Tony Thomas is one of Australia’s leading Construction barristers. His focus is on large mining and infrastructure disputes, particularly those which involve complex contractual interpretation, extensions of time and delay claims. He appears in the Supreme Court of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, and in IAMA and JAMS arbitrations.
Tony is accustomed to working closely with very large teams of solicitors. He approaches each matter with professionalism, completely familiarises himself with the documents and facts, and actively involves himself in the preparation of lay witnesses and experts. He is passionate about finding solutions to delicate and extremely complicated disputes, and has appeared in some of the biggest and longest-running litigations to emerge from the construction sector in recent years.
He teams with his solicitors to prepare submissions and identify strategic direction, ensures the team remains cohesive and focused on the salient areas, and has the ability to translate complexity into crystal-clear and compelling legal arguments. In arbitration matters, Tony welcomes and enjoys direct involvement with clients and in-house counsel.
Tony is listed as a Recommended Barrister in Doyle’s Guide 2017 in the area of Construction Law.
Tony is also ranked by the (peer-reviewed) publication Who’s Who Legal 2015-16 as one of the world’s leading business crime defence lawyers. In the ‘white collar crime’ space, Tony is a trial lawyer who represents clients in federal and state commissions and investigations involving tax fraud, securities fraud, instruments fraud, racketeering, money laundering and bribery. He specialises in cross-border investigations, particularly involving Australia-Switzerland (for nine consecutive years), Australia-Singapore and Australia-Hong Kong.
Prior to joining the Bar, Tony was a member of faculty at the University of Melbourne Law School (research fellow; lectured in comparative constitutional law) and a senior advisor in the Department of Premier & Cabinet, Victoria.
He undertakes pro bono work, with a special focus on the rights of litigants who suffer from a psychiatric disability.
Focus Areas + Select Cases
Representation of the liquidator of a major joint venture partner in a multi-year private arbitration seated in Perth. The litigation arose from a dispute between the partners in one of the largest mining boom investments in the Australian resources sector (2012 to 2016; ongoing).
Representation of the Owners Corporation of a luxury residential high-rise in North Sydney in a multi-million-dollar contractual dispute with Brookfield. (2015 to 2016).
Representation, with Bryan Merryman of White & Case, of a contact-lens research institute in intellectual property infringement proceedings against a ‘top four’ contact-lens manufacturer. Two international arbitrations seated in San Francisco; both prevailed (2010 to 2013).
Representation, with Paul Gully-Hart of Schellenberg Wittmer (Geneva), of a consortium of Swiss investors seeking to recover assets in the liquidation of the partnership of Hirsch & Cie (2011 to 2012).
The State of Victoria in two major IBAC corruption inquiries involving allegations of expropriation of $50-million in State funds and large-scale accounting fraud in the public education sector: “Operation Ord” with Sarah Keating (2014); “Operation Dunham” with Fiona Batten (2015). Instructed by the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office.
The State of Victoria in the first major investigation conducted by Victoria’s Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission, involving allegations of official corruption in the public transport sector (2014). Instructed by the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office.
A primary target of the joint Australian Crime Commission & Australian Taxation Office investigation into the Singaporean/Hong Kong cross-border private banking industry (2013 to 2015; no charges laid).
A primary target of the ongoing Australian Crime Commission investigation (“Operation Wickenby”) into the cross-border private banking industry. It is the largest criminal investigation of any type in Australian history (2008 to 2016).
The Owners – Strata Plan No 74602 v Brookfield Australia Investments Ltd  NSWSC 1916.
Built Environs Pty Ltd v Saunders International Ltd (2012) SASC 111.
Downer EDI Mining Ltd v Iluka Resources Ltd  VSC 622.
New South Wales v Bovis Lend Lease Pty Ltd (formerly Civil & Civic Pty Ltd)  Aust Torts Reports 81-917.
Unit 11 Pty Ltd v Sharpe Partners Pty Ltd  150 FCR 405.
Egglishaw v Australian Crime Commission (No 3) (2009) 259 ALR 458.
Egglishaw v Australian Crime Commission (No 2) (2009) 253 ALR 354; (2009) 71 ATR 570.
Australian Crime Commission v Magistrates' Court of Victoria (2007) 173 A Crim R 572.
A2 v Australian Crime Commission (2006) 155 FCR 456.
Egglishaw v Australian Crime Commission (2006) 230 ALR 254.
S v Australian Crime Commission  FCAFC 5; (2006) 149 FCR 361; (2006) 226 ALR 619
B v Australian Crime Commission (2005) 225 ALR 117; (2005) 89 ALD 26; (2005) 61 ATR 449