It was his interest in advocacy that brought Ian Roberts SC to the Bar in 1996. Since then, he has built a hugely successful practice, was appointed Senior Counsel in 2011, and is also an accredited mediator. Ian accepts briefs in Building & Construction, Commercial and Contracts Law, Equity, Transport Law (Maritime, Admiralty and Aviation) and Professional Negligence. He is listed as a Leading Construction & Infrastructure Senior Counsel in Australia, in the Doyles Guide 2018.
Ian enjoys the team aspect of litigation and case management. He values the input of solicitors, junior counsel and clients alike, and recognises that every person on his team brings something valuable and different to the case - from discovery to witness communication skills, drafting, and research excellence. Ian’s successful practice is founded on his forensic approach, and his problem-solving and investigative abilities.
Ian has a detailed and methodical approach, which includes thorough examination of documentary evidence and piecing together disparate information. He understands the importance of identifying why a particular legal problem exists. His approach to solving legal problems is complemented by an interest in history, and a particular interest in the social attitudes and historical basis upon which certain precedents were set.
His non-work obsessions include cycling, triathlon and playing guitar.
Focus Areas + Select Cases
Baron Corporation Pty Ltd v Owners of Strata Plan 69567  NSWCA 238 - Dealt with a claim by an owners corporation under strata scheme and whether it was entitled to the benefit of the statutory warranties on the basis that the owner was a ‘developer’. The question turned on whether the appellant was a someone ‘on whose behalf’ the ‘residential building work’ was done and therefore a ‘developer’ for the purposes of the Home Building Act 1989.
Wyong Shire Council v Jenbuild Pty Ltd  NSWSC 720 - The case concerned whether the contracts entered into constituted an arbitration agreement for the purposes of s 7 of the Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 (NSW). The case also raised issues including estoppel in pais and estoppel by convention. Whether there had been sufficient detriment so that parties are estopped from denying their contractual relationship is governed by a dispute resolution clause.
Owners Corporation SP 72357 v Dasco Constructions Pty Ltd (2010) 77 NSWLR 607 - This case dealt with the question of whether the proportionate liability scheme under the Civil Liability Act 2002 could operate in relation to a claim to enforce the implied warranties under the Home Building Act 1989.
CJD Equipment Pty Ltd v A and C Constructions Pty Ltd  NSWSC 1362 – Multiparty litigation concerning the failure of a pavement constructed as part of a commercial heavy equipment dealership. The issues included what duties were owed by contractors and engineering consultants to an owner who had contracted on a design and construct basis with its builder, where the damage suffered was pure economic loss.
Peter's of Kensington v Seersucker Pty Ltd  NSWSC 897 - A claim by principal following a successful adjudication of a payment claim for architectural services. The primary issue was whether a contract for provision of architectural services was a construction contract under the Building & Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 and whether a payment claim complied with requirements of s 13(2). The case also deals with whether an adjudicator's decision on sufficiency of information in payment claim is open to review.
Fitz Jersey Pty Ltd v Atlas Construction Group Pty Ltd  NSWCA 53 - Atlas obtained an adjudication determination pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (Act) in its favour of approximately $11m. Fitz Jersey did not pay the adjudicated sum and Atlas obtained judgment, which it then enforced by garnishee order. Fitz Jersey sought an injunction to force Atlas to repay the $11m obtained pursuant to the garnishee order, which was refused by McDougall J. Fitz Jersey appealed against McDougall J’s decision, and argued that s25 of the Act gave it an entitlement to a statutory stay of the judgment, pending challenge to the underlying adjudication determination. Fitz Jersey said it had been denied that entitlement because of Atlas’ failure to notify Fitz Jersey that it was obtaining and enforcing the judgment. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and found that there was no such entitlement, and no obligation on Atlas to notify Fitz Jersey as asserted.
C V Sheepvaartonderneming Ankergracht v Stemcor (A/sia) Pty Limited  FCAFC 77 - The case involved three separated proceedings relating to three consignments of cold rolled steel coils carried from Japan to Australia and the problems faced by carrying steel cargos across the tropics from a northern winter to a southern summer. It raised issues concerning whether the relevant vessels were seaworthy and whether there had been a breach of Article 3 rules 1 and 2 of the Hague Visby Rules as well as the ships’ defences that the damage had been caused by insufficiency of packing.
Rail Equipment Leasing Pty Ltd, CV Scheepvaartonderneming Emmagracht  NSWSC 850 - The case concerned a consignment of rail locomotives that had been shipped by the defendant ship from Denmark to Newcastle. During the voyage on board the ship, two locomotives shifted and caused damage to the side of the ship's hold, and to one of the ship's fuel tanks, causing fuel oil leakage. The two locomotives were also damaged. The goods were discharged in Newcastle but the carrier exercised a lien over the cargo and later filed a writ to arrest the cargo to recover the cost of repairs to the ship undertaken in Savannah.
Siemens Ltd v Schenker International (Australia) Pty Ltd(2004) 216 CLR 418 - This case arose from the damage caused by the carrier of sophisticated communications equipment destined to be installed to control Western Australia’s telephone system. The case dealt with the question of the operation of the limitation provisions in the standard FIATA Air Waybill and whether those provisions operated to protect the carrier when loss occurred during road carriage after the cargo had been discharged from the aircraft but before it had been cleared from the carrier’s bonded store outside the boundary of Melbourne Airport.
Newcastle Port Corporation v Pevitt (2003) 58 NSWLR 548 - The case dealt with the question of whether the fund created pursuant to the International Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims included or excluded legal costs. At that time there was no authority on the point anywhere in the world. Palmer J, exercising the Supreme Court’s admiralty jurisdiction, determined that the fund excluded legal costs substantially in order to maintain consistency in the application of the fund throughout the world where the rights of parties to recover litigation costs differed.
Siemens Ltd v Schenker International (Australia) Pty Ltd (2001) 162 FLR 469 - Although the decision of Barrett J was ultimately overturned on appeal to the High Court, one of the main issues determined by his Honour remained in tact. The first instance decision focused on the meaning of the limitation provisions of the Warsaw Convention and their operation outside the boundary of the airport in circumstances where the cargo had not been released from bond. The case was the first in Australia to consider the question.
Siemens Ltd v Schenker International (Australia) Pty Ltd (2004) 216 CLR 418 Read More
Newcastle Port Corporation v Pevitt (2003) 58 NSWLR 548 Read More