Professional practice

Widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading silks with a “world class” practice (Chambers & Partners 2017) in international and domestic commercial law, Shane practices from Essex Court Chambers (London), Level Twenty Seven Chambers (Brisbane) and 5th Floor Selborne Chambers (Sydney).

With experience that covers a wide range of commercial litigation, arbitration, regulatory investigations and pricing reviews, and various Commissions, Shane is particularly familiar with heavy and complex cases, often involving coordination of litigation in other jurisdictions and working with large teams of lawyers. Instructed by a diverse range of Australian and international clients, ranging from multi-nationals and Australian public companies to government entities, he is turned to for his “ability to narrow a case down to what actually matters” as well as being “calm under pressure, practical and easy to work with and finds a way to deliver the client an outcome” (Chambers & Partners 2020).

Shane is consistently recognised as a leading QC by leading legal directories such as Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers®, Chambers & Partners (Asia Pacific and Global), Doyle’s Guide and Who’s Who Legal in the fields of Arbitration, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Competition, Construction & Infrastructure, Commercial Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Insolvency/Restructuring. The details of which are provided below.

 

Examples of notable cases

Parbery v QNI Metals Pty Ltd [2019] QSC 207

Parbery (Liquidator), in the matter of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd (in liquidation) [2019] FCA 1219

Sunland Group Limited & Anor v Gold Coast City Council [2019] QPEC 14

Civil Mining & Construction Pty Ltd v Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal Pty Limited; Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal Pty Limited v Civil Mining & Construction Pty Ltd [2019] QCA 12

Aurizon Network Pty Ltd v Queensland Competition Authority & Ors [2018] QSC 246

Parbery & Ors v QNI Metals Pty Ltd & Ors [2018] QSC 213

Railway Royal Commission of Inquiry

Parbery v QNI Metals Pty Ltd & Ors [2018] 358 ALR 88; [2018] 127 ACSR 582; [2018] QSC 107

Appointments

2014–2015 President, Bar Association of Queensland

2002–2008, 2011–Nov 2015 Member of the Bar Council in Queensland

2013–2014 Vice President, Bar Association of Queensland

1996–2014 Chairman, Bar Association Commercial Law Committee

Recommendations

Nominated as a leading arbitration barrister in Australia by Who’s Who LegalArbitration 

  • 2018 “a widely recognised name in the Australian market where he stands out for his expert handling of complex construction and infrastructure-related disputes“.
  • 2017: listed as one of only four leading arbitration barristers in Australia.

Recommended for Dispute Resolution in Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific:

  • 2020 “overpowering intellect“, “calm under pressure, practical and easy to work with and finds a way to deliver the client an outcome” and “ability to narrow a case down to what actually matters“.
  • 2019 “the undisputed leader of the Queensland Bar” and “powerful and persuasive arguments which command the attention and respect of a tribunal” and “very strong intellect, quick grasp of issues and readiness to make a call and not sit on the fence“.
  • 2018 “quite clearly head and shoulders above everyone else at the Queensland Bar“.
  • 2017 “the clear leader of the Queensland Bar” and “confidence that he will do an exceptional job every time“.
  • 2016 “pre-eminent in the Brisbane market – the first name on every solicitor’s lips“.
  • 2015 “extraordinary intellect, outstanding knowledge of the law and extraordinary work ethic” and “extremely strong in cases involving complex economic issues”.

Recommended (Band 1) for Construction & Infrastructure in Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific:

  • 2020 “He’s very persuasive, he exercises very good judgement, he’s got real gravitas and he’s very efficient with his use of time” and “the go-to silk in Brisbane for bet-the-company litigation, or where highly proficient technical advice is required“.
  • 2019 “the most pre-eminent QC in Queensland and one of the best silks in Australia” and “he’s at the top of his game“.
  • 2018 “one of the most talented barristers in the country” and “one of the best advocates in the Australian market“.
  • 2017 “a world-class commercial practice” and “his advocacy is widely regarded as the best in the country, the best in Queensland for sure and, clearly, he has a fine legal brain and is good on strategy – a go-to for extremely hard or complex matters”.

Recommended (Band 1) for Restructuring/Insolvency in Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific:

  • 2020 “head and shoulders above everyone else in the insolvency space” and “his quality of client service is rare to see in barristers at his level“.
  • 2019 “if there is a major insolvency matter which requires counsel, Shane is always the first choice” and “he has no peer”and “truly a colossus in the area“.
  • 2018 “considered to be a leader of the Queensland Bar” and “he stands alone as the top one in Queensland“.
  • 2017 “a brilliant and exceptional advocate who has a great sense of authority and is very knowledgeable”.

Recommended for Dispute Resolution in Chambers & Partners Global:

  • 2020 “leader of the Queensland Bar“.
  • 2019 “very strong intellect, quick grasp of issues and readiness to make a call and not sit on the fence“.
  • 2018 “very skilled in presentation and can cut to the chase in the way that judges like“.
  • 2017 “a go-to for extremely hard or complex matters“.
  • 2016 “formidable advocate“.
  • 2015 “very experienced in a broad range of areas, particularly large commercial disputes”.
  • 2014 “pre-eminent senior counsel”.

Recommended for Arbitration in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2019 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2018 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2017 (Australia) – Leading

Recommended for Commercial Litigation & Disputes in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2018 & 2019 (Queensland) – Market Leader
  • 2017 & 2019 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2017 (Queensland) – Market Leader
  • 2016 (Queensland) – Market Leader
  • 2015 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2015 (Australia) – Preeminent

Recommended for Competition in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2019 (Australia) – Recommended

Recommended for Construction & Infrastructure in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2020 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2019 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2018 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2018 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2017 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2017 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2016 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2015 (Queensland) “the unquestioned first choice”
  • 2015 (Australia) – Preeminent
  • 2014 (Queensland)

Recommended for Insolvency & Reconstruction in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2019 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2018 (Queensland) – Preeminent
  • 2017 & 2019 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2017 (Queensland) – Market Leader
  • 2016 (Australia) – Leading
  • 2016 (Queensland) – Market Leader
  • 2015 (Queensland) – Market Leader
  • 2015 (Australia) – Preeminent

Recommended for Insurance in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2018 (Queensland) – Recommended
  • 2017 (Queensland) – Recommended
  • 2016 (Queensland) – Recommended

Recommended for IP & TMT in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2016 (Queensland)

Recommended for Planning & Environment in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2017 (Queensland) – Recommended

Recommended for Wills & Estates in Doyle’s Guide:

  • 2016 (Queensland)

Recommended in Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers since 2013.

  • 2020 (Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Law, Competition Law, Construction & Infrastructure, International Arbitration, Litigation and Oil & Gas)
  • 2019 (Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Law, Competition Law, Construction & Infrastructure, Litigation and Oil & Gas)
  • 2018 (Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Law, Competition Law, Construction & Infrastructure, Litigation and Oil & Gas)
  • 2017 (Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Law, Competition Law, Construction & Infrastructure, Litigation).
Arbitration & related court applications

Previous matters Shane has assisted on include hearings under domestic arbitration rules (including ACICA, CIArb, IAMA rules). His experience also includes appearing in international matters governed by ICC rules as well as ad hoc arbitrations and matters where the arbitral seat is outside Australia. His arbitration practice includes matters relating to public and private international issues, commodities, price setting for gas supplies, access to infrastructure, energy projects (in particular LNG pipelines and facilities, offshore oil and gas extraction) as well as other general contractual matters. Recent experience includes:

  • ­Acting as Counsel in emergency arbitrator procedures under SIAC Rules opposing injunctive relief;
  • Acting as Counsel in a lengthy arbitration under ICC Rules relating to contract dispute for LNG facility development;
  • Advising on a significant LCIA arbitration relating to an Offtake Agreement for coal delivery;
  • Appearing for an international engineering firm in a lengthy domestic arbitration relating to allegations of defective design;
  • Acting for the principal in a significant LCIA arbitration (AUD 915 m) concerning a contractual dispute arising out the construction of LNG infrastructure;
  • Acting as Counsel in an arbitration concerning variations and related issues over mechanical and electrical works for a AUD 1.5 bn tunnel project;
  • A leading Federal Court decision concerning the choice of law to apply where there is a dispute concerning whether a person is a party to an agreement containing a proper law clause and the interaction between ss 7 and 8 of the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth);
  • A challenge to set-aside an arbitral award on grounds that the Arbitrator’s mandate no longer subsisted and of denial of procedural fairness.
Commercial and Corporate Litigation

Shane has advised and appeared in key cases in all areas of general contract, banking, and corporate disputes including oppression proceedings, claims for director’s breach of duties and majority/minority shareholder disputes of all kinds. His experience includes many cases involving takeovers, schemes of arrangement and mergers of listed Australian and international companies. Cases of interest include:

  • Appearing for the Special Purpose Liquidators of Queensland Nickel, in high profile proceedings against Clive Palmer and various of his companies, including successfully obtaining freezing orders against them;
  • A leading appellate decision on loss of commercial opportunity, a contractual claim for damages stemming from the loss of an opportunity to acquire and develop land at a profit, in circumstances where the project was unlikely to have returned a profit;
  • A significant claim for an interest in various mining tenements and infrastructure arising from a sale and purchase deed;
  • Acting for BHP in a AUD 1 bn Land Court mining tenement compensation claim;
  • Class actions, with a particular emphasis on shareholders class actions;
  • Successfully defending a contract and misleading conduct claim made by the State against IBM arising out of the design and supply of systems for the Queensland Health Department.
Constitutional, Public & Commissions of Inquiry

In matters concerning the validity or otherwise of legislative and administrative acts, Shane advises and appears in the Federal and State Courts regarding constitutional issues at various levels. His expertise extends to Commissions of Inquiry, judicial review and regulatory cases which overlap his commercial law practice. Examples of his experience in this area includes:

  • Railway Royal Commission of Inquiry (2018). An inquiry arising from a multi-billion AUD contract to build new trains for Queensland Rail;
  • Queensland Health Payroll Commission of Inquiry (2013). An inquiry dealing with one of the largest ever IT and procurement disputes in Australia with allegations of losses in the order of AUD 1 bn;
  • Appearing for Queensland Competition Authority in a judicial review challenge in respect of a draft access undertaking on the basis that the then Chair of the Authority, Professor Roy Green, had been appointed as Chair of the Port of Newcastle, which gave rise to an apprehension of bias;
  • Acting for Justice Carmody in a series of cases involving the review of a decision by the Information Commissioner to grant access (under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld)) to documents held by the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Energy & Resources, Commodities, and Construction & Infrastructure

Commensurate with his in-depth experience in the field, Shane advises and appears in a raft of cases dealing with issues of energy and commodities supply, for example, gas price fixing, coal mines ownership and management, electricity and concrete supply and regulation, and important cases dealing with freight and passenger transport infrastructure. Some examples of such matters include:

  • Acting in an ongoing matter for a major Canadian-based entity, Trans-Alta, in WA Supreme Court proceedings concerning an engineering, procurement, construction and power purchase agreement at a major power station in the Pilbara region of WA;
  • Proceedings in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in relation to claims made under the contract in relation to delays, resequencing, prolongation, acceleration and variations for engineering and design work for a loading facility and Tug Berths at the Chevron Wheatstone LNG;
  • A AUD 150 m claim from a joint venture which constructed a 2 km jetty, wharf and ship loader in Gladstone Plant;
  • Acted in relation to a dispute under a contract for the development of an LNG facility in Western Australia;
  • Acting for Arup in a substantial contract dispute arising out of the construction of the Northern Apron Extension at Brisbane Airport;
  • Acting in WA Supreme Court proceedings against the operator of Perth Airport following the construction of a new domestic pier and an expansion of international departures;
  • Acting for GLNG in opposing an interlocutory injunction restraining them from calling on performance securities given by Sapiem under a contract to build gas transmission pipelines.
Insurance, Tort and Professional Negligence

Shane’s experience includes large-scale commercial insurance or reinsurance disputes (particularly coverage and indemnity disputes), professional liability (principally solicitors, engineers, valuers, and accountants) as well as commercial product liability disputes. He advises and appears for insurers and the insured in complex cases, including in relation to directors and officers liability, construction risk, flood, fire and accident and professional indemnity. The diverse spread of matters he has worked on include:

  • Appearing in the High Court for Robinson Helicopter Incorporated, the United States’ manufacturer of the R22 helicopter, in a product liability and duty of care case that followed the crash of a Robinson R22 helicopter which resulted in the death of the pilot and in the first respondent suffering serious injuries;
  • Acting for solicitors in Supreme Court proceedings defending allegations of negligence arising from the conduct of a retainer relating to a deceased estate;
  • A significant claim relating to Aqueous Film Forming Foam that was released at a Brisbane Aircraft Hangar;
  • A leading Court of Appeal decision that concerned whether or not the trial judge was correct that the employer did not breach their duty of care to the appellant employee;
  • A high profile appeal, in which a patient was awarded AUD 6.7 m in damages (ranking as one of the largest in the state’s history), concerning the liability of a general practitioner for failing to refer a patient.
Taxation and Banking Litigation

Shane’s practice includes advising and appearing both for individuals, companies and the Australian Commissioner of Taxation in a range of cases concerning income, stamp duties, GST and indirect taxation matters. Examples include:

  • The leading High Court decision as to whether receivers and liquidators must withhold tax in the absence of assessment;
  • A Federal Court appeal concerning booking and arranging services provided by Australian company at the request of overseas travel agents for the benefit of their clients being overseas tourists coming to Australia.
Career

2001 Call to the Bar of England & Wales

1995 Senior Counsel, Queensland

1987 Barrister, Queensland

1985 Clayton Utz Solicitors

1982 Partner, Power & Power Solicitors, Brisbane

Education

1985 BCL, Magdalen College, Oxford University

1980 LLB (First Class Honours), University of Queensland

1977 BEcon, University of Queensland

Awards

 

2017 Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers 2017 Brisbane Competition Law Lawyer of the Year.

2016 Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers 2015-2016 Brisbane ‘Bet-the-Company’ Lawyer of the Year.

2014–2015 Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers 2014-2015 Brisbane Competition Law Lawyer of the Year.

1985 Dr Morris Award (Oxford University).

1984 British Council Commonwealth Scholarship.

1981 University of Queensland Medal (Law).

 

Publications

 

Estoppels in a Commercial Setting
October 2016, Contract

Emerging Trends in Arbitration in Europe and Lessons for Arbitration in Australia
August 2014, Arbitration, International

Aspects of the Application of the Civil Liability
July 2014, Building & Construction

Formation and Interpretation of Contracts
November 2012, Contract

Contractual Damages and Penalties
November 2012, Contract