Contractual Disputes


Contractual disputes can quickly turn into protracted, costly and unpleasant litigation. They generally do long-term damage to the relationships of all involved and add to the overall costs of the contract.

Our Commercial Dispute Resolution team comprises skilled professionals who take a proactive approach to managing contractual disputes. We believe many issues can be avoided by employing ‘watertight’ contracts that can withstand scrutiny and stem the threat of litigation.

However, when a dispute does arise, we work with you to actively pursue the most appropriate dispute strategy to encourage an early and effective resolution.

We provide the full range of services arising out of contractual disputes, including advising on prospects and procedural options, drafting statutory demands and claims, conducting negotiations, instituting and conducting recovery proceedings, and providing representation in litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings.


  • Acting for Mazda Australia, which terminated the services agreement it had with a contractor, leading to threatened legal proceedings for unlawful termination or repudiation of the services agreement. The matter was resolved at mediation on terms that were commercially favourable to the client.
  • Successfully representing Bank of Cyprus Australia in Federal Court and then Supreme Court proceedings in significant recovery proceedings.
  • Successfully representing a major bank in connection with the recovery of a business debt of more than $2 million secured by several residential and commercial properties in two states, joint and several guarantees and cross-guarantees and registered charges given by three associated entities.
  • Successfully representing Underworks Pty Ltd against Pacific Brands and Sara Lee Australasia in Federal Court proceedings and a full Federal Court appeal relating to the assignability of rights under a licence agreement. The judgements are an important addition to the law relating to assignment of choses in action.
  • Acting for Ramsay Health Care in relation to a matter that went to the High Court for a special leave application. Our client’s dispute concerned the interpretation of contracts arising from disposition of hospital assets and involved complex issues of commercial and contract law. The High Court ruled that there was no basis to disturb the Court of Appeal judgement and in effect ruled in favour of our client.
  • Acting for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in defence of $2.4 million Supreme Court of Victoria proceedings commenced by McDonald’s Australia, involving contract breach and property/leasing issues.
  • Acting for a large electrical services subcontractor in relation to a dispute with the head contractor, in connection with a large coal processing redevelopment.
  • Representing Ron Finemore in a significant dispute with Toll Holdings in relation to directors’ duties and contract issues.

Key contact

Graydon acts on behalf of a number of national and overseas clients on large and complex commercial litigation matters...

Related thinking

Litigation & Dispute Resolution| 17 Dec 2015

Contractual penalties: a new legal test in England for determining whether a provision is a penalty

The United Kingdom’s highest court recently handed down an important judgment concerning the doctrine of penalties: Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi; ParkingEye Limited v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 (Cavendish/ParkingEye).

Litigation & Dispute Resolution| 13 Nov 2015

Is it time to revisit the ‘true rule’ in Codelfa?

In previous updates we have observed the ongoing judicial controversy regarding whether evidence of surrounding circumstances is admissible on a question of construction of a contractual provision that is on its face ‘unambiguous or susceptible of only one meaning’.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution| 04 Nov 2015

Case update – Pavlovic v Universal Music Australia Pty Limited [2015] NSWCA 313

On 6 October 2015, the New South Wales Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a trial judge’s decision and held that:

Contractual Disputes| 09 Dec 2013

The Famestock case – The implied contractual duty to co-operate

​There is a strong line of authority in Australia recognising that, as a matter of law, every contract imposes on the parties to it an implied general duty to cooperate.