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Donald Robertson

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Donald Robertson

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Donald practises international law and international arbitration arising from commercial transactions. He specialises in international commercial contracts and transactions, and the mechanisms under international law for allocating country and sovereign risk in investments and cross-border transactions. He also has an emphasis on the public international law aspects of corporate social responsibility and human rights as they apply to businesses.

Donald holds numerous international fellowships and a Master of Laws from New York’s Columbia University. He has written extensively for industry journals and publications, such as the Australian Journal of International Law, the Journal of Contract Law and the Australian Resources and Energy Law Journal. He is an affiliate of the Sydney Centre for International Law, and a member of the Journal of Contract Law’s editorial board. An Adjunct Professor of Law at University of Sydney Law School, Donald teaches international contract law and related subjects.


  • Peabody on international coal sales contracts and maritime and shipping issues, which resulted from international coal trading and required expertise on the Standard Coal Trading Agreement and international commercial contracts
  • Santos, Macmahon Holdings, Minmetals Resources and Indophil in relation to investment risks in overseas jurisdictions in emerging and frontier economies, including Africa and Asia. This advice included the analysis of country and sovereign risks, the contractual mechanisms for dealing with those risks and the rights under the Washington Convention and the Energy Charter Treaty.
  • Peabody against Cargill in an arbitration under ICC Rules in relation to a coal sales contract and the effect of force majeure and Supreme Court of NSW proceedings on the application of the international arbitration law regime in Australia.
  • Visa International Service Association in relation to regulation of payment card networks under the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 and Visa Inc in relation to regulatory investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission concerning payment services.
  • BHP Billiton on shipping and letters of credit, including the meaning of Laycan and related maritime issues
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