Donald E Charrett


Barrister | Arbitrator

Admitted:
5 Mar 2001
Bar:
4 Nov 2004
Location:
Room 0403, Owen Dixon Chambers East,
205 William Street, Melbourne, 3000
Call Foley’s on 03 9225 7777 to discuss availability
PROFILE

Donald Charrett is a Barrister, Arbitrator, Mediator and Dispute Board Member practising in building and engineering disputes, arbitration/mediation/expert determination, construction law, commercial law, contract law and professional negligence. He was named as Best Construction Law Practitioner, Australia - 2016 by Business Worldwide magazine and is a Who's Who Legal Thought Leader - Construction 2019.

Before signing the Victorian bar roll, Donald was a solicitor in the construction group at Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

His prior experience as a consulting engineer for over 20 years included 12 years as a director of a highly respected consulting practice. In addition to managing engineering projects, he had management roles in contract negotiation and administration, professional indemnity insurance, international joint ventures, overseas projects, and corporate restructuring. He has acted as an expert witness because of his specialised knowledge of structural engineering. Since admission to the Supreme Court of Victoria, Donald has been engaged as a solicitor and barrister in a range of complex construction disputes including Supreme and County Court litigation, mediation, expert assisted determination and arbitration (including stop clock arbitration), as well as domestic building disputes in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. These disputes involved contractual issues, professional negligence, defects, variations, time and programming issues, quantum of claims, security of payment and professional indemnity and contract works insurance.

Donald has been engaged as an arbitrator, mediator, as a facilitator of joint experts’ conferences, as expert in contractual disputes and a member/Chair of one and three person Dispute Boards. He also has experience in the use of computer database technology for managing large volumes of court documents and preparations for a full electronic trial.

Donald has a Master of Construction Law, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a qualified mediator and a member of the FIDIC President's List of Adjudicators. He has published a number of papers in legal and engineering journals and presented papers at conferences and seminars. His legal publications include articles on resolution of construction disputes, economic duressFIDIC contracts, Dispute Boards, expert evidence, lay evidencethe avoidance of disputes, contractual lessons from past projects, design and construct contracts, quantum meruit, solidary liability, professional indemnity insurance and reinsurance. He is a joint author of the books  "The Application of Contracts in Developing Oil and Gas Projects" and "Practical Guide to Engineering and Construction Contracts".

Download Donald Charrett's CV.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation. The information referred to above has been supplied by the barrister concerned. Neither Victorian Bar Inc nor the barrister's clerk have independently verified the accuracy or completeness of the information and neither accepts any responsibility in that regard.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Commercial Law
Common Law
EXTENDED BIOGRAPHY

Academic Qualifications

BE (Hons); LLB (Hons); MConst Law; PhD; Prof. Cert. in Arb; Grad Dip LPSE; Dip Company Director’s Course, Diploma in International Arbitration.

Professional Affiliations

Memberof Victorian Bar; Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators; Member FIDIC President’s List of Adjudicators; Accredited FIDIC Trainer; Member FIDIC Contracts Committee Task Group 15 (Principal Drafter); Member FIDIC Body of Adjudicators; Member Dispute Resolution Board Australasia Inc; Fellow Institution of Engineers Australia; Founding Member Society of Construction Law Australia.

Named as Best Construction Law Practitioner, Australia 2016 by Business Worldwide magazine.

Professional Experience

2004 – Present: Victorian Bar

Barrister, Arbitrator and Mediator practising in building and engineering disputes, arbitration/mediation, construction law, commercial law, contract law, insurance law and professional negligence.  Briefs have included:

  • Sole Arbitrator of disputes on a construction project in PNG (2016 – 2018).
  • Appointed by Supreme Court of Victoria as Special Referee on contractual disputes over solar power (2017).
  • Facilitation of Experts' Conferences of electrical engineers and architects arising from a switchboard fire (2017).
  • Appointed by Supreme Court of Victoria as Special Referee on a contractual dispute over recycled glass (2016 – 2018). 
  • Expert determination of disputes on a road construction project (2016).
  • One-person Dispute Avoidance Board on design and construct contract for a major highway bridge in NSW (2016 – ).
  • One-person Dispute Board appointed under FIDIC MDB Contract to adjudicate on a number of disputes on a PNG bridge construction project (2015 – 2016).
  • Facilitation of Experts’ Conferences on technical and quantum disputes arising from a mineral processing facility in WA (2015).
  • Chair of Dispute Avoidance Board appointed to a design and construct contract for a major highway upgrade in NSW (2013 - 2018).
  • Expert Determination of a dispute over defects in a water treatment plant in Victoria (2014).
  • Facilitation of Experts’ Conference on disputes over defects in a rural highway in a high rainfall area in WA (2014).
  • One-person Dispute Adjudication Board, appointed under FIDIC Silver Book to adjudicate on a number of disputes on an EPC project in Africa (2012 – 2013).
  • Member of Dispute Resolution Board on a train stabling project constructed for Transport for NSW (2012 – 2014).
  • Chair of Neutral Evaluation Panel to recommend resolution of disputes over time extension claims on a large resource project in West Australia (2011).
  • Advice on the application of FIDIC contracts to an infrastructure and technology project in the Phillipines (2011).
  • Counsel in a stop clock arbitration of a complex dispute on an oil and gas project in Victoria involving an offshore platform, onshore gas plant and pipelines, involving preparation of opinions, submissions and pleadings, briefing experts and interviewing lay witnesses and cross-examining witnesses (2005 – 2008). 
  • Appointment as Arbitrator, Mediator and Expert in various construction disputes (2005 - ).
  • Facilitation of an Experts’ Conference of international experts and preparation of Joint Experts’ Report for a three-party dispute involving material failure in a mineral processing plant in South Australia (2005).
  • Court and Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal appearances as counsel in a range of construction disputes involving payment, variations, defects, extensions of time and applications in connection with statutory provisions for security of payment (2004 - ).

Delivery of conference papers, seminars and training courses on EPC, FIDIC contracts, Dispute Boards et al in Indonesia, Korea, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Ireland, England, New Zealand and Australia.

2012- 2014: AMOG Pty Ltd Non-Executive Chairman           2010 – 2011: Non-Executive Director.

AMOGis a consulting engineering firm that provides a broad range of specialist services to the offshore oil and gas, mining, process and defence sectors, marine construction companies and government organisations in high technology niche areas, with particular expertise in structural engineering and expert witness work.  It has offices in Melbourne, Perth, Houston USA and Colombia.

2000 - 2004: Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Lawyers)

Solicitor in Construction Group, acting in Supreme Court litigation, mediation, expert determination and arbitration of construction disputes, including:

  • Litigation in design and construct tunnel project: large volume of discovered documents required use of computer data base technology and preparations for a full electronic trial.
  • Litigation on design and construct contract for construction of a road.
  • Dispute over payment for variations in a power station project.
  • Various contractual disputes on a major road infrastructure project arising from technical defects. 
  • Litigation on building projects including applications for security for costs and costs applications before the Taxing Master. 
  • Arbitration on hydroelectric power station: assisting engineering witnesses whose first language was not English.

1998 - 2000 - Charrett Consulting Pty Ltd

Expert witness in litigation on large light towers: preparation of reports on design process and review of structural design and construction issues.

1995 - 1998 - Hardcastle & Richards - A Division of Dames & Moore

Senior Principal, Commercial Manager: 

  • Contract review - vetting, negotiating and approving all non-standard commercial arrangements with particular emphasis on risk management. 
  • Responsibility for commercial aspects of joint ventures and overseas projects and insurance arrangements. 
  • Board member of HMA International, a joint venture of three Australian Consulting Engineers operating in Jakarta Indonesia.

1974 - 1995: Hardcastle & Richards Pty Ltd - Consulting Engineers

Director: 1985 - 1995; Associate Director: 1980-1985; Executive Engineer: 1974 – 1980:

  • Structural design and design management of a variety of industrial and architectural projects, including buildings, bridges, industrial special structures and offshore structures. Significant projects included modular buildings for Antarctica, Northwest shelf supply base for Woodside, Loy Yang Power Station for SECV, guyed towers, specialist studies on bridge loading and offshore cranes, design of complex temporary works, investigation of structural failures. 
  • Management responsibilities included joint ventures on offshore oil & gas and minerals projects, international operations, corporate re-structuring, change of ownership, computer operations, and Professional Indemnity insurance.

1970 - 1974: Irwin Johnston & Partners Pty Ltd - Consulting Engineers

DesignEngineer; Senior Engineer: 

  • Structural design of steel and concrete buildings ranging up to large multi-storey projects. 
  • Engineer in charge of computer applications.

1967 - 1969: Monash University - Department of Civil Engineering

SeniorTeaching Fellow: 

  • Lecturing and tutoring undergraduate engineering students in theory of structures and stress analysis. 
  • PhD degree in structural engineering: Plastic Analysis and Optimal Design of Slabs, Plates and Frames.

 Publications

Books:

Author of: “The Application of Contracts in Engineering and Construction Projects” (2018, Routledge).

Joint author with Philip Loots: “Practical Guide to Engineering and Construction Contracts” (2009, CCH).

Editor of “Global Challenges, Shared Solutions” (2013, Society of Construction Law Australia).

Published papers:

  1. “The FIDIC Golden Principles” in Lukas Klee, “International Construction Law” (2nd ed, 2018) (to be published). 
  2. “FIDIC Golden Principles – Discouraging Inappropriate Amendments” (2018) 13.2 Construction Law International5.
  3. “Fit for Purpose – or Due Skill and Care?” (2018) 33 Building and Construction Law271.
  4. “Sydney Opera House- quality, quality, quality!” (2017) 12.3 Construction Law International37.
  5.  “Design life or service life: What is the difference?” [2017] 1 International Construction Law Review 16.
  6. “Reconsidering Procurement Criteria and Procedures for Major Infrastructure Projects; Why the Use of ‘Price’ as the Determining Factor in Construction Procurement Decisions is Wrong”. [2017] 1 International Construction Law Review70 (Joint author with Philip Loots).
  7.  “The common law of Australia and the influence of statutory law” in Lukas Klee, “International Construction Law” (1st ed, 2015)  24.
  8. “A common law of construction contracts – or vive la difference?” in Lukas Klee, “International Construction Law” (1st ed, 2015)  9
  9. “Statutory adjudication in Australia” in Lukas Klee, “International Construction Law” (1st ed, 2015) 258.
  10.  “Cost Effective Resolution of Construction Disputes” (2015) 9.33 International In-house Counsel Journal1.
  11. “The Commercial Value of Dispute Boards under FIDIC Contracts” (2015) 1.3 Turkish Commercial Law Review205.
  12. “The Rules for Expert Evidence in Australia” (2015) 163Australian Construction Law Newsletter24.
  13. “Construction Disputes Australia” (2015) 64-15 Lawyer Monthly52.
  14.  “Getting the most out of expert witnesses: Lessons from the Victorian Bushfires” (2015) 161 Australian Construction Law Newsletter 6.
  15.  “Challenges in achieving successful megaprojects” (2015) 10.2 Construction Law International18 (Joint author with Philip Loots).
  16.  “Getting the most out of expert witnesses: Lessons from the Victorian Bushfires” (2015) Television Education Network (audio).
  17.  “Being Held to Ransom or ‘Wielding the Whip or the Rod’” (2014) 31(2) International Construction Law Review211 (Joint author with Philip Loots).
  18.  “The Use of the UNIDROIT Principles in International Construction Contracts” (2013) 30(1) International Construction Law Review88.
  19. “The Art of the Forensic Engineer” (2013) Paper delivered at the Fifth Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, Capetown September 2013; Zingoni (ed), Research and Applications in Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation 2341.
  20. “The Duty of Care in Design – Can Engineers Rely on Codes of Practice?” (2013) Paper delivered at Third Society of Construction Law of Australia conference, Sydney August 2013; (2013) 152 Australian Construction Law News6 (joint author with Dr Andrew Potts).
  21. “WHS in Australia – designer’s obligations” (2013) 25(6) Australian Construction Law Bulletin101 (joint author with Cherie Holland).
  22. “The Canterbury Earthquakes – Lessons for Construction Lawyers” (2013) 8(2) Construction Law International36.
  23. “The “best” method of resolution of construction disputes – elusive or illusory?” (2013) 30(1) International Construction Law Review88.
  24. “WHS in Australia – the Current State of Play” (2013) 25(3) Australian Construction Law Bulletin46 (joint author with Cherie Holland). 
  25. “Dispute Boards and Dispute Resolution” (2013) 16(4) Inhouse Counsel 59; (2013) 25(3) Australian Construction Law Bulletin59.
  26. “The Canterbury Earthquakes – Lessons for Construction Lawyers” (2013) 25(1) Australian Construction Law Bulletin2. 
  27. “Expert Evidence in the Supreme Court of Victoria” (2012) 24(8) Australian Construction Law Bulletin118.
  28.  “The Importance of Standard Form Contracts” (2012) 24(7) Australian Construction Law Bulletin106.
  29.  “Managing Design Contracts” (2012) 15(10) Inhouse Counsel317.
  30. “Dispute Boards in Australia – the story so far” (2012) 15 Buildlaw10.
  31. “Contracts for Design Services” (2012) 15(9) Inhouse Counsel293 (Joint author with Dan Washington).
  32. “Expert reports as evidence in chief – a curate’s egg? (2012) 15(8) Inhouse Counsel266 (Joint author with Dr Andrew Potts).
  33.  “What corporate counsel need to know about engaging forensic engineers” (2012) 5(19) International In-house Counsel Journal 1 (Joint author with Dr Andrew Potts).
  34.  “Preparation of lay witness statements” (2012) 15(6) Inhouse Counsel243.
  35. “Construction Failures – Have We Learned the Lessons of History? (2012) 143 Australian Construction Law Newsletter 40.
  36. “Managing Design Risk” (2012) 142 Australian Construction Law Newsletter6.
  37.  “A common law of construction contracts – or vive la difference?” Commended entry in 2011 Brooking Prize competition run by Society of Construction Law Australia; (2012) 6(3) International Construction Law Review23.
  38. “Australia’s Consumer Protection Law – a Potent Weapon in Construction Law Disputes” (2011) 1 Construction Law International72.
  39. “Standard Form Contracting; the role for FIDIC Contracts Domestically and Internationally” (2011) 138 Australian Construction Law Newsletter(Joint author with Toby Shnookal).
  40.  “Statutory intervention into the common construction law of Australia – progress or regress?” (2011) 137 Australian Construction Law Newsletter6; (2012) Journal of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers11 (Joint author with Matthew Bell).
  41. “Australian legal guidelines for forensic engineering experts” (2010) 11(1) Australian Journal of Structural Engineering11 (Joint author with PJ Murphy, L Duthie and B Bielert).
  42. “Report on the DRBF 10th Annual International Conference Istanbul 14-16 May 2010 – Construction Disputes at the Crossroads” (2010) 7 Buildlaw73.
  43. “Dispute Boards and Construction Contracts” (2010) 132 Australian Construction Law Newsletter19; (2010) 7 Buildlaw 37.
  44. "Is Contractual Risk a Zero-sum Game in Construction Contracts (2010) 38 BDPS News12; Paper delivered at Society of Construction Law Australia Conference, Perth Australia June 2010.
  45. “The internationalisation of contracting: Australian contractors in Asia and the role for FIDIC contracts domestically and in Asia" (2010) Society of Construction Law Australia conference, Perth (joint author with Toby Shnookal).
  46. “The Engineer is Dead. Long Live the Engineer!” (2009) Society of Construction Law Hong Kong; (2010) 133 Australian Construction Law Newsletter20.
  47. "Adjudication and Dispute Boards - the next wave in ADR?" (2009) 35 BDPS News4; (2009) 3 Buildlaw16.
  48. "Challenges to an adjudicator’s decision with regard to timescales" (2009) April Asian Dispute Review52; (2009) 2 Buildlaw 16; (2009) September ADR Reporter 12.
  49. “Contractual lessons from construction failures: part two" (2009) 4(2) Construction Law International 19.
  50. “Contractual lessons from construction failures: part one" (2008) 3(4) Construction Law International15.
  51. “The Avoidance of Disputes by Contractors in Design and Construct Contracts” (2008) 25(4) International Construction Law Review27.
  52. “Avoiding structural disputes” (Paper presented at the Australasian Structural Engineering Conference, Melbourne, 27 June 2008); (2008) V5 No 1 Australian Journal of Civil Engineering25.
  53. “Lessons from Failures – WestGate Bridge” (2008) 30 BDPS News 4; (2008) 120 Australian Construction Law Newsletter28.
  54. “Lessons from Failures – Quebec Bridge” (2008) 119 Australian Construction Law Newsletter14.
  55. "Managing time, cost and quality - a tale of two buildings" (2007) 28 BDPS News10.
  56.  “State of Tasmania v Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd [No 3] [2004] TASSC 132” (2005) 102 Australian Construction Law Newsletter36.
  57. “Proportionate liability: uniform legislation in Australia?”  (2005) 19 BDPS News19.
  58. “Recent Statutory Interventions in Freedom of Contract” (2005) Paper delivered at Legalwise Seminar “Contract law: from agreement to dissolution” Melbourne 15 February 2005.
  59. “Reinsurance after HIH: Should more project managers consider it?” (2004) 24(3) Australian Project Manager16 (joint author with Peter Megens).
  60.  “A Tale of Two Bridges: Issues Arising from Design and Construct Contracts” (2004) 17 BDPS News28; (2004) 97 Australian Construction Law Newsletter28.
  61. "Recent statutory reforms to the principle of joint and several liability and effect on plaintiff's choice of defendant" (2003) 19 Building and Construction Law345.
  62. "Insured’s access to insolvent insurer’s reinsurance"(2003) 14 Insurance Law Journal221.
  63. "Professional Indemnity Insurance - Do third parties have an interest?"(2003) 14 Insurance Law Journal77.
  64. "Design and construct contracts and final design cost risk" (2003) 13 BDPS News 10; (2003) 91 Australian Construction Law Newsletter5.
  65. “Quantum Meruit Claims in Construction Law” (2002) 9 BDPS News6.
  66. “ABB Power Generation Ltd v Chapple [2001] WASCA 412”  (2002) 8 BDPS News19 (joint author with Kathy Bagot).

Author/joint author of five papers on engineering projects and ten papers on engineering science.

Legal Presentations

Presentation at conferences, seminars, workshops and training courses in Australia and internationally, including the following topics:

  • Expert evidence
  • Dispute Boards
  • FIDIC Contracts
  • EPC Contracts
  • Dispute avoidance and resolution
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Contractual dispute resolution
  • Dispute resolution alternatives for construction contracts
  • Managing claims: strategies and solutions
  • Avoiding structural disputes
  • The Engineer
  • Time, cost and quality challenges in construction contracts
  • Contractual risks
  • Project case studies
  • Stop clock arbitration
  • Design and construct contracts
  • Engineering quality failures
  • Australian Consumer Law
  • Adjudication in Singapore
  • Statutory intervention into freedom of contract.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation (Victoria

Profile1

Donald Charrett is a Barrister, Arbitrator, Mediator and Dispute Board Member practising in building and engineering disputes, arbitration/mediation/expert determination, construction law, commercial law, contract law and professional negligence. He was named as Best Construction Law Practitioner, Australia - 2016 by Business Worldwide magazine and is a Who's Who Legal Thought Leader - Construction 2019.

Before signing the Victorian bar roll, Donald was a solicitor in the construction group at Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

His prior experience as a consulting engineer for over 20 years included 12 years as a director of a highly respected consulting practice. In addition to managing engineering projects, he had management roles in contract negotiation and administration, professional indemnity insurance, international joint ventures, overseas projects, and corporate restructuring. He has acted as an expert witness because of his specialised knowledge of structural engineering. Since admission to the Supreme Court of Victoria, Donald has been engaged as a solicitor and barrister in a range of complex construction disputes including Supreme and County Court litigation, mediation, expert assisted determination and arbitration (including stop clock arbitration), as well as domestic building disputes in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. These disputes involved contractual issues, professional negligence, defects, variations, time and programming issues, quantum of claims, security of payment and professional indemnity and contract works insurance.

Donald has been engaged as an arbitrator, mediator, as a facilitator of joint experts’ conferences, as expert in contractual disputes and a member/Chair of one and three person Dispute Boards. He also has experience in the use of computer database technology for managing large volumes of court documents and preparations for a full electronic trial.

Donald has a Master of Construction Law, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a qualified mediator and a member of the FIDIC President's List of Adjudicators. He has published a number of papers in legal and engineering journals and presented papers at conferences and seminars. His legal publications include articles on resolution of construction disputes, economic duressFIDIC contracts, Dispute Boards, expert evidence, lay evidencethe avoidance of disputes, contractual lessons from past projects, design and construct contracts, quantum meruit, solidary liability, professional indemnity insurance and reinsurance. He is a joint author of the books  "The Application of Contracts in Developing Oil and Gas Projects" and "Practical Guide to Engineering and Construction Contracts".

Download Donald Charrett's CV.

Arbitration Qualifications

  • CIArb (Fellow)