negligence of:
- Engineers – civil; electrical; mechanical;
- Quantity surveyors;
- Building surveyors; and
- Payment managers.
Insurers and re-insurers of risks associated with the construction and infrastructure projects, and quantum claims for:
- underground services locator; and
- business interruption.
Acted as mediator in many domestic and international disputes, involving allegations of:
- Professional negligence of legal and medical practitioners; civil and mechanical engineers; architects and builders.
- Breach of commercial contracts for:
- the sale of goods;
- provision of services including IT; software; hardware and other services;
- the sale of commodities;
- property development and contracts for the sale of commercial real estate and construction;
- insurance on denials of indemnity and quantum of claims for the following risks:
- maritime including cargo and damage to goods;
- fire claims;
- trade credit
- mining disputes;
- business interruption;
- product liability
- Advised on and appeared in matters involving cross-border estate disputes, including property; equities; and tracing cash and other assets.
- Advise the insured on coverage; indemnity and subrogation issues on a worldwide trade credit policy associated with the collapse of a major Australian electrical retailer.
- To advise the insurer of the engineers on indemnity; liability and quantum issues on the failure of part of an infrastructure project.
- Appearing in a part heard case for the Plaintiff on coverage; indemnity and liability under the Public Liability Policy of a third party, arising from a catastrophic fire and complete destruction of an otherwise uninsured commercial building including damages for the loss of the building; loss of rent and other damage.
- Acting as mediator in numerous professional negligence cases including lawyers; doctors and engineers in which coverage, indemnity and quantum are an issue.
Publications Available for Download
Advocacy in International Arbitration: Oral Advocacy and Persuasion – workshop at ACICA
Shareholders Rights – seminar conducted for New South Wales solicitors
Practice and Procedure – Interpleader (Thomson Reuters)
Expert Evidence – seminar conducted for New South Wales solicitors
Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses – seminar conducted for New South Wales solicitors
Presenting Persuasive Arguments – Thomson Reuters
Advanced Commercial Litigation – Webinar Seminar
Establishing Reliance for Misleading and Deceptive Conduct – Webinar Seminar
Cross Cultural Awareness and Communication in Asia– ACICA Seminar