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About Tom

I am an experienced barrister. I was admitted as a solicitor of England and Wales, and Hong Kong, in 1986 and as a solicitor in New South Wales in 1992. Before coming to the bar I was a partner in a boutique construction law firm, and before that a Senior Associate at what was then Allen, Allen & Hemsley. I have practiced as a barrister since admission to the NSW bar in 1998.

I wrote the first detailed commentary on the 1989 Home Building Act, the ‘Annotated Home Building Act’ and I am a participating author of ‘Understanding Construction Law’.

Over the years I have presented many papers, primarily on building and strata matters, a selection of which are to be found below.

When not working I play squash regularly, the trumpet inexpertly, and am a member of the Davidson Rural Fire Service. I am an avid reader.

My expertise

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I am accomplished at dealing with matters involving detailed technical content. I have particular experience in leading expert evidence and cross-examining expert witnesses.

My practice encompasses a wide variety of areas including commercial and property disputes and administrative law. However I am best known for my expertise in resolving disputes arising in the construction and engineering industries and for my familiarity with strata law and disputes in that context.

Why I practice


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What I enjoy

I think that experience has taught me how to get on top of the facts of a case quickly, identify the real issues, and advise as to the best means of resolving disputes.

I find pleasure in the challenge of learning about the industries and areas of expertise that arise in the course of preparing for cases .

It is rewarding to participate in the resolution of disputes either by negotiation, or, if necessary, by taking matters to hearing.

My notable cases

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Some cases in which I have appeared

  • Parr v The University of New England [1999] NSWADT 46 (2 July 1999)
  • Westfield v Fair Trading Tribunal [2001] NSWSC 267 (15 March 2001)
  • Ab and Ma Chick (Vic) Pty Ltd (In Liq) v 526 Olive Street Pty Ltd [2001] NSWSC 575 (9 July 2001)
  • Barclay Homes (Australia) Pty Ltd v Fair Trading Tribunal and Anor [2001] NSWSC 711 (22 August 2001)
  • Isak Constructions v Faress [2003] NSWSC 784 (27 August 2003)
  • Merheb v Hilal and Anor [2004] NSWSC 425 (24 May 2004)
  • Holmwood Holdings Pty Ltd v Halkat Electrical Contractors Pty Ltd and Anor [2005] NSWSC 1129 (8 November 2005)
  • Zavodnyik & v Alex Constructions Pty Ltd [2005] NSWCA 438 (9 December 2005)
  • Allied Express Transport Pty Ltd v Bax Global (Aust) Pty Ltd (No 2) [2006] NSWSC 1180 (13 November 2006)
  • Mesaros v A V Jennings Properties Ltd (Home Building) [2008] NSWCTTT 846 (12 February 2008)
  • Kittu Randhawa -v- Monica Benavides Serrato [2009] NSWSC 170 (20 February 2009)
  • The Owners Strata Plan v Brookfield Multiplex Limited [2010] NSWSC 360 (23 April 2010)
  • Baron Corporation Pty Ltd v Owners of Strata Plan 69567 [2013] NSWCA 238 (29 July 2013)
  • Boden v Gleeson [2013] NSWCA 447 (11 December 2013)
  • Cantwell v Beitzel and ors [2014] NSWSC 242 (21 March 2014)
  • The Owners – Strata Plan SP 73014 v Bowcon Pty Ltd [2015] NSWSC 351 (30 March 2015)
  • The Owners – Strata Plan No. 69743 v TRT Constructions Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 375 (4 April 2016)
  • The Owners – Strata Plan 65111 v Meriton Apartments Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 650 (20 May 2016)
  • The Owners – Strata Plan 65111 v Meriton Apartments Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 909 (1 July 2016)
  • Wesiak v D&R Constructions (Aust) Pty Ltd [2016] NSWCA 353 (15 December 2016)
  • The Owners, Strata Plan 66375 v Suncorp Metway and Others [2016] NSWSC 549 (29 April 2016); [2017] NSWSC 739 (9 June 2017)
  • Carr v Miller Supreme Court 2014/00165881
  • Minister for Immigration and Border Protection v Maharjan [2018] HCATrans 95
  • The Owners, Strata Plan 81185 v Mouwad Constructions Pty Ltd Supreme Court 2016/00198563

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Building, engineering and construction

I have experience in dealing with all aspects of disputes arising in the fields of building, construction and engineering.

Strata and Property Law

Claims by lot owners and owners corporations arising out of defective works or failure to repair and maintain common property, disputes arising between lot owners and between neighbouring owners corporations, and disputes concerning the governance of strata properties are all matters with which I have experience.

I am one of the relatively small number of barristers with experience of compulsory purchase disputes under Part 10 of the Strata Schemes Development Act.


I have conducted many disputes both for and against insurance companies, in particular arising from pre-purchase inspections, claims arising from defective workmanship, and indemnity claims against builders.

Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation

I have considerable experience of conducting commercial arbitrations.

I have been involved in many mediations and negotiated settlements. From time to time I am asked to act as a mediator.

Commercial Litigation

Tom is familiar with a variety of commercial claims including claims for nuisance, retail lease disputes, franchise disputes, Sale of Goods disputes, Trade Practices disputes, and disputes involving the exercise of fiduciary obligations in a wide variety of industries including transport, property and property development.

Security of Payment

Tom has detailed knowledge of the Building and Construction Security of Payment Act and has conducted many cases involving this legislation.

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November 19, 2019

New Tribunal decision: external cladding and compliance with statutory warranties, codes and fitness for purpose

The Owners, Strata Plan 92888 v Taylor Construction Group Pty Ltd and Frasers Putney Limited NSWCAT The Owners sought an order that the cladding to their building be replaced because…
October 29, 2019

Brewarrina Shire Council v Beckhaus Civil Pty Ltd & 1 Or [2005] NSWCA 248 and the theory of Temporary Disconformity

Summary The decision of the Court of Appeal in Brewarrina Shire Council v Beckhaus Civil Pty Ltd & 1 Or NSWCA 248 should not be taken to be authority for…
October 15, 2019

Mann v Paterson Constructions Pty Ltd [2019] HCA 32

Mann v Paterson Constructions Pty Ltd HCA 32   Summary A builder who accepts the repudiation of a building contract is no longer able to elect to set aside the…
July 16, 2019

Owners Corporations, defects and legislative reform

These are my suggestions for legislative reform. First, either revoke the home warranty insurance exemption for high rise residential unit developments  or make home warranty insurance voluntary. If it is…
June 25, 2019

Expert Determinations: Lainson v Duffy Kennedy

The idea of an expert determination is that, instead of becoming embroiled in litigation, parties can have their disputes swiftly, relatively cheaply, and finally resolved. Finality is generally regarded as…
May 13, 2019

Suspension of building work

It is not an uncommon occurrence. In the course of a building contract the builder presents a claim for payment, the owner disputes that claim refuses to pay it, in…

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Tom practices from Queens Square Chambers, which is next to the Supreme Court, at 235 Macquarie Street. His telephone number is (02) 9221 4533 and his email is tdavie@qsc.com.au.