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Greg Laughton SC
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With over 30 years at the Bar, Greg has considerable experience acting for, and advising, clients globally, in complex cross-border maritime commercial, building and construction, professional negligence and insurance-related disputes. Greg has appeared in disputes concerning jurisdiction and cross-border legal issues in maritime and construction cases, insolvency, sale of goods and general commercial disputes.

His principal areas of practice are:

  • Appeals
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Building & Construction
  • Commercial
  • International Commercial & Maritime
  • Public & Product Liability
  • Professional Negligence
  • Insurance Law

Court Advocacy

He has 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. He has also conducted litigation in all States of Australia.

ADR

Complementing his practice, Greg has a strong interest in alternative dispute resolution, and in particular, international commercial arbitration. He has appeared in local and overseas jurisdictions, including Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Dubai and Frankfurt, which gives him a true global perspective.

Arbitrator

He is a Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a BarADR approved arbitrator by the Australian National Arbitrator Accreditation Standards.

Greg was recently awarded the Australian Arbitration Barrister of the Year and Arbitration and Dispute Resolution – Barrister of the Year – UK in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.

Mediator

He is an accredited Mediator under the Australian National Mediator Accreditation Standards and a court-appointed Mediator by the Supreme and District Courts of New South Wales.

He is a registered Mediator with the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) and a member of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).

He has experience appearing in mediations in Sydney, Frankfurt, London, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Insurance

He has provided complex advice to multi-national insurers as well as insureds, and has 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 Greg has acted encompasses construction (including professional negligence of engineers, architects and quantity surveyors), maritime (including cargo), infrastructure (including energy), product liability and trade credit risk.

 

Commercial Arbitration

Greg has been involved in various international commercial and maritime arbitrations in Hong Kong, Dubai, Germany, London and Australia.

His recent work includes:

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 contactor and a sub-contractor about the value and quality of work performed in a major construction dispute.

In Dubai

  • A CEO in a wrongful dismissal claim by his employer.

In Germany

  • 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.

In London

  • 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.

In Australia

  • Two telecommunications companies about the terms of a Supply Agreement 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.

Commercial Litigation

International commercial litigation is the foundation of Greg’s practice.   He has advised and appeared in disputes concerning jurisdiction and cross-border legal issues and in maritime and construction cases, insolvency (see Insolvency tab), sale of goods and general commercial disputes. He has also advised and appeared in disputes concerning charter parties; cargo and general shipping disputes.

Greg has appeared in numerous arbitrations and mediations in commercial, building and construction, maritime and professional negligence matters (see separate Commercial Arbitration tab).

He has also acted as mediator and arbitrator in numerous matters, including commercial, construction, professional negligence and personal injury (see his separate Mediator and Arbitrator profiles).

Recent cases

  • Hampton & Farley [2013] 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.
  • Chandos Development Pty Limited v Mulkearns & Anor [2008] 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.
  • Coshott v Principal Strategic Options Pty Limited [2004] FCAFC 50 (Full Court of the Australian Federal Court): dealt with the principles of damages and causation in relation to a wrongly obtained injunction
  • 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.

Professional Liability Construction Professionals

Greg handles a wide variety of professional negligence claims, particularly in relation to:

  • Engineers – civil; electrical; mechanical;
  • Architects;
  • Quantity surveyors;
  • Building surveyors; and
  • Payment managers.

In 2015 Greg was awarded the Australian Arbitration Barrister of the Year in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards and in 2018 was selected by his peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Australia for his work in Product Liability.

In 2018 he was awarded – Barrister of the Year – UK in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.

Construction Litigation

Greg has 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

His expertise covers disputes involving:

  • Engineering;
  • Design;
  • Defective workmanship;
  • Breach of contract and statutory warranty;
  • Delay and liquidated damages;
  • Security of payment.

He has also handles professional negligence claims involving construction professionals and insurance coverage disputes in the construction field (see his Professional Liability and Insurance tabs).

  • Erect Safe Scaffolding (Australia) Pty Limited v Sutton [2008] 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.

Corporate Insolvency

Greg’s extensive commercial litigation experience regularly involves him in insolvency issues, largely in the corporate arena. For example:

  • Bestcare Foods Ltd (subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement) [2013] 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 that the Administrators’ remuneration can be reviewed by a Court.
  • Carbone v Calabria Community Club Pty Ltd [2013] 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.

Construction Insurance

Greg’s construction work regularly involves in coverage disputes with insurers and re-insurers of risks associated with the construction and infrastructure projects, and quantum claims for:

  • Builders/construction;
  • Design;
  • Landlord;
  • Underground services locator; and
  • Business interruption.
  • Greg has advised the insured on coverage, indemnity and subrogation issues on a world-wide trade credit policy associated with the collapse of a major Australian electrical retailer.
  • He has also advised an insurer of the engineers on indemnity, liability and quantum issues on the failure of part of an infrastructure project.
  • Greg is 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.
  • He has also acted as mediator in numerous professional negligence cases including lawyers, doctors and engineers in which coverage, indemnity and quantum are in issue.

Contentious Probate & Inheritance Act Claims

Greg’s international practice often involves him in matters involving cross-border estate disputes, including property; equities; and tracing cash and other assets.

Construction Professionals

Greg handles a wide variety of professional negligence claims, particularly in relation to:

  • Engineers – civil; electrical; mechanical;
  • Architects;
  • Quantity surveyors;
  • Building surveyors; and
  • Payment managers.

International

With chambers in Sydney and London and possessing specialised knowledge and expertise in commercial, maritime and building and construction disputes, Greg has appeared in local and overseas jurisdictions, including Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Dubai and Frankfurt, with respect to commercial arbitrations and mediations as counsel, arbitrator and mediator, affording him a true global perspective.

Greg was recently awarded the Australian Arbitration Barrister of the Year and Arbitration and Dispute Resolution – Barrister of the Year – UK in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards.

Greg is an experienced mediator with considerable experience including internationally.

Directory recommendations

Recognition for work in Product Liability Litigation “The Best Lawyers in Australia” Journal

Appointments

  • Admitted to the Bar of England and Wales – 2015
  • Appointed Senior Counsel (and entitled to practise in all Australian jurisdictions) – 2003
  • Admitted to the Bar of New South Wales – 1982

Professional qualifications

  • Master of Laws (International Business and Economic Law): University of New South Wales – 2008
  • Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration: University of New South Wales – 2007
  • Professional Certificate in Arbitration: University of Adelaide – 2006
  • Diploma of Law: Legal Practitioners Admission Board – University of Sydney – 1982

Professional memberships & appointments

  • Chairman and Head of Chambers – Thirteen Wentworth Selborne Chambers, Sydney
  • Consultant to Hardwicke Chambers – London
  • Fellow – Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)
  • BarADR Approved Arbitrator – New South Wales Bar Association
  • Member – Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Graded Arbitrator – Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia
  • Accredited Mediator – Australian National Mediator Accreditation Standards
  • Registered Mediator – Civil Mediation Council (CMC) (UK)
  • Court-Appointed Mediator – Supreme and District Courts of New South Wales
  • Member – Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)

Speaking engagements & articles/practice notes

  • Shareholders Rights – seminar conducted for New South Wales solicitor
  • Expert Evidence – seminar conducted for New South Wales solicitors
  • Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses – seminar conducted for New South Wales solicitors

Academia

  • 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
  • Teacher – Advocacy – Australian Centre for Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)

Qualifications

  • Admitted to the Bar of England and Wales – 2015
  • Appointed Senior Counsel (and entitled to practise in all Australian jurisdictions) – 2003
  • Admitted to the Bar of New South Wales – 1982
  • Master of Laws (International Business and Economic Law): University of New South Wales – 2008
  • Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration: University of New South Wales – 2007
  • Professional Certificate in Arbitration: University of Adelaide – 2006
  • Diploma of Law: Legal Practitioners Admission Board – University of Sydney – 1982
  • Chairman and Head of Chambers – Thirteen Wentworth Selborne Chambers, Sydney
  • Consultant to Hardwicke Chambers – London
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