John is independently recognised as a leading specialist in professional indemnity and liability insurance areas.
He has more than 45 years' experience, specialising in professional negligence and D&O defence of various professional disciplines across small and large claims. John established the Professional Indemnity group at Thynne + Macartney over 35 years ago and it continues to be one of the leading teams in Australia.
Throughout his career, John has been involved in many complex litigated cases, appeals and many very significant high-value claims and disputes in a variety of jurisdictions in Australia & overseas.
John believes that his team's in-depth understanding of relationships assists them in avoiding misunderstandings that may ultimately have a commercial impact.
Where possible, John aims to resolve matters according to the true merits of the claim and guide the process away from the pitfalls of protracted litigation. If his team can resolve pre-litigation, they do.
John's areas of specialisation include:
- Professional risks
- Directors and officers liability
- Employment practices liability
- Association liability
- Policy advisory and indemnity advice
- Special issues
- Risk management (project, retainer and construction agreement review)
- Disciplinary and CMC proceedings and investigations
- Complex commercial litigation in all Australian jurisdictions, including overseas in Singapore, Thailand, Columbo, Papua New Guinea and other Pacific regions with claim values up to AUD$300m and US$200m
- Commercial construction
- Government negotiations (including the introduction of legislation)
- Professional independent directorships
- Dispute resolution and mediation of all types
Awards & Recognition
Best Lawyers Australia
- Insurance (2013-2023)
- Professional Malpractice Litigation (2010-2023)
Doyle’s Guide Queensland
- Professional Indemnity – Leading (2015-2016 & 2018-2021), Recommended (2017)
- Admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of Queensland in January 1979
Memberships & Appointments
- IBL Limited
- Chairman and member of the Investment Committee and Remuneration & Nomination Committee.
- IBL is a national and international company providing professional indemnity brokerage and underwriting.
- IBL representative on the Board of Huatai Insurance Agency Ltd in China
- Mayne Estate Trust
- Managing Trustee
- Mayne Estate Trust is the largest benefactor to the Medical School of the University of Queensland.
- Mayne Estate Trust Investment Committee
- Thynne + Macartney
- Former Chairman
- Australian Professional Indemnity group
- Founding committee member and past president for Queensland
- Commercial Law Association of Queensland
- Former president
- Brisbane City Heard Business Association Ltd
- Former president
- Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for the State of Queensland
- Former director and council member
- Queensland Law Society
- Former member of the General Insurance Committee
- International Bar Association
- Committees: Insurance, Litigation & Arbitration
- Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration
- Australian Insurance Law Association
John has handled a wide variety of professional indemnity & other major litigated claims from large complex matters to small claims. A selection of the large cases includes:
- 363 Adelaide St: Successfully defended engineers and architects with the architect's case taken to a 10-week Supreme Court trial, judgment and unsuccessful appeal with the original judgement upheld).
- 80 Albert Street: a 10-day trial before the claim was withdrawn.
- Hall Chadwick Centre: Successfully defended the engineer.
- Waterfront Place: Successfully defended the architects and engineers.
McArthur River Leading Gas Pipeline litigation
- $30 million claim involving an alleged 57 kilometre gas pipeline with leaking joints (defended international engineering firm).
Cook Colliery Long Wall mine claim
- A multi-million dollar claim for losses resulting from roof collapses burying 2 continuous miners.
- Loss of production due to roof falls at the Longwall equipment face at cook colliery – acted for mine owner in a high-value successful policy recovery claim where indemnity was denied.
Suncorp Finance / Computations
- Represented Suncorp in a recovery against the financial computer software provider for its core business that underperformed.
Suncorp Insurance Building Asbestos litigation – Supreme Court
- $35m + Proceedings against the architects and builder (set down for a 12-week trial) involving extensive expert evidence concerning the cost to remove residual asbestos and fully refurbish 24 levels of the Suncorp Head Office building.
- Defended the architects and successfully resolved part way through trial.
No.1 O'Connell Street Litigation (Sydney)
- A $300m claim litigated in NSW. Retained to represent the interests of the architect to oppose an application to be joined in litigation – objection to joinder successful with assistance of our Sydney agents.
- Application was discontinued and costs paid.
Coomera Resort / PRD – Supreme Court
- High-value joint venture dispute alleging conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty – defended real estate agent.
- Fully litigated 3-month trial – successfully defended the damages claim against the real estate agent.
Sanctuary Cove litigation / Catholic Church
- High profile case where we acted for the Catholic Church and successfully recovered substantial equitable compensation from the Japanese buyers of the resort due to a failure by the late Mike Gore to recognize a gift of 5 acres of land in a high location in the heart of the Sanctuary cove development.
- Damages plus costs were recovered and an appeal was subsequently withdrawn. The case involved extensive forensic investigation to prove the historic gift by the Casey family.
Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) & Ors -ats- C & U Ebber
- Successfully defended a racial discrimination claim against the AACA for refusing to accept their German architectural qualifications. Court found their qualifications were greatly inferior to Queensland registration standards.
- "Interchase" litigation for $150 million – defended the valuer Colliers and Tidbold and successfully resolved their involvement and avoided the trial for those parties.
- Proportionate liability to High Court. Landmark decision (defended valuer).
- Complex dispute with Heritage Council which opposed demolition of Hesketh House which was adjacent to St Stephens Cathedral.
- After several court hearings, ultimately succeeded in an unanimous Court of Appeal decision upholding the validity of a Liturgical certificate exemption certificate the church had issued, finding that the building was within the "Church Precincts" and upholding the validity of the certificate under the heritage act. This enabled the building to be demolished.
Expectation Pty Ltd / Danny Hill v PRD Realty & Ors
- $15 million litigation defending real estate agents. Appeals to High Court and hearing in Federal Court and rehearing ordered. Successfully defended.
- Successfully defended the engineers on appeal – the decision was the first Queensland authority that held that the principles enunciated in the High Court case of Bryan v Maloney did not extend to recovery of pure economic loss in commercial buildings. This was latter affirmed by the High Court in Woolcock street / CDG which we acted in.
Bangkok Bank of Commerce
- Restitution and fraud litigation over valuations in Thailand which also involved criminal proceedings – claim was in excess of US$200 million (Thailand) (defended valuers).
Shailer Park and Woodridge litigation
- Defended valuer in a large claim over 2 valuations by different valuation firms at significantly different valuation outcomes – resolved with claimant and with the 2 valuation firms apportioning responsibility.
HTW / QIDC (Suncorp)
- $7.8 million litigation (defended valuers).
Cairns Hotel Redevelopment
- Town planning project approval rejection claim for $11 million (defended architect).
Cairns Casino / Walter Construction Group
- Claim involving defective glass in a glass conservatory for a D&C commission for a 128 room five-star casino and ancillary building in Cairns involving allegations of defective design, manufacture and workmanship.
- We represented underwriters in a claim where indemnity was successfully declined.
Redcliffe Jetty Failure Dispute
- $15+ million (defended engineers).
- $40 million shipbuilding dispute (defended vessel designer).
- Leading High Court case on duty of care for residential / commercial buildings (defended engineers to High Court).
Cairns Rain Forrest development / Cardno & Davies
- A large colluvium landslip occurred in a newly constructed hillside residential subdivision resulting is the failed section being abandoned and an $8m + claim against the engineers. We represented the engineers and resolved the litigated claim at mediation.
CA & MEC McInally Nominees & Ors v HTW Valuers & CUA  QSC 388
- Successfully defended to judgment underwriters in a Supreme Court challenge against a coverage denial.
- Defended valuers to High Court.
- Important decision about basis of calculation of valuation damages.
Walter Constructions Group Ltd v Jotun (Supreme Court)
- Retained to recover a high-value claim against the international manufacturer of paint supplied to the 2 new Queensland's prisons constructed at Woodford – Men's Max Security and Wacol Women's.
- The brief included John Moore acting as client representative and inspector to approve progress payments and make all decisions pertaining to the removal and repainting in the live prison environment of the two prisons being funded by the project insurer.
- It took over two years to repaint. Litigation then followed against Jotun to recover the cost.
- Extensive expert painting, engineering, geotechnical and quantity surveying evidence was required, and a 100% successful recovery was achieved in a vigorously defended claim that settled.
Power Supply / TUI (Singapore)
- Singapore Government claim for $65 million for alleged failed new computer system integration for Singapore's power, gas and water utilities (successfully defended USA computer integrator in Singapore High Court).
SAGT Container Terminal Claim in Colombo for $10 million
- RGT Track subsidence / failure at container terminal / Naval base in Colombo (successfully defended international engineers in Colombo).
Qantas Founders Outback Museum
- Construction cost claim for cost blowout.
- Successfully defended the management consultants.
Qantas Jet Aircraft Brisbane Airport Servicing Hangar
- $10 million dispute over mechanical service equipment failures
- Successfully defended Sydney mechanical engineer.
Gold Coast failed subdivision substrata subsidence cases (various)
- Defended the structural engineer.
- $30 million litigation over failed subdivision.
- Successfully defended civil engineers and recovered costs.
$35m Raby Bay failed apartment litigation – UI International
- Supreme Court – successfully defended the architect in a multiparty protracted dispute that was litigated and resolved at mediation.
Brisbane's $100 million Gallery of Modern Art
- Represented design architects.
The Southport School
- Child catastrophic injury $15 million personal injury claim – flooding drain.
- Successfully defended engineers and workplace health and safety advisor and recovered costs.
- Defence in NSW with respect to employee killed by mentally affected patient (defending not for profit). Reached an agreed plead guilty resolution and agreed fine range.
Webster Ahrens v Palmer & Ors
- Collapse of several large grain silos in South Australia.
- Defended engineer in workplace investigation and subsequent complicated Supreme Court proceedings in South Australia.
- Defamation claim with respect to biograph (defended author).
Mater Children's Hospital
- Falling tiles from façade (defended architect).
Rural Funds Management v Ranbuild & D&S Engineering
- $10 million structural failure claim concerning 10 football-size chicken sheds in Griffith in NSW Supreme Court.
- Defended engineer in 3-week Supreme Court Trial achieving the apportionment outcome sought.
Local Government Counsellors and Officers
- Various – Defended numerous claims of all kinds where wrongful conduct was alleged against individual council and officers at all levels of local government, and across all sectors, in all court and tribunal jurisdictions under an adjunct D&O underwriting scheme cover coming under the LGAQ scheme insurance arrangements.
- Represented Thiess in successfully seeking rectification in the Supreme Court of Queensland of a Side Deed that reinstated the protection of a $40m second "follow on" policy layer in relation to a claim against FFE regarding the design of 3 new Calciners at the Aluminum Plant at Gladstone. Costs were awarded in Thiess's favor after a lengthy and complex trial. The success in the case avoided flow on professional negligence claims against other professional firms.
- $250m Trust recovery case (representing St Vincent's).
- Successfully secured Supreme Court order returning 100% of Ozcare ownership back to St Vincent de Paul.
- There were over 110 lengthy affidavits of evidence and the case was scheduled for a long trial which settled in the first week of hearing and a court order made returning ownership back to St Vincent's de Paul.
- Successful application to set aside a renewal of a writ resulting in the proceedings being dismissed (represented interstate barrister).
Rivercity Motorway (Clem 7) class action cross claims
- AECON Australia Pty Ltd v Leighton Contractors & Hicks – Represented the second attachment ($20m) D&O underwriter for Hicks in relation to wrongful conduct allegations within $100m tower of cover in relation to the complicated Clem 7 class action litigation and the cross claims against Hicks, Leightons and others, resulting from the financial failure of Clem 7 Tunnel due to low traffic support.
- The Cross claim was successfully resolved.
Thiess John Holland / Brisbane Airport Link
- Retained to advise on insurance and recovery matters with respect to Brisbane's $4.8 billion Airport Link tunnel and Northern bus way project.
Australian Medical Council Limited v Dr DT
- Defending the National Standards body for medical education, training and assessment against a $2.1m claim (plus interests and costs) in relation to a claim by an international graduate that his overseas qualifications were incorrectly certified.
- The case involved a complex forensic investigation about what the practitioner knew which gave rise to key causation and "no loss" and lack of mitigation arguments. Resolved at mediation.
Springfield Land Corporation & Medallist AMP Golf Holdings
- Multimillion-dollar claim arising out of movement to the golf house and surrounds at Springfield due to highly reactive soils and other influencing factors (watering / maintenance issues).
- Defended the engineers and resolved the claim by settlement and then pursued a third-party recovery against the geotechnical engineer.
Lanai Apartments Litigation (2018)
- $20m claim Supreme Court of Queensland claim against 1st tier international law firm regarding cancelled contracts (defended law firm) which was successfully resolved at mediation.
- Several important interlocutory decisions reported; Successful (and substantial) security for costs order made. ( QSC 2;  QSC 242; and  QSC 251).
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority
- Acted for The Optometry Board of Australia and AHPRA in defending the first Supreme Court  challenge to scope practice extension in Australia by allied professions to the medical profession.
- Claim by The Australian Society of Ophthalmologists successfully defended in the Supreme Court of Queensland and resolved in favor of the Optometrists in mediation with Optometry practice extended to permit treatment for Glaucoma pending specialist treatment.
Various Private Hospital, Medical Center and Pathology testing laboratory
- Claims of all kinds and severity – defending the Hospitals, medical centers, and Labs including Defence work for cosmetic surgeons, eye hospitals and Lasik clinics and various allied health care providers.
Defence work across all sectors
- Including claims against architects, engineers, accountants, brokers, insurance agents, financial advisors, optometrists, hospitals, medical centers, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists, beauty clinics, pathologists, valuers, real estate agents, quantity surveyors, veterinarians and agricultural claims.
Special issues and abuse claims - many institutional and individual sexual
- Abuse claims, including representation at confidential evidence hearing at Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
ASIC insider trading investigations
- Defending parties being investigation or assisting with investigations.
Psychologists and allied health professionals' disciplinary proceedings through AHPRA and the health Ombudsman
Architects work under their national indemnity scheme