Graeme has 15 years’ experience assisting clients in corporate commercial disputes, regulatory investigations and prosecutions and with strategic and risk management advice.

    He has extensive experience appearing in courts, tribunals, arbitrations, and formal and informal mediations.

    His litigation and dispute resolution experience includes representing clients in disputes over oil fields, mining and exploration agreements, share purchase agreements, gas and power supply agreements, construction contracts, joint ventures, managed investment schemes, directors’ duties, disclosure obligations and oppression actions.

    His litigation practice encompasses a variety of industry sectors. However he has particular experience in corporate governance and shareholder matters, energy and resources, projects, commercial property, intellectual property and technology.

    Graeme also has extensive experience in advising private and public clients on regulatory and administrative law matters including consumer and competition law. He has particular experience in the defence of environmental investigations and prosecutions but has also represented clients in a wide range of other regulatory areas including access regimes, product recalls, ACCC investigations, work place accidents, manufacturer’s liabilities, work place accidents, professional bodies, food safety and dangerous goods.

    His environmental experience includes acting in very substantial investigations and prosecutions including the investigation and defence of the Esperance Port Authority against charges under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) arising from the transportation of heavy metals through the port.

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    Advice and Representation in Commercial Disputes

    Property Disputes

    • Acted for a statutory redevelopment authority in court proceedings with a local government. In this matter the issues surrounding the proposed development of more than 4 hectares of prime land in Subiaco.
    • Provided advice to property developer on dispute with partners regarding an agreement to procure project land and then develop that land in major town in South West of Western Australia with value of AU$17 million.
    • Provided advice to property developer on efficacy of funding arrangements in a bid to purchase property in Perth central business district with a value of AU$45 million from a bank's receiver.
    • Provided advice to vendor of residential property with a value of AU$2.3 million on a dispute with a purchaser over stamp duty (taxation) and the requirements to obtain government approval for the purchase by a temporary resident of Australia.
    • Represented a listed company in several sets of proceedings relating to a long running dispute regarding the validity of a lease over the company's principal offices in West Perth.
    • Represented a listed company responding to a claim for loss and damage that it had breached an offer to lease of a significant tenancy in the Perth CBD and provided advice on whether a binding lease agreement existed.
    • Provided advice to a large property developer on issues relating to the collapse of the provider of deposit bonds for a number of purchasers in a development and the developer's rights under the sale contract to demand replacement deposits.
    • Provided advice to Babcock & Brown as a secured creditor on issues arising from a property developer entering receivership and associated disputes with the builder of the relevant property.

    Energy and Resources

    • Acted for a multinational gold mining company in a dispute arising from a farming agreement where there were questions surrounding the meeting of exploration targets and rights of acquisition under the relevant agreement.
    • Acted for a gold mining company which had acquired an existing gold mine in a dispute with the vendor of the mine which was a multinational mining company. The mine had significant environmental problems which resulted in the request by the relevant authorities for a AU$45 million environment bond. There were significant disputes with the vendor and ongoing issues with surrounding land owners arising from the environmental issues.
    • Advised a regional port on matters relating to disputes with several mining companies exporting through the port regarding the continued export of products through the port.
    • Acted for a BVI registered company in a shareholders dispute over the entitled to and valued of an oil asset located in the Guild of Thailand. Proceedings were commenced in the British Virgin Islands and involved parties in Australia, Thailand and the US.
    • Acted for a contractor who was seeking to recover significant charges for works performed to construct a large construction camp in the Midwest.
    • Acted for a national contractor who was providing crushing services at an iron ore mine in the Pilbara on disputes regarding our client's performance under the contract and in a dispute with a former employee who, while employed by our client, set up a competing crushing business which was engaged at the mine. This action sought to recover all profits of the business established by the former employee.
    • Acted for Midwest Corporation during the takeover by Sino Steel on various issues including providing advice and assistance on the resolution of a dispute with a third party over its right to submit a proposal to construct the Oakajee Port.
    • Acted for a power company advising on its rights to dispute and obligations to a subpoena for documents by the parties to the North West Shelf Gas Arbitration.
    • Acted for a services company engaged to supply and lay a large off shore pipeline in a dispute with the contractor engaged to lay the pipe. Significant ovalisation had occurred and the parties were in dispute as to the cause of the problem and the solution.
    • Acted for a listed company over a dispute with private land owners regarding the respective rights under a mining agreement between the parties. Assisted the company in understanding its rights so that it could then assess the need to continue with the mining agreement in light of the difficulties in dealing with the land owners.

    Government, Planning and Environmental Disputes, and Administrative Law

    • Acted for a retirement village operators in seeking declarations for the removal of a memorial lodged over land owned by the operator where the Registrar of Titles had refused to remove the memorial.
    • Provided advice to statutory body on the contractual and statutory obligations of tenant of land owned by the statutory body to remediate a site polluted by the tenant prior to the tenant vacating. This required involvement with the regulator and significant issues associated with the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA) that affected the proposed new land use.
    • Acted for a redevelopment authority on disputes with a residents group over proposed developments including allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct by the redevelopment authority and defamation.
    • Acted for six members of a seven member Regional Council established under the Local Government Act in proceedings with another member of the Regional Council. The dispute surrounded the system of charges levied by the Regional Council on members using its rubbish disposal services. If the other party had been successful in the proceedings it would have resulted in my clients paying, in some instances, millions more for rubbish disposal each year.
    • Acted for a government entity in a payment dispute with environmental contractors where contamination was identified at the site following the assessment and performance of remediation works supervised by the contractors. Our client had a claim for damages flowing from the delays in the sale of the land caused by the need to carry out further remediation works.
    • Represented a property owner on a claim by the purchaser of the property for damages arising from contamination on the property where some contamination but not the full extent of contamination had been disclosed.
    • Acted for the owner and operator of a large industrial facility which was the subject of an investigation by the Department of Environment and Conservation following an environmental incident. This included providing advice on their rights during the investigation and also providing advice and representation during the interview of employees.
    • Acted for the owner of a shopping centre defending an action by tenants for damages arising from the redevelopment of the centre including delays in these tenants obtaining a liquor licence because the local authority withheld the certificate of classification.
    • Acted for the owner of a shopping centre advising on issues being raised by the local authority on whether the centre complied with the fire safety requirements of the Building Code of Australia and the local authority's refusal to issue a certificate of classification as a result. The client was advised on its negotiations with the local authority and an action for a prerogative writ to compel the local authority to issue a certificate of classification.
    • Acted for John Holland in a AU$14 million dispute with its main electrical subcontractor on the Mandurah to Perth railway including two actions in the Supreme Court challenging adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act 2004. One of these actions sought that prerogative writ be issued against the adjudicator.
    • Acted for the developer of a shopping centre providing advice on the avenues to obtain prerogative relief against a local government for its failure to issue a certificate of classification under the terms of the Local Government Regulations. The failure to issue this certificate meant that parts of the shopping centre could not be occupied causing significant losses.

    Corporate

    • Represented company defending an action for oppression under the Corporations Act (Cth) 2001 commenced by a shareholder.
    • Represented a resources company with respect to a shareholders dispute centered around an oil asset in the Gulf of Thailand where the proceedings were commenced in the British Virgin Islands and involved parties in Australia, BVI, the US and Thailand.
    • Provided advice and assistance to an Indigenous corporation in relation to the clarification of its legal status given historical changes and the negotiation and drafting of relevant legal agreements with affiliated church bodies.
    • Acted for a responsible entity and its directors defending proceedings commenced by a participant in a managed investment scheme. The participant sought wide ranging relied alleging that the responsible entity and directors had engaged in numerous breaches of the Trade Practices Act and the Corporations Act.
    • Acted for Midwest Corporation during the takeover by Sino Steel on various issues including providing advice and assistance on the resolution of a dispute with a third party over its right to submit a proposal to construct the Oakajee Port.
    • Acted for a managing director and shareholder of a listed company whose employment was terminated due to a dispute with other directors. As a result of matters connected to our client's termination the listed company was then the subject of a shareholder dispute which involved one of the directors launching a takeover offer. Advised the client on his rights and issues arising from his termination and on issues arising from the shareholder dispute and takeover offer.
    • Acted in several actions to set aside statutory demands and in winding up proceedings.
    • Acted in a number of relation back claims for companies defending claims by liquidators to funds paid during the relation back period.

    Employment Related Disputes

    • Provided advice to an employer regarding the application of an enterprise bargaining agreement which applied to a construction site and the obligations to his employees arising from this agreement.
    • Acted as counsel for a multinational client in proceedings for damages commenced by an employee alleging (among other things) harsh and oppressive conduct.
    • Acted for a listed company in an action against an ex-employee in the Supreme Court for an account of profits of a business set up by the ex-employee while in our client's employment and for the return of confidential information.
    • Provided detailed advice to a major floor covering retailer on obligations to provide workers compensation insurance to sub contracted carpet layers.
    • Provided detailed advice to a large educational institution the rights, obligations and liabilities when terminating the employment of the bursar in acrimonious circumstances.
    • Represented a large employer with respect to the performance management of a senior employee, refusal by the employee to engage in the process and allegations of bullying by superior and allegations by that employee of bullying and the process to terminate the employee.
    • Represented a Chief Executive Officer in a dispute regarding his termination entitlements under a variation to the contract of employment signed on the date of his termination. The employer was a listed company and the “golden handshake” provisions of the Corporations Act were among the defences raised by the employer.

    Intellectual Property

    • Assisted an Indigenous corporation in negotiations with a private partner/funder in relation to the protection of IP rights.
    • Represented Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft in Federal Court proceedings seeking damages from the seller of copied DVD's for breach of trade mark.
    • Acted for an international company seeking to register a trademark in Australia in responding to an objection raised to the registration of their mark.
    • Acted for a company alleged to have infringed copyright through one of its employee installing non-licensed software on business computers including investigation of the allegations, identification of licences and conducting negotiations with the representative of the copy right owners.
    • Acted for a company defending allegations that one of the owners had taken the company’s name from his time with a previous employer including defending a threatened application for pre-action discovery.
    • Acted for an electricity utility in a dispute with a contractor which had supplied the DCS used by the power station. The contractor designed and installed the DCS but had limited my client’s ability to make what was considered to be operational changes to the way the DCS was running the power station.
    • Acted for a technology support company in a dispute with its client. This matter involved agreements that had been assigned to my client but where due to the nature of the assignments there was significant uncertainty regarding the terms of the contract between the parties.
    • Acted for a listed company in negotiations for renewal of a licence agreement with a their business operations software provider where the proposed increase in licence fees resulted in very significant additional costs for the business and more onerous terms in circumstances where it was unclear whether our client had a right to continue under the terms of its existing licence agreement which capped the rise in licence fees.

    Coronial Inquests and Disciplinary Tribunals

    • Represented a pharmaceutical company at a Coronial Inquest into the death of an adolescent.
    • Acted for the owners of licensed premises in Fitzroy Crossing in a four-week coronial inquest into the suicides of a number of Aboriginal people. This inquest was very broad ranging and explored the actions of my client and the impact of alcohol on the community of Fitzroy Crossing.
    • Acted for the Legal Practice Board and Legal Practitioners Complaints Committee in a number of matters. These included disciplinary proceedings against practitioners and actions against non-practitioners involved in providing legal advice.
    • Acted for a veterinary surgeon in a disciplinary hearing before the Veterinary Surgeons Board where the vet was involved in the death of a horse.
    • Acted for a registered builder before the Builders Registration Board.

    Prosecution Related Matters

    • Acted for the developer of a major shopping centre which was being prosecuted by the local authority for allowing tenancies of the shopping centre to be occupied without a certificate of classification.
    • Acted as counsel in the defence of the prosecution of a Port Authority for causing pollution during the loading of lead carbonate. This was a lead role including appearing at all court hearings including the sentencing hearings on behalf of the Port.
    • Acted for an employer whose employee had been charged for a pollution related offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) in providing advice and assistance on possible defences to the charge and impact of the charges on the employer.
    • Acted for the purchaser of a drilling business where the previous owners of the business had, prior to the sale, engaged in conduct which was investigated by the Department of Environment and Conservation. I acted for the company in the defence of the prosecution commenced by the DEC.
    • Acted for the developer of a large parcel of land south of Perth. The developer had subdivided the hand and had proceeded to construct a number of homes. Due to an error by our client more than 100 homes had been constructed without building licenses and our client was prosecuted by the local government.

    Consumer and Competition Law

    • Acted for a multinational company in providing advice regarding the potential linking of a fatality to its product, notification and liaising with the ACCC and assisting with the planning and monitoring of the recall program.
    • Provided detailed advice to member of a tender consortium who was supplier of road work materials and who held substantial market power on a refusal to quote a competing tenderer.
    • Provided advice on a party affected by an application for authorisation of a collective bargaining arrangement.
    • Acted for a party to an application for declaration of a private railway line a service under the Trade Practices Act (Cth) 1974 (TPA)
    • Represented parties lodging a notification for immunity for conduct amounting to exclusive detailing (third line forcing).
    • Provided detailed advice to a mining company on the TPA issues arising from its proposal to divest itself of certain mining tenements and requiring purchasers to enter a supply agreement with the company. This advice included a detailed analysis of the relevant markets and assessment of various types of exclusive dealings.
    • Acted for a multinational company regarding a proposal to supply a competitor with services required to produce competitive products.
    • Provided advice to electricity utility on issues of access, exclusive dealing and misuse of market power.
    • Provided advice to an individual being prosecuted by the Australian Consumer Competition Commission for being knowingly concerned with breaches of the TPA by a company, the individual was a director.
    • Acted for a multinational company with respect to a significant claim for damages based upon section 52 of the TPA arising from the redevelopment of a Port.
    • Provided advice and representation to the purchaser of a luxury motor vehicle based upon misleading and deceptive conduct. My client was successful. The matter was appealed unsuccessfully to the Full Court of the Federal Court.
    • Provided advice and representation in proceedings involving the sale of businesses or property based upon misleading and deceptive conduct.
    • Acted for a car manufacturer in the review and clearance of proposed advertisements.
    • Acted in separate matters for large insurance companies in actions based upon comparative advertising which resulted in both advertisements being substantially amended.

    Education

    • The University of Western Australia, B.A., 2004
    • The University of Western Australia, LL.B., 1998

    Admissions

    • Western Australia, 2002
    • Recommended in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019 in dispute resolution, and restructuring and insolvency, Australia
    • Recommended in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018 in dispute resolution, Australia
    • Recommended in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017 in dispute resolution, Australia

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