James Waters

ADMITTED  2013    BAR  2016

CLERK CONTACT  03 9225 7999
PHONE  9225 6225
MOBILE  0450 065 959

Open CV

James Waters, BE (Hons), JD (Melb)


  • Magistrates Court
  • Administrative Law
  • Aviation Law
  • Building and Construction
  • Class Actions
  • Commercial Law
  • Contract
  • Costs / Taxing Master
  • Disciplinary Tribunals
  • Energy and Infrastructure
  • Equity / Equitable Relief / Trusts
  • Insurance
  • International / Conflicts of Law
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Negligence
  • Torts (Other Than PI)




James is a specialist in large, complex litigation and is regularly briefed in technical, engineering, and construction disputes, insurance matters and class actions.

James advises and appears in bet-the-farm litigation and arbitration for commercial parties , achieving the very best results. He is approachable, diligent and deploys strategic nous to gain advantage for his clients over the real issues in dispute. He is regularly briefed in technical disputes for contractors, principals and consultants.

Prior to the Bar, James was an Associate at Allens in the construction disputes and commercial litigation teams. His practice included advising construction and engineering clients on complex construction and technical disputes and the administration of major projects.

Prior to his legal career, James worked as a mechatronics engineer in construction, industrial and consulting environments. As an engineer, James was involved in the construction of a major arterial transport link and consulted in relation to the design, installation and commissioning of a diverse range of bespoke robotics in various industrial settings.

James read with Simon T Pitt and his senior mentor is Jeremy Twigg QC.

LinkedIn & CV Link

Recent matters include:

  • Cudlee Creek bushfire class action (ongoing) South Australian Supreme Court, acting for the plaintiff class involving substantial technical expert evidence, led by Gerard Dalton KC
  • Numerous flammable cladding matters: appearing unled for plaintiffs, consultants and builders in matters relating to Aluminium Composite Panel and EPS cladding, since acting for the fire engineer in the Lacrosse Apartments litigation (Tanah Merah Vic Pty Ltd (ACN 098 935 490) v Owners Corporation No 1 of PS613436T [2021] VSCA 72 - led by Tim Margetts KC)
  • Defending claims against HVAC designer ACT Supreme Court, unled (resolved)
  • Renewable energy:
    • Civil penalty proceedings by the Australian Energy Regulator in relation to the South Australian Black System Event 2018, for the AER, ongoing (led by Dr Ruth Higgins SC, Tom Clarke). Settlement approval of proceedings:
      • Australian Energy Regulator v AGL HP 1 Pty Ltd [2022] FCA 737 (Besanko J);
      • Australian Energy Regulator v Pacific Hydro Clements Gap Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 733 (White J);
      • Australian Energy Regulator v HWF 1 Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 732 (White J); and
      • Australian Energy Regulator v Snowtown Wind Farm Stage 2 Pty Ltd [2020] FCA 1845 (White J).
    • Renewable energy construction dispute for contractor in dispute with international wind turbine manufacturer in the Victorian Supreme Court (led by Tim Margetts KC); acting for crane contractor in disputes;
  • Arbitration:
    • large-scale infrastructure / public-private partnership social infrastructure dispute, $90m claim against professional adviser under ACICA rules. Resolved (led by Tim Margetts KC);
    • Acting for developer re $3m claims against civil contractor (unled);
    • successful resistance of challenge to arbitral jurisdiction (Lin Tiger Plastering Pty Ltd v Platinum Construction (Vic) Pty Ltd [2018] VSC 221) (unled);
    • Restraint of trade dispute for a large industrial parts business (and associated Supreme Court action) (led by Richard Attiwill KC);
    • Dispute involving the software and control systems on large agricultural machinery for a US-based manufacturer (unled);
  • Insurance proceedings:
    • $40m claim for business interruption and material damage under project special risks policy, Federal Court. Led by Gerard Dalton KC (resolved);
    • Successful defence of subrogated recovery concerning large fire Mahony v Logan [2019] VCC 1586. Led by Gerard Dalton KC;
    • Contamination of food and beverage products. Led by Gerard Dalton KC (resolved);
    • Successful defence of claim against solicitors Finch v Arnold Thomas and Becker Pty Ltd [2018] VCC 54 (led by Aileen Ryan KC, and then unled).
  • Building and construction matters: Security of Payment claims, various commercial / industrial and domestic building disputes in the County Court and VCAT relating to defects, quality, delays, costs; Klau v Elliot [2020] VCAT 1422; Slab heave matters (resolved); developer and builder disputes (resolved); F Bouhoussein Pty Ltd v Mackie Pty Ltd [2019] VCAT 1470; defects disputes (resolved); advising on various standard form contracts, including AS2124, AS4000-series, HIA, MBC4
  • Building Appeals Board and disciplinary proceedings (and associated administrative law reviews), including as Counsel Assisting and defending Building Practitioners' Board Inquiries and VBA Show Cause investigations into the conduct of Registered Building Practitioners; BAB proceedings involving building surveyors' conduct; protection works; approval of aluminium composite panels

Other commercial law matters:

  • Dove Investments Pty Ltd v Mallee Track Health and Community Service [2016] VCC 1055 (led by Aileen Ryan QC)
  • Oppression proceedings;
  • Appearing in relation to a joint venture dispute regarding contributions made to a substantial residential property development;
  • Various sale of business / assets disputes, involving misrepresentations, Australian Consumer Law claims and common law claims; Kapila (Trustee), in the matter of Edelsten (Bankrupt) (No 2) [2016] FCA 1269 in relation to a dispute as to the application of US and Australian bankruptcy provisions
  • Acting for a substantial trading trust in a family / matrimonial dispute;
  • Applications for constructive and resulting trusts in family business disputes;
  • Various Pt IV of the Administration & Probate Act 1958 applications for testators family maintenance;
  • Applications for non-party costs orders;
  • Appearing for and defending claims under the Legal Profession Act 2004 and Legal Profession Uniform Law;

James is member of:

  • the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand;
  • the Melbourne Marine Insurance Forum;
  • the Society of Construction Lawyers Australia; and
  • Melbourne TEC Chambers (MTECC).

From 6th May 2016, liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.