Schedule 2018


Thursday 1 March 2018




Registration opens



Opening remarks from the Chairperson: Digital contract and the future of contract law


The principles of contract law evolved long before the advent of information technology. How are blockchain, e-signatures and click wrap contracts changing the way we think about contract law today?

Claire E. Bibby, General Counsel, Author, Public Speaker, Non-Executive Director



Blockchain and the future of smart contracts 


Over the last 12 months, the legal application of blockchain technology has been growing in sophistication, complexity and acceptance. This session will run through the practical legal challenges of smart contracts.

  • How distributed database (ledger) technology works in practice 
  • Challenges and opportunities presented by open-source blockchain platform Ethereum 
  • How to mitigate the risks of bugs in the contract code 
  • Overcoming privacy issues with smart contracts

(Participants may claim 1 CPD Unit: Practice Management and Business skills or Substantive Law)

Michael Bacina, Partner, Piper Alderman



Electronic signatures on contracts: mitigating the risks


While Australian law recognises the validity of e-signatures, they present some legal risks. How can parties ensure and prove that the signors intend to be bound by the contract?

  • Implications of Williams Group Pty Ltd v Crocker [2016] regarding e-signatures 
  • How to confirm the identity of the signor and their intention to be bound by the content of contract 
  • What types of physical record-keeping procedures should be in place when implementing an e-signature program?

Timothy Atkin, Partner,  Commercial Disputes, Maddocks




Morning Refreshments and Networking Break


‘I agree’: enforcing so-called ‘click wrap’ agreements


Businesses and consumers today often enter into binding contracts through online ‘click wrap’ agreements. How are courts interpreting the enforceability of such contracts?

  • The legal differences between ‘clickwrap’, ‘browsewrap’ and ‘sign-in wrap’ contracts 
  • How unfair contract terms provisions set out in part 2-3 of the Australian Consumer Law apply to online contracts 
  • Implications of Surfstone Pty Ltd v Morgan Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd [2016]
  • Is the US Uber case: Meyer v Kalanick (Uber) [2016] relevant to Australian matters?
  • Practical tips to enhance the enforceability of online contracts

Simon Johnson, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth



Warranties, indemnities and exclusions: balancing the speed of negotiation with risk


The indemnity clause remains the most contested clause in any contract negotiation. This session will review trends and best practice in the use of indemnities, exclusion clauses and limits on liability across various sectors.

  • What are the most common indemnities being used today? 
  • What are the consequences of a breach of warranties? 
  • The appropriate commercial circumstances for each indemnity 
  • When does the contra proferentem rule apply? 
  • The interaction between insurance policy terms and indemnifications in contractual arrangements 
  • How important is the removal of an indemnity for consequential loss clause? 
  • To what extent can indemnities enforced over jointly owned assets and non-contracting parties?

James Halliday, Partner, Baker & McKenzie




Networking Lunch



Contract termination part one: breach, repudiation, renewal and damages 


In part one of this two-part session, the presenter will discuss recent developments and cases involving repudiation, damages, renewal and alternative dispute resolution clauses.

  • When does a breach of contract constitute a repudiation of that contract? 
  • Can you recover the cost of management time as damages? PND Civil Group Pty Ltd v Bastow Civil Constructions Pty Ltd [2017] 
  • Implications of Port Macquarie-Hasting Council v Diveva [2017] regarding the contractual interpretation of renewal clauses 
  • Examples of alternative dispute resolution process clauses that can bind parties after termination

Scott Higgins, Partner, Mills Oakley



Contract termination part two: mistake and force majeure


In part two of this two-part session, the presenter will discuss recent developments and cases involving frustration, ‘force majeure’, mistake and mitigation of loss.

  • The doctrine of frustration and force majeure at common law 
  • Sample ‘force majeure’ clauses that allow the non-performing party to escape liability 
  • When does a common mistake, mutual mistake, unilateral mistake or non est factum mistake allow a party to escape a contract? 
  • How to overcome the practical difficulties in running and proving mitigation of loss arguments

Stephen Klotz, Partner, Hall & Wilcox




Afternoon Refreshments and Networking Break


Negotiating with opposing lawyers – practical tips and ethical dilemmas


How far should you go to advance your client’s interests in a contract negotiation? This workshop will share tips on ethical, cooperative negotiation strategies.

  • Ensuring that the other party’s behavior does not get in the way of a settlement 
  • At what point do negotiation tactics transcend the bounds of appropriate behavior? 
  • Convincing opposing lawyers to restrict their drafting to what is essential, and omitting boilerplate clauses 
  • Implications of Masters Home Improvement Pty Ltd v North East Solutions Pty Ltd [2017] regarding parties’ express obligations to act in good faith to resolve their differences 
  • Highly competitive tactics compared with cooperative and problem-solving approaches 

(Participants may claim 1 CPD Unit: Ethics and Professional Responsibility)

Simon Ashworth, Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth




Conference concludes



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Val Baluyot
Event Coordinator

P: +61 2 8437 4700


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