Tom Fletcher
Partner, Education Industry Leader, Brisbane
I am a versatile commercial litigation and dispute resolution specialist. My experiences includes acting for education, energy, resources, construction and property clients in court disputes and interactions with regulators.

I have also acted for those clients in a broad range of binding and non-binding alternative dispute resolution processes - international arbitration, domestic arbitration, adjudication, expert determination and bespoke contractual processes.

My client representation in disputes also spans the higher education, vocational education and training, IT, agricultural, telecommunications and health sectors. I also advise universities and private higher and vocational education providers on the broad range of legal, regulatory and reputational risks associated with their operations.

I previously served as the Associate to the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, then Chief Justice of Queensland.

Career highlights

  • Anglo American – represented the company’s subsidiaries in a range of court disputes concerning the supply of coal to Callide Power Station, including in relation to the quality and quantity of coal supplied, liquidated damages claims, the application of force majeure provisions, the exercise of options to extend the contract and rights to terminate the long term supply agreements
  • Brisbane City Council – acted in relation to a series of complex IT disputes with TechnologyOne, a company contracted to supply, implement and support a cloud solution
  • A major resources company – acted in relation to a confidential international arbitration in Singapore under the International Chamber of Commerce rules relating to alleged breaches of a resources supply agreement
  • Wilmar International Limited – acted for a subsidiary in the first deemed arbitration with sugar growers under the controversial amendments to the Sugar Industry Act 1999 (Qld), securing an award that the provision compelling the parties to arbitration was beyond the legislative power of the Queensland Parliament and therefore unconstitutional
  • Thiess Indonesia – acted in a major sovereign risk case, successfully defending assertions by an Indonesian principal that changes to the mining laws and regulations of Indonesia had the effect of bringing a life-of-mine services contract for an Indonesian mine to an end
  • Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal – acted in a series of disputes in adjudication, bespoke alternative dispute resolution processes and the Supreme Court of Queensland with Monadelphous and its Malaysian joint venture partner Muhibbah Engineering, one of the major contractors for the construction of the coal export terminal at Gladstone in Queensland
  • Rio Tinto – acted in relation to a dispute against Russian aluminium company RUSAL and one of its Italian subsidiaries concerning the supply of bauxite from Weipa to the Eurallumina refinery in Sardinia, Italy, and the subsidiary’s failure to take the nominated tonnage following the impacts of the global financial crisis
  • Stanwell Corporation – successfully defended Federal Court proceedings brought by the Australian Energy Regulator for alleged breaches of the good faith rebidding obligation regarding the trading of electricity in the National Electricity Market pursuant to the National Electricity Rules (the first case brought by the AER alleging contravention of the National Electricity Rules)
  • Pharmacy Guild of Australia (with the fiat of the Attorney General of NSW) – acted in regulatory proceedings brought against a subsidiary of Coles concerning the purchase of an online pharmacy business in NSW for more than $50 million, in breach of the regulatory restrictions on pharmacy ownership. obtaining orders compelling the subsidiary to divest itself of the interest
  • Universities – acted for multiple universities in student disciplinary matters (both academic and general misconduct), including in subsequent challenges lodged with external bodies (including the Supreme Court, Federal Court, High Court, administrative tribunals, crime and corruption State regulators and State ombudsmen).
  • Higher education and vocational education and training providers – acted in multiple internal review processes and proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for different private and public providers in relation to cancellation of registration and accreditation decisions made by the Commonwealth education regulators