James Waters

ADMITTED  2013    BAR  2016

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
  • Equity / Equitable Relief / Trusts
  • Insurance
  • International / Conflicts of Law
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Negligence
  • Torts (Other Than PI)

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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 (both contractors and principals), 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.

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:

  • Lacrosse apartments litigation (led by Tim Margetts QC) for the fire engineer (currently before VSCA), on appeal from Owners Corporation No 1 of BS613436T v LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd [2019] VCAT 286
  • 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 one proceeding: Australian Energy Regulator v Snowtown Wind Farm Stage 2 Pty Ltd [2020] FCA 1845 (White J);
    • Renewable energy construction dispute for contractor in ongoing dispute with wind turbine manufacturer in the Victorian Supreme Court (led by Tim Margetts QC); acting for crane contractor in ongoing disputes;
  • Arbitration:
    • large-scale infrastructure / public-private partnership social infrastructure dispute, $90m claim against professional adviser under ACICA rules. Resolved (led by Tim Margetts QC);
    • sucsessful 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 QC);
    • dispute involving the software and control systems on large agricultural machinery for a US-based manufacturer (unled);
  • Insurance proceedings:
    • Damage to large industrial plant, Federal Court, ongoing (led by Gerard Dalton QC);
    • Successful defence of subrogated recovery concerning large fire Mahony v Logan [2019] VCC 1586 (led by Gerard Dalton QC);
    • Contamination of food and beverage products. Resolved (led by Gerard Dalton QC);
    • Successful defence of claim against solicitors Finch v Arnold Thomas and Becker Pty Ltd [2018] VCC 54 (led by Aileen Ryan QC (as Her Honour then was), 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.