Background

Qualifications

  • Master of Laws (UNSW)
  • Bachelor of Laws (University of Sydney)
  • Bachelor of Science (Hon) University of Sydney

Garth Campbell is a Sydney-based barrister specialising in building and construction law, general commercial law, regulatory law, software litigation and defamation. He has over 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and is also qualified in science, with a focus on mathematics, computer science and electrical engineering.

Garth has worked in both private practice and as an in-house solicitor for a multinational construction company. He has advised and acted for a number of major corporate entities, international banks and private clients. He has also acted in a range of general commercial matters in all jurisdictions in NSW, and in the Federal and High Courts of Australia.

For 13 years, Garth worked as a commercial litigation lawyer in various Australian law firms. Before beginning his career in the law, he gained experience in the financial sector as a quantitative analyst for a leading merchant bank. He has also worked as a computer programming consultant, and as the creative director of a television station in the United States. He brings this diverse experience to his practice as a barrister, as well as the technical and practical knowledge he has gained both in the commercial and legal worlds.

From 2012 to 2015, Garth was an editor on the Australian Construction Law Bulletin.

Specialisations

  • Building and construction law
  • Commercial law and equity
  • Regulatory law
  • Information technology (IT) and software law
  • Defamation

Legal publications

  • Big Choice in Rotten Apples: to pay or to rectify (2018) 29(7&8) ACLB 70
  • Lewence Construction: end of the last chance cash grab for insolvent contractors? (2017) 29(1) ACLB 5
  • Negligence of builders for latent defects that arise long after completion (2014) 26 ACLB 134
  • Agripower Australia – the end of SOP claims on mining leases? (2013) 25 ACLB 66
  • Security of Payment Act claims by insolvent contractors (2013) 24(10) ACLB 154
  • Carbon Tax price increases in construction projects (2012) 24 ACLB 86
  • Completion of residential construction work: When does the clock start ticking? (2011) BCLJ 30
  • Quo Vadis? Towards an effective predatory pricing provision (2009) 17 TPLJ 82
  • Act Reigns in Corporate Bullying Adelaide Advertiser 15 January 2008
  • The Big Chill from Birdsville (Nov 2007) LSJ 64
  • Sovereign Immunity and Equitable Rights Against the Commonwealth (2007) 81 ALJ 406

Focus Areas + Select Cases

Building & Construction

Morrison v Moss & Anor [2019] NSWDC 746.

Appeared for the Builder in a District Court home building matter in which the Builder was held to have validly terminated the contract for non-payment, and the Owner was found to be entitled to rectification costs by way of set off.

Boulus Constructions Pty Ltd v Warrumbungle Shire Council.

Acted on behalf of a builder in NSW Supreme Court proceedings against the Council for unpaid amounts owing under the construction contract. This involved claims for latent conditions relating to asbestos, delay costs, and a cross-claim for damages and delay. The Council cross-claimed for defects under both the contract and section 37 of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020.

Windowline Pty Limited v The Owners Corporation SP 44333 [2020] NSWCATCD.

Successfully prosecuted an Owners Corporation claim against the builder of defective windows in a unit block.

The Walsh Group Construction Pty Ltd v Garcia, Garcia v The Walsh Group Construction Pty Ltd [2020] NSWCATCD.

Successfully acted for the owner of a home alleging defective works as a set off against amounts claimed by the Builder.

The FPC (NSW) Pty Ltd v Bryson, Bryson v The FPC (NSW) Pty Ltd [2021] NSWCATCD.

Successfully acted for the owner of a home alleging defective works as a set off against amounts claimed by the Builder.

C&V Engineering Pty Ltd v Marino Builders Pty Ltd [2020] NSWCA 103.

Appeared unled for C&V Engineering in the Supreme Court of NSW Court of Appeal in a claim relating to an allegedly repudiated building contract. The Court commented favourably on Garth’s advocacy during the hearing (at [43]).

Keegan v Ballast Point Pty Ltd [2022] NSWCA 179.

Appeared unled in the NSW Court of Appeal and was successful for the Builder in a case which is now the leading authority on the role of the certifier in a cost plus building contract. The Owner’s claim that as the architect had not certified an amount for payment, no amount was payable. The Court upheld the builder’s contention that as the contract contained the mechanism for calculation of the amount owing, the architect’s certification was only a useful guide to the Owner as to the amount he had to pay, and was not a condition precedent to payment.

Corporations

In the matter of Australian International Yacht Club Limited [2020] NSWSC 1884.

Successfully obtained leave to bring a derivative action claim on behalf of the majority shareholder/director to prosecute a claim against the other director /shareholder.

In the matter of Australian International Yacht Club Limited [2021] NSWSC 586.

Successfully prosecuted a claim on behalf of the majority shareholder / director against the other shareholder / director and by way of derivative action, for breaches of directors duties, breaches of fiduciary duties, and oppression.

In the matter of Anna Bay Resort Pty Ltd [2022] NSWSC 331.

Appeared for the successful plaintiffs in these proceedings which considered a failed joint venture to construct a beachside resort in Anna Bay, NSW, and provides a useful summary of the principles applicable to onus of proof where there is little documentary evidence available, and the “short circuit” derivative action provision of section 233(1)(g) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Defamation

Muhm v Stevens.

While working as a solicitor, Garth acted for the plaintiff in District Court action against a newsletter publisher.

Traljesic v Yahoo!7 Pty Ltd.

While working as a solicitor, Garth acted for the defendant in this Supreme Court claim of defamation via incorrect photo use.

Money v Nationwide News Pty Limited.

Acted for the plaintiff in this Federal Court claim. The matter was resolved prior to the final hearing.

Other Areas of Practice

Kun Li v Yang Liu (2021) NSWDC 2019 / 168403.

Appeared for the plaintiffs in proceedings involving a claim for restitution of amounts paid under an illegal contract for immigration services.

Software / IT / Patent

ELMO Software Limited v A&S Wholesale Fruit & Vegetables Pty Ltd.

Acted for the defendant / cross-claimant in District Court proceedings regarding the performance of software services under a Software as a Service Contract. The case was settled prior to hearing.

Campaigntrack Pty Ltd v Real Estate Tool Box Pty Ltd [2021] FCA 809.

Acted for the applicant in Federal Court proceedings relating to breach of copyright over a software program. This case was notable in that it found that a subset of statements or instructions within software may itself constitute a 'computer program' and attract copyright.

St Basil’s Homes v Doveria Pty Ltd.

Defended a claim for unpaid amounts under a contract to perform IT services in several aged care facilities, including network design, installation and configuaration, and prosecuted a cross-claim for defective software works.

Watson v Kriticos (Summary Judgment) [2021] FCA 261.

Successfully resisted an application for summary judgment and strike out of a complex pleading in relation to a commercial patent agreement.

Garth's Notable Cases

Keegan v Ballast Point Pty Ltd [2022] NSWCA 179.   Appeared unled in the NSW Court of Appeal and was successful for the Builder in a case which is now the leading authority on the role of the certifier in a cost plus building contract. The Owner’s claim that… READ MORE

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In the matter of Australian International Yacht Club Limited [2021] NSWSC 586.   Successfully prosecuted a claim on behalf of the majority shareholder / director against the other shareholder / director and by way of derivative action, for breaches of directors duties, breaches of fiduciary duties, and oppression.

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Watson v Kriticos (Summary Judgment) [2021] FCA 261. Successfully resisted an application for summary judgment and strike out of a complex pleading in relation to a commercial patent agreement.

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Schieb v Burnheim [2020] NSWSC 1254.   Successfully defended a trustee’s section 66G Conveyancing Act 1919 application for dividing and selling a property. He also prosecuted a claim for damages due to breach of contract for failure to obtain water rights on a jointly purchased rural…

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Latest News and Cases

Building & Construction
Be careful what you wish for: How and when to plead a breach of the statutory duty of care or a defence to the claim under the DBP Act 2020.
10 Feb 2023
Greenway Chambers
Richard Cheney SC
Garth Campbell
Building & Construction
Statutory Duty of Care under the Design and Building Practitioners Act – who is liable?
14 Mar 2023
Greenway Chambers
Garth Campbell
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