Wes is the Head of Wotton + Kearney’s Construction practice. Wes is market-recognised for his expertise in construction, property and energy, and his ability to quickly identify complex factual and technical issues and explain their implications to clients concisely and in plain English. He does this by combining his exceptional legal insight with hands-on industry experience which he gained earlier in his career as a site manager.

Wes’s experience spans the construction and infrastructure, property, energy, transport, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. He advises on complex coverage issues, dual insurance actions, defence of construction professionals and crisis management for local and international insurers. These include local and international insurers, Lloyd’s syndicates in London and Singapore, and self-insured engineers and construction companies. He is also experienced in successfully pursuing high-value subrogated recoveries, including in cross-border matters.

Wes is a senior member of W+K’s Property, Construction & Energy team and an active member of the Australian Professional Indemnity Group, Engineering Discussion Group and Australian Insurance Law Association.

Wes has also been listed as a leading lawyer for Insurance Law, Professional Malpractice Litigation in The Best Lawyers 2022.

Construction + Contract Works

  • Advising the local and overseas underwriters of the Contract Works and Material Damage Policy covering the construction of one of Australia’s longest natural gas pipelines.
  • Advising local and overseas insurers subscribing to a Contract Works and Material Damage Policy on a series of claims arising from the design and construction of the $16 billion Westconnex project.
  • Advising local and London based insurers subscribing to a Contract Works and Delay in Start-up Policy on a large claim arising from the construction of a high-end residential development in Circular Quay.

Industrial Special Risks

  • Advising a large market of international insurers subscribing to a bespoke ISR Policy in relation to the shutdown of a mine after the failure of certain critical processing equipment.
  • Advising an American based ISR insurer in relation to coverage for losses arising from shutdown of a subsea power cable.
  • Advising a local institutional insurer in relation to various policy coverage issues and assisting it in crisis management following various natural catastrophes including Cyclone Debbie, the 2019/2020 bushfires in NSW and VIC, and extensive flooding on the south coast of NSW following an extreme wet weather event in February 2020.
  • Advising Lloyd’s syndicates in London and Singapore in relation to policy coverage issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of various government responses to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

Subrogated Recoveries

  • Acting for an insurer in a successful multi-million subrogation action against a design and construction contractor and head design consultant, recovering 100% of the claim paid.
  • Successfully recovered more than $4 million for an insurer against a design and construction contractor and demolition contractor following a fire in a shopping centre.
  • Acting for an insurer and its insured in a successful multi-million dollar recovery for damage caused to a high-end residential apartment complex in Queensland caused by dust from a neighbouring excavation settling on the insured building and discolouring the facade and other external fixtures and finishes.

Construction PI

  • Acting for the Lloyd’s-based insurer of a building consultant who was sued for more than $3.6 million for negligence and breach of contract.
  • Successfully defending the Eighth Respondent (project manager) in the Lacrosse fire litigation.
  • Defending one of the respondents in the funded class action concerning the importation and distribution of Alucobond branded aluminium composite panels.
Areas of Expertise
  • Construction + Infrastructure
  • Mining + Natural Resources
  • Power, Energy + Renewables
  • Property – Major Loss
  • Subrogated recoveries

Industry Representation
  • Agriculture
  • Construction + Infrastructure
  • Energy, Mining + Power Gen
  • Industrial + Commercial Property
  • Manufacturing
  • Transport

Professional Affiliations
  • Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA)
  • Australian Professional Indemnity Group (APIG)
  • Engineering Discussion Group NSW
  • Law Society of NSW