Background

Qualifications

  • Bachelors of Arts and Laws from the University of Queensland (2009)
  • Masters of Construction Law from the University of Melbourne (2016). Awarded the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Prize for Remedies in the Construction Context

Declan Byrne is a barrister who specialises in building, construction and property law. He has particular expertise in disputes concerning major construction and engineering projects, residential building works, strata law, the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW) and the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW). He is also experienced in disputes concerning the property law components of infrastructure projects such as easements and obtaining access to neighbouring land.

Declan regularly appears unled for a range of clients including homeowners, owners corporations, builders, consultants and developers in NSW courts as well as in arbitrations (both international and domestic).  He also has an increasing interstate practice, particularly in Queensland.

Declan has also acted for liquidators of construction companies looking to recoup outstanding debts. This includes running public examinations under ss 596A and 596B of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Before being called to the bar, Declan spent six years working in the construction litigation teams at Herbert Geer and HWL Ebsworth, during which he was seconded to John Holland for eight months. He also spent three years as a contracts advisor for Brisbane-based ASX-listed engineering practice, Cardno Ltd.

Declan has been a contributing editor to the Security of Payment component of Thomson Reuters’ Commercial Arbitration Law & Practice. He is also a headnote editor for the Building and Construction Law Journal.

Specialisations

  • Building and construction
  • Property
  • Strata
  • Corporate and commercial
  • Insolvency

Professional Recognition

Declan has been listed in Doyle’s Guide under the following categories:

  • Construction & Infrastructure Junior Counsel (NSW) - Leading 2021, 2022, 2023; Recommended 2018, 2019 and 2020; Emerging 2017
  • Construction & Infrastructure Junior Counsel (Australia) - Leading 2022; Recommended 2020, 2021, 2023

Presentations

Focus Areas + Select Cases

Building & Construction

Forte Sydney Carlingford Pty Ltd v Li.

Declan acted for a landowner resisting an appeal against an injunction preventing a developer from pursuing a repetitious adjudication under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 to adjudication (led by F Hicks SC): [2024] FCAFC 9.

GC Group Company Pty Ltd v Bingo Holdings.

Declan acted for a civil contractor in proceedings against a supplier of recycled aggregate. He was successful in striking out proportionate liability proceedings and resisting a subsequent application for leave to amend (led by F Corsaro SC): [2020] NSWSC 598; [2020] NSWSC 1360; [2021] NSWSC 252; [2021] NSWCA 184.

TFM Epping Land Pty Ltd v Decon Australia Pty Ltd.

Declan successfully defended a builder when a developer appealed a summary judgment for a statutory debt under the security of payment legislation. The decision resolved conflicting authorities on whether a failure to provide a supporting statement invalidated a payment claim: [2020] NSWCA 93 (led by IG Roberts SC). He also successfully resisted the developer’s application for a stay of execution of the judgment due to insolvency (also led by IG Roberts SC): [2020] NSWSC 659; [2020] NSWCA 118.

Owners SP90018 v Parkview Constructions Pty Ltd..

Declan acted for a plaintiff seeking to amend its Home Building Act 1989 claim following expiry of a limitation period (led by G Sirtes SC). This decision is an important restatement of the applicability of the ‘Onerati Principle’ to these claims: [2022] NSWSC 1123.

Owners SP85338 v Maygood.

Declan acted for an owners corporation in NCAT proceedings against a developer for breach of statutory warranties under the Home Building Act 1989 (unled against senior and junior counsel). He also helped successfully resisted an appeal by the developer: [2020] NSWCATAP 237.

Chess Engineering Pty Ltd ats Acciona Infrastructure Australia Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a subcontractor in proceedings brought by the head contractor to set aside a determination under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) (led by IG Roberts SC): [2020] NSWSC 1423; [2020] NSWSC 1788.

Equa Building Services Pty Ltd v A&H Floors 2 Doors Australia Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a plaintiff in proceedings seeking to set aside a determination under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (unled): [2022] NSWSC 152.

McNab Building Services Pty Ltd v Demex Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a plaintiff in proceedings seeking to set aside a determination under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (unled): [2022] NSWSC 1442.

Taylor Construction Group Pty Ltd v Adcon Structural Group Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a head contractor on a successful application to permanently restrain a subcontractor from referring a payment claim purportedly issued under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 to adjudication (unled against senior and junior counsel): [2023] NSWSC 723.

Insolvency

Skyworks NSW Pty Ltd v QY & Lynn Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a developer in Supreme Court proceedings that included interlocutory applications for a separate question and a freezing order: [2017] NSWSC 343 (led by IG Roberts SC).

In the matter of Macarthur Projects Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a superintendent seeking to resist an application to set aside a creditor’s statutory demand based upon a judgment obtained by registering an adjudication certificate (unled against senior counsel): [2021] NSWSC 1705.

In the matter of 431 Asquith Pty Ltd. .

Declan acted for a developer who set aside a creditor’s statutory demand based upon a judgment obtained by registering an adjudication certificate (unled): [2023].

Property Law

Elkhouri ats Owners SP6534.

In February 2024, Declan acted for an owners corporation in proceedings brought by and against the estate of the penthouse owner and its mortgagee in possession.  The claims and cross-claims were heard concurrently for 8-days in the Supreme Court.  The case concerned outstanding strata levies, challenges to the validity of exclusive use rights and amounts payable for defective works pursuant to by-laws and involved multiple interlocutory applications (Declan led A Sivanathan).

Denning Real Estate Pty Ltd ats XR Property Development Pty Ltd.

Declan acted for a developer in the Supreme Court in an application for a stay of enforcement of judgment (unled).

Spoto ats Ma.

Declan acted for vendors in Supreme Court proceedings who resisted a claim from subsequent purchasers seeking recovery of their forfeited deposit (led by S Goodman SC).

352 Bourke Street Pty Ltd v Rhall.

Declan acted for a developer in Supreme Court proceedings concerning an application for permission to rescind off the plan sales contracts under s66ZL of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (led by IG Roberts SC).

Latest News and Cases

Building & Construction
Design & Building Practitioners Act
09 Jun 2021
Frank Hicks SC
Declan Byrne
Faheem Anwar
Commercial
Litigation Essentials: Subpoenas
14 Feb 2019
Ben Bradley
Scott Goodman SC
Declan Byrne
Building & Construction
Class Actions in the Construction Sector
18 Mar 2021
Lucas Shipway
Declan Byrne
Building & Construction
Creditors Demands vs SOPA CPD
18 Mar 2022
Greenway Chambers
Dinesh Ratnam
Declan Byrne
Andrew Girgis
View All Articles

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