Brisbane Contact Details:
Level 34, Waterfront Place
1 Eagle Street
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Arbitra Washington D.C. Contact Details:
Arbitra Washington DC
1100 15th Street NW
Washington DC, 20005
Arbitra London Contact Details:
100 St Pauls Churchyard
Russell Thirgood is an independent arbitrator who specialises in complex and high value construction & infrastructure, energy, renewables, natural resources and commercial disputes, practicing predominantly in the Asia Pacific region and out of his Brisbane, London, and Washington DC offices.
Prior to becoming a fulltime arbitrator, Russell spent over 23 years at McCullough Robertson Lawyers, where he was head of arbitration and a senior construction law and infrastructure partner.
Russell is experienced in resolving complex and high value commercial disputes. He has conducted cases throughout Australia, the Pacific, Asia, US, UK, Middle-East and Europe, under some of the key international and domestic arbitral institutional rules. He has been appointed by parties jointly and arbitral institutions, including the ICC and ACICA.
As arbitrator, he applies a modern, robust and dynamic approach to all proceedings. He is responsive to the needs of parties and their counsel to ensure all cases are conducted swiftly, effectively and efficiently. Counsel appearing before him often comment that he is considered, collaborative and concise.
Russell is the current Chair of The Resolution Institute (the pre-eminent dispute resolution organisation in Australia and New Zealand) and is a director of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.
He is regularly recognised by the directories including Who’s Who Legal, Best Lawyers, Doyle’s Guide and Legal 500 Asia Pacific.
“Russell Thirgood is one of Australia’s pre-eminent Grade 1 arbitrators with extensive experience in high-value and complex construction related arbitrations”.
Russell was recently awarded ‘International Arbitration Lawyer of the Year’ by Best Lawyers Australia.
He is a Fellow and Chartered Arbitrator of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
I provide the parties and their counsel with an efficient arbitral process ensuring the ability to be heard. I am responsive to all communications and tailor the arbitral process sensibly. My awards are clear and supported with detailed reasoning. I am an expert in construction and energy matters and ensure that I fully understand complex facts and expert opinions as well as the relevant law(s). I am respectful and considerate to all who appear before me.
Independent Arbitrator (since 1 July 2020); Partner and Head of Arbitration, McCullough Robertson Lawyers (2006 – 2020); Partner in Charge, McCullough Robertson Lawyers Sydney Office (2011-2012); practising lawyer at McCullough Robertson Lawyers from 1998-2020; visiting lecturer at University of Melbourne (Advanced Construction Law); visiting lecturer at University of Queensland (Alternative Dispute Resolution)
What do you regard as the most important differences between arbitration and litigation in court?
Arbitration is a tailored process to suit the commercial needs of the parties. The parties have the ability to choose an arbitrator who is an expert in the subject matter of the dispute. The process is private and confidential which appeals to many businesses. The finality of an arbitration (with limited appeal rights) can also facilitate time and cost savings.
What are the most important qualities for a successful arbitrator to have?
An arbitrator needs to be experienced in the types of matters that she or he is hearing. In terms of process, the arbitrator needs to balance the need for procedural fairness with the expectation of procedural efficiency. In terms of decision making and award writing an arbitrator needs to clearly explain to the parties the reasons for a decision. In large construction and energy matters an arbitrator must get on top of, and have a strong understanding of, the facts and the expert evidence (as well as the relevant law(s)).
What are the best ways to achieve efficiency in arbitration consistent with fairness to all parties?
I embrace the use of technology in the arbitration process including substantive hearings. The online hearing provides the parties with a lot of flexibility and cost saving opportunities. I seek to understand the major issues in contention at an early stage so that a tailored process can be devised for the particular arbitration.
• Fellow of Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)
• Member of Nominations Committee for ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) Australia (2018-
• Australian Disputes Centre (ADC)
• Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC)
• Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) List of Arbitrators
• Singapore International Arbitration (SIAC)
• ICDR Panel of International Arbitrators (ICDR-AAA)
• New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre (NZDRC)
• New Zealand International Arbitration Centre (NZIAC)
• Building Disputes Tribunal, New Zealand
• Queensland Law Society, Australia
• Resolution Institute, Australia
• Roster of International Arbitrators, Juris
• Thai Arbitration Institute List of Arbitrators
• Fellow of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK)
• Fellow of Resolution Institute (previously named Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia
• Member, Panel of Editorial Consultants, Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal
• General Editor, The Arbitrator and Mediator
• Member, Queensland Law Society since 1998
• Member, International Bar Association (International Construction Projects Committee)
• Member, American Bar Association
• Member, Society of Construction Law
• Member, International Trust of Amnesty International (UK)
• Member, Dispute Review Board Federation
• Company Secretary, Resolution Institute
• National Councillor, Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia
• Chair of Arbitration Committee, Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia
• Co-Chair of Arbitration Rules Committee, Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia
• Board of Management, Adelaide University Arbitration Course
• Chair, Regional Arbitration Institute Forum
• Chair, International Law Section of Queensland Law Society
• Chair, Amnesty International Australia
• Adjunct Lecturer, University of Queensland (Alternative Dispute Resolution and Arbitration)
• Adjunct Lecturer, University of Melbourne (Advanced Construction Law and Arbitration)
ACICA; HKIAC; SIAC; LCIA; SHAC; ADMG; New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre; Dubai International Arbitration Centre; Thai Arbitration Institute List of Arbitrators; Grade 1 Arbitrator of Resolution Institute; Queensland Law Society.
Acted as counsel or arbitrator in international and domestic arbitration for 24 years (including experience with ACICA, ICC, JCAA, and ad hoc arbitrations).
“Appeals in Arbitration – To be or not to be”, The International Journal of Arbitration, Volume 87, Issue 3, 2021
'Foreign Investors’ Increasing Awareness of Investor-State Arbitration – view from Australia’ (2020) 39 (1) Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal
‘From Mediation to Arbitration’ (2020) 40(6) Proctor
‘The Non-Responsive Respondent: Taking an Arbitration Forward and How’ (2019) 85(1) The International Journal of Arbitration, Mediation and Dispute Management, 65
‘The Use and Misuse of Expert Evidence: Rules on Experts – A Critical Assessment’ (2019) 13(4) Construction Law International
‘International Arbitration Australia: 2019 Year in Review’ McCullough Robertson Publication
‘The ‘Bones’ Arbitration: An American Cautionary-Tale for Australian Practitioners’ (2019) 1 The ACICA Review 37
‘Apply to Set Aside, or Appeal Against an Award?’ (2018) 38(8) Proctor 14
‘Director’s fury over road block to litigation: Mad Max arbitration to be heard in Hollywood’ (2018) 1 The ACICA Review 25
‘“Fast Track” Arbitration Rules – Room for Development’ (2018) 182 Australian Construction Law Newsletter, 15
‘International Arbitration Australia: 2018 Year in Review’ McCullough Robertson Publication
‘International Commercial Arbitration 101’ (2017) 37(11) Proctor 16
‘Australian Courts’ Approach to Multi-Party and Multi-Contract Arbitration’ (2016) 2 The ACICA Review 29
ADR Forms and Precedents (Lexis Nexis) (2009 to present)
‘International Arbitration: The Justice Business’ (2004) 21(4) Journal of International Arbitration 341
General Editor, The Arbitrator and Mediator (Resolution Institute) (2002 to present)
‘A Critique of Foreign Arbitration in Japan’ (2001) 18(2) Journal of International Arbitration 177
‘Judicial Independence: Attorney-General (Cth) v Tse Chu-Fai’ (2000) 74(10) Australian Law Journal 707
‘A Critique of Foreign Arbitration in China’ (2000) 17(3) Journal of International Arbitration 89
‘Dispute Resolution Chinese Style – The Influences’ (1999) 10(4) Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 266
‘Mediator Intervention to Ensure Fair and Just Outcomes’ (1999) 10(2) Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 142