Dispute Resolver Directory

– Australia

Russell Thirgood

Independent Arbitrator, Expert Determiner and Mediator

Australia and the Asia Pacific
download cv/resumé
About my services

Russell Thirgood is an independent international arbitrator, expert determiner and mediator who specialises in complex and high value construction & infrastructure, energy, renewables, natural resources and commercial disputes, practicing out of Brisbane, London and Washington DC.

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 and Australian Arbitrator of the Year by Australasian Law Awards

He is a Fellow and Chartered Arbitrator of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Experience and qualifications

Appointments as Arbitrator 

  • Sole Arbitrator in a $10million defects case arising out of the design and construction of a zinc refinery.  Appointed by Resolution Institute in April 2022.
  • Sole Arbitrator in an ad hoc arbitration in relation to a dispute pertaining to rectification of construction defects and liability arising out of a lease agreement.  Appointed by the parties jointly in April 2022.
  • Appointed by the President of the Queensland Law Society in April 2022 to resolve a royalty deed dispute between an Indian commodity trading entity and a mining company.  The matter also includes the interpretation of various priority deeds arising out of a potential finance arrangement involving a state-owned bank and is in value of over AUD $100 million.
  • Sole arbitrator in ad hoc international arbitration involving various claims of a combined value of $80 million arising out of a rubber tyre gantry shipping port. Matter involved structural and geotechnical engineering analysis of the structural integrity of various pavements and the interpretation of a design and construct contract.  The governing law was that of Papua New Guinea.  Appointed jointly by the parties.  Awards delivered in December 2021 and April 2022.
  • Appointed by the President of the Queensland Law Society to resolve various disputes arising out of the Building Management Statement for a 37-story building comprising residential apartments and various retail lots.  The determination was made in 2021.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC proceedings seated in Singapore between Malaysian and Indonesian parties. The matter involves the purchase of commodities from the UAE and the application of the principle of force majeure arising out of the global coronavirus pandemic. The governing law was that of Singapore.  Award delivered pursuant to an expedited process in 2021.
  • Sole arbitrator in ACICA proceedings involving extensions of time, delay and disruption, variation and liquidated damages claims arising out of a zinc-copper project. Award delivered pursuant to an expedited process in 2021.
  • Sole arbitrator in USD$10 million repudiation claim involving iron ore mine and Chinese steel mill concerning an offtake agreement. Appointed by ACICA. Award dated April 2020.
  • Sole arbitrator appointed in a dispute involving the terms of a sugar contract between approximately 250 growers and a Chinese owned sugar mill. The value of the contract (and arbitration award) is estimated to be $300 million. Appointed by Commonwealth Treasurer of Australia. Award delivered in February 2020.
  • Sole arbitrator in $10 million claim against the defence force of a Pacific Island nation in relation to a catering services contract. Appointed by the President of the New Zealand Law Society.  The lex arbitri was the law of New Zealand and the governing law was the law of Papua New Guinea.  Three awards delivered in 2020.
  • Sole arbitrator in $2 million dispute between government entity in its capacity as lessor and lessee regarding valuation of lease assets.  Appointed by the President of the Queensland Law Society.
  • Sole arbitrator in $5 million construction dispute relating to variations, extension of time and liquidated damages claims.  Appointed by Resolution Institute.
  • Sole arbitrator in $3 million construction dispute between contractor and subcontractor relating to various variations, extension of time, delay, liquidated damages and defects claims.  Appointed by the President of the Queensland Law Society.
  • Sole arbitrator in $1 million dispute between seller and purchaser of shopping centre regarding warranties and various defective works including the drainage system.  Appointed by the President of the Queensland Law Society.
  • Sole arbitrator in restraint of trade dispute involving the sale of a cleaning and facilities management business.  Appointed by the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia.
  • Sole arbitrator in shareholders’ dispute relating to the dissolution of a global professional services business.  Appointed jointly by the parties.
  • Appointed by the President of the Queensland Law Society to resolve a shareholder agreement and trust deed dispute.

Apointments as Mediator

  • Selection dispute in sporting club
  • Workplace dispute between senior officers of government. 
  • Commercial dispute regarding the termination of a maintenance contract. 
  • Shareholder dispute involving a Chinese property developer and allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct arising out of construction subcontracts. 
  • Construction dispute between the owner of a shopping centre and shop fitting contractor in relation to defective construction works. 
  • Commercial dispute between ASX listed financier and owner of a shopping centre in relation to the supply and financing of equipment. 


Contact Dispute Resolver