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Jean Hamilton-Smith

Senior Associate (Australia)
Sydney Australia

Jean specialises in international contentious construction law.

Ten years’ qualified, Jean represents owners, contractors, and major equipment suppliers in a range of cross-border court proceedings and international arbitrations. Jean is currently supporting Anna Sutherland and Jason Betts in a substantial Australian class action arising from a tailings dam failure which occurred in Brazil in 2015.  



Since joining the firm in 2016, Jean has spent several years based in our Tokyo, Dubai and Sydney offices. Jean is admitted in New South Wales, the High Court of Australia, and New York, and is a former federal court judge’s associate to the Honourable Justice O’Reilly in the FCoA.

Jean is recognised in the Australian Financial Review’s Best Lawyers list as “One to Watch” in 2023 in the field of international arbitration.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • a project company in a SIAC arbitration governed by English law, arising out of the construction of a refinery and petrochemical complex in Southeast Asia. The claims under the EPC Contract are valued in excess of USD 1.5 billion, and Jean conducted cross-examination at all four of the liability hearings

  • a joint venture contractor in an UNCITRAL ad hoc arbitration governed by Saudi law and seated in Bahrain, concerning claims arising from the engineering, procurement, and construction of a power station in Saudi Arabia

  • a Ghanaian owner in ICC proceedings seated in London in a dispute against the EPC contractor concerning the construction of a combined cycle tri-fuel power station in Ghana. The claim involved parallel litigation proceedings in the Ghanaian and South African courts

  • a UAE contractor in ICC proceedings seated in London in a dispute against the employer concerning delay and defect claims during the construction of a five-star resort in Abu Dhabi

  • a Chinese subcontractor in ICC proceedings seated in Singapore in a dispute against the EPC contractor arising from delays during the construction of an aromatics plant in Saudi Arabia

  • a Japanese supplier in US litigation in a dispute with the EPC contractor concerning a boiler overheating incident on an EPC power station project in the United States

Jean has completed two client secondments, to a Japanese trading house in Tokyo, and to a French energy company in Dubai.