Michael Earwaker

Partner. Sydney.

+61 2 9210 6309 |   |  vCard
Michael Earwaker

An expert in the resolution of complex technical disputes, Michael brings to the field a specialised blend of legal and engineering skills. Having practised as a civil engineer, he is uniquely positioned to better understand the technical aspects of projects and their inter-relationship with the law.

With both public and private sector experience, Michael acts for contractors, arrangers and owners in addition to having particular expertise in PPP projects. Clients value his ability to identify risk and maximise early settlement opportunities.

Show full profile

An expert in the resolution of complex technical disputes, Michael brings to the field a specialised blend of legal and engineering skills. Having practised as a civil engineer, he is uniquely positioned to better understand the technical aspects of projects and their inter-relationship with the law.

With both public and private sector experience, Michael acts for contractors, arrangers and owners in addition to having particular expertise in PPP projects. Clients value his ability to identify risk and maximise early settlement opportunities.

Construction and infrastructure project disputes involve a broad spectrum of issues. The facts, expert evidence and the law are often all contested. Michael takes a hands-on approach to the analysis and management of these issues.

Michael is also a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University where he lectures on Advanced Construction Law. As a result he is able to engage directly with participants in the industry, from both Australia and abroad, allowing him the opportunity to remain ahead of the curve in relation to upcoming trends, and to feed back the associated legal ramifications into his practice.

“Best Lawyer - Construction/
Infrastructure” Best Lawyers Peer Review
Michael Earwaker

Michael's Expertise

  • Claim against State of Victoria by Transurban Acted for the State defending a $150 million claim brought under the terms of the CityLink concession deed. The claimant asserted there were changes to the road network and relied on traffic and financial modelling evidence in support of its claim. The State successfully defended the claim before a three-member arbitral tribunal.
  • Claim for ramp up and delay losses under policy issued by Lloyds An Australian-Swiss JV procured a $150 million policy to cover the specific risks in relation to a greenfields nickel processing facility. The project was delayed, a claim was made and cover denied. Michael was a key member of the team acting for the insured who successfully secured a settlement at the conclusion of the arbitration for an amount that exceeded the original claim.
  • Pipeline projects Acted for a D&C Contractor in relation to both upstream and downstream disputes arising out of a challenging gas pipeline project. The project was significantly delayed and disrupted due to cyclone activity. The contractor’s claims were denied and it was asserted against the contractor that the owner-biased risk allocation gave the contractor no relief. Two preliminary matters were successfully prosecuted in the Supreme Court, following which the matter settled.
  • Defence procurement Acted for the Defence Department in relation to disputes that have emerged from its ongoing $1.5 billion p.a. infrastructure procurement work. Successfully managed claims for the Department across a range of dispute forums with careful regard to the consistency and transparency expected from a Commonwealth government agency.
  • Property development Advised property developers and contractors in relation to issues such as insolvency, contractor claims, defective works and termination arrangements.

What others say

  • “Best Lawyer - Construction/Infrastructure Law and Litigation” Best Lawyers Peer Review, 2009-2018

Michael's Thinking

Michael's Leadership

  • Melbourne University Law School Senior Fellow
    Lecturer - Advanced Construction Law