Contract Law Conference: Drafting, Risk and Disputes

Navigate through everything you need to draft contracts to minimise risk, strategise the risk allocation and insolvency clauses, and stay updated on reform and caselaw including the newest amendments to Unfair Contract Terms legislation, all in one day. Learn from experienced litigators interpretation concerns, contract endings and cross-border contract enforceability. Gain both the knowledge and skill needed for your contracts practice. 243V17

Tuesday, 19 March 2024
Session 1: Advanced Contract Drafting

Chair: Bernard Quinn KC, List G Barristers

9.05am to 9.50am MOUs, Heads of Agreement, and Informal Agreements: A Strategic Approach
  • Highlight key elements to include in MOUs for clarity and effectiveness
  • How a well-crafted heads of agreement can streamline negotiations and mitigate risks
  • Cases of successful outcomes and potential pitfalls when relying on informal agreement

Presented by Margo Harris, Barrister, Mediator, Fellow UNCCA, Chapman’s List

9.50am to 10.35am Avoiding Unfair Contract Terms
  • What makes a clause unfair?
  • What is a limitation of liability clause?
  • What is an indemnity clause?
  • In what circumstances are these clauses unfair?
  • Is it unfair to limit liability for consequential loss?
  • How do I make my limitation of liability and indemnity clauses fair?

Presented by Teresa Torcasio, Partner, HWL Ebsworth and Zoe Vise, Associate, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers

11.35am to 12.20pm Contractual Protections Against Default and Insolvency
  • Insolvency and restructuring processes and warning signs
  • Impediments to exercising rights where there is an insolvency event
  • Practical options to consider where another party is, or at risk of being, insolvent
  • Risk minimisation strategies at various stages of a project

Presented by Sam Kingston, Partner, Maddocks

10.50am to 11.35am Limiting Liability Through Contract: Exclusion Clauses, Indemnities and Proportionate Liability

This session explores the ways in which contractual terms may be used to allocate risk. This will include an analysis of relevant case law and contractual tools for limiting liability, excluding liability and qualifying liability. We will discuss the comparative benefits of warranties and indemnities, along with the intricacies of proportionate liability.

Presented by Nick Rimington, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia, Best Lawyers Australia 2023, Franchise Law, Who’s Who Legal Australia 2023, Franchise Law

12.20pm to 1.05pm Court Approaches to Contractual Interpretation

Stay updated with the latest from the courts on contractual interpretation and gain essential drafting skills to prevent interpretation-related disputes. Together with JK Muckersie explore:

  • Principles associated with interpreting express terms
  • The admissibility of extrinsic evidence
  • Practical drafting tips to avoid issues associated with these when a dispute arises

Presented by JK Muckersie, Special Counsel, Clayton Utz

Session 2: Contract Disputes, Breach, Termination & Enforcement

Chair: Dr Paul Vout KC, List A Barristers; co-editor, Commonwealth Law Reports; author, Laws of Australia on Breach of Contract; co-author, Appeals and Appellate Courts in Australia and New Zealand, LexisNexis; editor and co-author, Laws of Australia: Unconscionable Conduct and Laws of Australia: Torts, Lawbook

4.30pm to 5.15pm Cross-border Contracts and Where to Enforce
  • Risks and issues of enforceability as against Crown counterparties
  • Determining the court and applicable legal system for dispute resolution

Presented by Justin Vaatstra, Partner, Arnold Bloch Leibler, Best Lawyers 2024, Bet-the-company litigation, insolvency & reorganisation law and litigation, Leading Insolvency, restructuring, Doyle’s Guide 2023, Preeminent Commercial Litigation & Dispute resolution, Doyle’s Guide 2023, Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Dispute Resolution and Restructuring & insolvency, Who’s Who Legal, Future leader, litigation

2.45pm to 3.30pm Contract Litigation Concerns: A Look at Ambiguous Words, Penalty Clauses and Repudiation of Contracts
  • What to do about ambiguous wording on contracts
  • How to seek declaratory relief in the context of contractual breaches
  • What is repudiating conduct?
  • How to spot a penalty clause

Presented by Georgina Costello KC, List G Barristers

3.30pm to 4.15pm Terminating the Contract and Avoiding Costly Mistakes
  • Formation and options
  • Loss of termination rights
  • Termination pursuant to contract
  • Termination by agreement
  • Termination for breach
  • Termination for repudiation
  • Termination for delay
  • Restrictions on termination
  • Termination choice and risks

Presented by Temple Saville, Barrister, Svenson Barristers, Nationally Accredited Mediator and Annabelle Ballard, Barrister, Svenson Barristers


Attend and earn 7 CPD units in Substantive Law
This program is applicable to practitioners from all States & Territories

9.00am to 9.05am Opening Comments by the Chair
10.35am to 10.50am Morning Tea
1.05pm to 1.15pm Final Q&A and Closing Comments by the Chair
4.15pm to 4.30pm Afternoon Tea
2.00pm to 245pm Why Just Using the Firm Template May Be Doing Your Client a Dis-Service

Be guided through a practical discussion on dispute resolution clauses analysing:

  • Common dispute resolution clauses: notices of dispute, direct negotiation, mediation, arbitration, cascading options, bespoke clauses
  • Factors to consider when drafting a dispute resolution clause: enforceability, ongoing relationship, speed of resolution, quantum of dispute, ability to negotiate, unfair contract terms, ousting the jurisdiction of the Court
  • Checklist to consider before finalising your drafting of a dispute resolution clause

Presented by Alicia Hill, Principal, Sladen Legal; Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation; Best Lawyers 2023, Litigation


Ms Teresa Torcasio, Partner,
Teresa is a highly experienced partner in the corporate / commercial group at HWL Ebsworth, with over 20 years’ experience as a commercial law specialist. Teresa advises clients on general commercial law and corporate transactions, including ongoing supply, manufacturing and distribution arrangements, procurement, transport and logistics contracts, acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, corporate restructuring and strategic alliances. Teresa’s comprehensive knowledge of the Australian Consumer Law has assisted her to advise clients on their risks, rights and obligations as buyers and sellers of goods and services and to negotiate excellent outcomes for her clients. She has written numerous articles on commercial contracting, unfair contract terms, and consumer guarantee protections (including their application to businesses). Teresa has been named The Best Lawyers in Australia for her work in Commercial Law and Sports Law. Prior to joining HWL Ebsworth, Teresa was an executive counsel at Freehills and a partner at Herbert Geer (now Thompson Geer).

Ms. Georgina Costello KC, Senior Counsel,
Georgina Costello KC is regularly briefed in trials and appeals regarding contract law and property rights in the Federal Court and Victorian courts. She has in the past worked at Mallesons Melbourne, a law firm in New York City and at the World Bank in Washington DC.

Mr. Sam Kingston, Partner, Maddocks
Sam specialises in insolvency and restructuring, working with clients in all aspects of external administrations, security enforcement and insolvency dispute resolution. He has acted for clients in a wide range of industries in large scale court proceedings involving complicated insolvency issues and Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) claims. Sam is recognised as a recommended lawyer for Restructuring & Insolvency in Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guide, leading Insolvency and Reorganisation lawyer in Best Lawyers Australia, recommended lawyer for Insolvency & Restructuring in Doyle’s Guide and recommended lawyer for Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution in Doyle’s Guide.

Mr. Nick Rimington, Partner,
Nick is a senior commercial lawyer in our consumer markets practice group. Nick advises clients across a wide range of general commercial matters. He specialises in supporting Australian and international brands in the franchising, retail, distribution and FMCG sectors. He has assisted Australian and international franchise systems with all aspects of franchise law, including preparation of franchise documentation, establishing and structuring of franchise networks, transfers and acquisitions, terminations and disputes, Franchising Code of Conduct compliance and international master franchising. Nick is named in Best Lawyers (Franchise Law).

Mr Justin Vaatstra, Partner,
Justin Vaatstra is an experienced commercial litigator and a partner of Arnold Bloch Leibler's litigation and insolvency practices. His practice focus has an emphasis on corporate insolvency and restructuring, shareholder disputes and intellectual property disputes. Justin is recognised as a recommended lawyer for 'Dispute Resolution' and 'Restructuring & Insolvency' in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific. He is described by clients as a "very dedicated advocate" who "builds great working relationships". Justin has been recognised in Doyle's Guide in the category of 'Leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lawyers’ and listed by Best Lawyers© International in the area of 'Insolvency & Reorganization Law' and Dispute Resolution.

Ms. Zoe Vise, Associate,
Zoe is experienced in preparing, reviewing and negotiating commercial contracts and working on other general commercial, corporate and regulatory matters. Zoe has a special interest in the Australian Consumer Law and works closely with Teresa to assist clients in navigating their rights and obligations when buying and selling goods and services, including in connection with the unfair contract terms regime. Zoe has co-authored a number of articles with Teresa, including the recent 'UCT 101' series of articles, aimed at helping businesses to understand their requirements under the regime and to prepare for the upcoming reforms.

Ms. Temple Saville, Barrister,
Temple practices in commercial law, public law and regulatory matters. Temple is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and is on the List of External Mediators published by the Magistrates’ Court. She is available to be briefed as a mediator. Temple accepts briefs to advise and/or appear. Temple has an interest in insolvency and bankruptcy related matters and has completed the ARITA Advanced Certification in Insolvency. Temple advises and appears for clients in respect to personal insolvency and corporate insolvency. She has experience in dealing with winding up application, creditors petitions, voidable transactions, insolvent trading claims and directors’ duties generally. Temple also has experience in building disputes where she represents clients in relation to breach of contract and warranties, defects, delays, and variations. Temple also appears and advises in relation to all aspects of debt recovery, contractual disputes, Australian Consumer Law matters, civil claims and interlocutory applications.

Ms. Margo Harris, Barrister,
Margo Harris is a barrister with more than 20 years’ experience in commercial law. Her career has involved appearing in a wide range of courts and tribunals both Australia-wide and internationally. Before coming to the Bar in 2011, she worked as a solicitor in Australia and London, including in-house counsel at an ASX listed company. Her broad ranging commercial practice straddles diverse industries, including agribusiness, construction and infrastructure, energy and resources, gaming, horse racing, maritime, mining, rail, road transport, sport, telecommunications, and waste management.

Ms Annabelle Ballard, Barrister,
Annabelle Ballard is a member of the Victorian Bar on List S (Svenson Barristers). Annabelle holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts from Monash University. Annabelle accepts briefs to appear and advise in a broad range of civil matters. She has a particular interest in commercial disputes, regulatory litigation, and costs law. Annabelle’s diverse practice gives her a strong understanding of the practical intersection between different areas of the law.

Mr. JK Muckersie, Special Counsel ,
JK is an experienced adviser for clients in complex commercial disputes and regulatory investigations and proceedings. Her broad expertise covers contractual disputes, corporations law (including claims against directors), financial services regulation, competition and consumer law, property and lease disputes. Her commercial focus and pragmatic approach allows her to offer straightforward, actionable advice tailored to client needs. JK works tirelessly during litigation and investigations to ensure as little business disruption as possible when clients face litigation.

Ms. Alicia Hill, Principal, Sladen Legal
Alicia Hill is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation in Victoria and Queensland, a Nationally Accredited Mediator, and a graded arbitrator with the Resolution Institute. Alicia practices as a Principal in the Dispute Resolution and Litigation team of Sladen Legal in Melbourne. In addition to advising and appearing for clients in general commercial litigation areas including contract, corporations and property law, she has specialty expertise in Franchising, Insolvency and Regulatory law. Alicia is a Fellow of FINSIA, a committee member of the ACCC Consultative Committee for Small Business and Franchising. a board member of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Accredited Specialists Board and has been recognised by her peers in the Best Lawyers awards for Litigation since 2016.


Contract Law Conference: Drafting, Risk and Disputes


All Sessions
Tuesday, 19 March 2024
9.05am to 5.15pm Australia/Sydney
CPD Points 7
Face to Face 20240625 20240319

Face to Face

Online 20240625 20240319


On Demand 20240625 20240319

On Demand

Morning Session
Tuesday, 19 March 2024
9.05am to 1.05pm Australia/Sydney
CPD Points 4
Face to Face 20240625 20240319

Face to Face

Online 20240625 20240319


On Demand 20240625 20240319

On Demand

Afternoon Session
Tuesday, 19 March 2024
2.00pm to 5.15pm Australia/Sydney
CPD Points 3
Face to Face 20240625 20240319

Face to Face

Online 20240625 20240319


On Demand 20240625 20240319

On Demand

InterContinental Melbourne

495 Collins Street, Melbourne 


Nearest Public Transport:

  • By train: Southern Cross Station (5-minute walk)
  • By subway: Southern Cross Station (5-minute walk)
  • By Tram: Trams on routes 12, 109, 11 and 48 all pass the hotel along Collins Street, get off at the William Street stop (3-minute walk). The hotel is located within the free tram zone which means travel within the CBD on the tram is free.
Parking Information

Valet Parking is only available for Resident Guests.

Nearby Parking: 
Wilson Parking - View locations and rates here