Member Profiles

Contact Details

Alistair Wyvill SC
William Forster Chambers

Level 1
26 Harry Chan Avenue

PO Box 4369

Tel: (08) 8982 4700

Alistair Wyvill SC is a barrister at William Forster Chambers in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Year and Place of First Admission

1984, Queensland

2009, appointed Senior Counsel

Other Jurisdictions

High Court, Federal Courts and Tribunals, Northern Territory, Queensland, Papua New Guinea, Western Australia, England & Wales

Degrees, Appointments and Awards

  • B.Econ. LLB (Hons)(Qld), LLM (Distinction) (Lond), receiving the Herbert Smith award from UCL for the highest overall masters degree.
  • President, Northern Territory Bar Association (2014 – 2015)
  • Vice-president, Northern Territory Bar Association (2012 – 2014)
  • Head of Chambers, William Forster Chambers (2011 to 2018)
  • Commonwealth Government Aid Fellowship to Vietnam to conduct courses for Vietnamese judges in bankruptcy law and procedure (1994)
  • Lecturer in Public International Law, NT University (1995-1997)
  • Board member, St Philips Chambers (2nd largest barristers’ chambers in the UK) (2000-2008)
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Law
  • Member, Advocacy Training Council, Australian Bar Association

 Areas of Practice

Administrative and Public Law, Appeals, Arbitration, Commercial Law, Company Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Defamation Media and Internet Law, Employment, Engineering and Construction Disputes, Equity Partnership and Trusts, Human Rights, Injunctions, Insolvency, Insurance, Intellectual Property, International Law, Licensing, Mining Resources and the Environment, Native Title and Land Rights, Professional Services, Negligence, Real Property, Trade Practices, Wills and Probate


Alistair joined William Forster Chambers (for the first time) in 1986 and practiced for 12 years as a barrister in the Northern Territory, predominantly in commercial litigation and appearing in over 24 reported cases.

In 1998, he joined the English Bar and practised from St Philips Chambers in Birmingham. He quickly established himself as one of the Midlands’ leading commercial juniors, being “applauded for his ‘toughness’, teamed with ‘extraordinary ability’, which makes him a popular choice for complex disputes.” (Chambers & Partners, A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2004).  He was seen as a “big star of the future… (and) extremely bright, sensible, commercial and down to earth” (Chambers, 2007). In Chambers 2008, he was listed as the leading commercial junior in the Midlands.

Alistair returned to William Forster Chambers in July 2008. Since his return he has appeared in a large number of major cases some of which are listed below. He practices principally in commercial and construction law but also undertakes matters concerning constitutional, administrative and human rights law, land rights and the defence of criminal prosecutions including those concerning mining, the environment and off-shore fishing.

He has also been actively involved on behalf of the Australian Bar in South-East Asia, including in Timor Leste and in Singapore.  He has taught advocacy and trained advocacy teachers in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Mediation and ADR

Alistair is a trained LEADR mediator and has had extensive experience with all forms of ADR and particularly mediation, both here and in the UK. He has the largest commercial mediation practice in the Territory.

His major cases include:

High Court of Australia

  • Attorney-General (NT) v Emmerson (2014) 253 CLR 393  – constitutional law, criminal property forfeiture
  • Palmer and Another v MacDonnell Shire Council – 29/11/11 – special leave
  •  K & J Burns Electrical Pty Ltd v GRD Group (NT) Pty Ltd – 29/11/11 – special leave
  • Muslimin v The Queen  (2010) 240 CLR 470 – off-shore fishing offences, public international law
  • Horta v Commonwealth (1994) 181 CLR 183 – constitutional law, external affairs power

Full Federal Court

  • Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation v Northern Land Council [2017] FCAFC 48 – Aboriginal Land Rights
  • C Inc v Australian Crime Commission  (2010) 113 ALD 226 – administrative law, NT intervention, Australian Crime Commission
  • Ampol Ltd v Calaby Pty Ltd (1991) 30 FCR 426 –  Petroleum Retail Marketing Franchise Act

Northern Territory Court of Appeal/Full Court

  • Mole v Prior (2016) 36 NTLR 171 – criminal law, police powers of arrest and detention
  • O’Neill v Rankine (2015) 34 NTLR 243 – powers of summary dismissal of Court of Summary Jurisdiction
  • Johnson v Northern Territory (2014) 285 FLR 227 – limitation of actions
  • BAE Systems Australia Ltd v Rothwell (2013) 275 FLR 244 – workers’ compensation
  • Brierty Ltd v Gwelo Developments Pty Ltd (2014) 35 NTLR 13 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act 2004 (NT) adjudication
  • Phelps v Development Consent Authority [2012] NTCA 2 – town planning
  • Dickfoss v Director of Public Prosecutions [2012] NTCA 1 – criminal property forfeiture
  • Finlay Stonemasonry Pty Ltd v JD Sons Nominees Pty Ltd  [2011] NTCA 7 – construction and validity of a commercial lease
  • Palmer and Another v MacDonnell Shire Council (2011) 29 NTLR 90 – proprietary injunctions and payment of legal fees
  • K & J Burns Electrical Pty Ltd v GRD Group (NT) Pty Ltd (2011) 29 NTLR 1 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act adjudication
  • Development Consent Authority v Phelps (2010) 27 NTLR 174 – town planning
  • Director of Public Prosecutions (NT) v Green (2010) 201 A Crim R 513 – criminal property forfeiture
  • A J Lucas Operations Pty Ltd v Mac-Attack Equipment Hire Pty Ltd (2009) 25 NTLR 14 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act adjudication
  • Frances Park (Darwin) Pty Ltd v Chin [2009] NTCA 3 – rescission of land purchase contract
  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Inc v CGU Insurance Ltd  (2009) 24 NTLR 222 – insurance, indemnity costs
  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Inc v CGU Insurance Ltd [2009] NTCA 1 – insurance, construction of policy

Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal

  • BD v The Queen [2017] NTCCA 2 – indecent assault, juries, tendency evidence
  • Leo v The Queen (2014) 34 NTLR 1 – mandatory sentencing
  • The Queen v Ahmad (2012) 31 NTLR 38  – people smuggling, international law

Northern Territory Supreme Court

  • ABB Australia Pty Ltd v CH2M Hill Australia Pty Ltd (No 2) [2017] NTSC 11 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act 2004  (NT) adjudication
  • ABB Australia Pty Ltd v CH2M Hill Australia Pty Ltd (2017) 316 FLR 204 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act 2004 (NT) adjudication
  • CH2M Hill Australia Pty Ltd v ABB Australia Pty Ltd (No 2) [2016] NTSC 43 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act 2004  (NT) adjudication
  • CH2M Hill Australia Pty Ltd v ABB Australia Pty Ltd (2016) 311 FLR 227 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act 2004 (NT) adjudication
  • Cook v Modern Mustering Pty Ltd (2015) 304 FLR 176 – damages for negligence, Helicopter accident
  • Munkara v Bencsevich [2015] NTSC 78 – alcohol protection orders, administrative law, racial discrimination and human rights
  • Krucible Metals Ltd v Department of Mines and Energy (2015) 35 NTLR 198 – mining offences, appeal against conviction and fine
  • Aregar v Australian Fisheries Management Authority [2015] NTSC 61 – off-shore fishing prosecution
  • Environment Centre Northern Territory (NT) Incorporated v Minister for Land Resource Management (2015) 35 NTLR 140 – administrative law, judicial review, water licenses
  • RG v DG [2013] NTSC 66 – child welfare
  • Centrebet Pty Ltd v Baasland (2012) 272 FLR 69; [2013] NTSC 59 – service out of jurisdiction, private international law, gaming and wagering contracts, declarations
  • ASIT Investments Pty Ltd v Koerner (2012) 272 FLR 131 – application of residential tenancies legislation to a caravan park
  • Northern Territory v Anti-Discrimination Commissioner (NT) (2013) 275 FLR 1 – anti-discrimination
  • MV v CEO Department of Children and Families [2012] NTSC 68 – child welfare
  • WM v CEO Department of Children and Families ­[2012] NTSC 67 – child welfare
  • CGU Workers Compensation v Panoy Pty Ltd (2012) 261 FLR 476 – workers compensation, insurance, recovery of money paid under a mistake
  • Department of Construction and Infrastructure v Urban and Rural Contracting Pty Ltd (2012) 31 NTLR 139– challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act adjudication
  • Lee v Agents Licensing Board of the Northern Territory  (2011) 29 NTLR 65 – fiduciary duties, agent’s licensing
  • Yeperenye Pty Ltd v Alice Springs Town Council  (2011) 28 NTLR 141 – local government, validity of a rate
  • Territory Sheet Metal Pty Ltd v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd  (2010) 26 NTLR 1 – illegality
  • Trans Australian Constructions P/L v Nilsen (SA) P/L and Ford (2008) 23 NTLR 123 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act adjudication
  • Independent Fire Sprinklers (NT) Pty Ltd v Sunbuild Pty Ltd (2008) 24 NTLR 15 – challenge to Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Act adjudication
  • Extraman (NT) Pty Ltd v Blenkinship  (2008) 23 NTLR 77 – restraint of trade

Other Major Cases:


  • R v Potter and Mures Fishing Pty Ltd [2015] TASSC 44 – jury trial, fishing offences, public international law, alleged criminal deception in relation to fishing in the New Caledonian Continental Shelf
  • Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation v Northern Land Council [2015] FCA 36, [2016] FCA 1017 – Aboriginal Land Rights
  • Sahring v Commonwealth (2014) 220 FCR 85 – wrongful seizure and destruction by Australian Navy of an Indonesian fishing boat in the Indonesian EEZ
  • Ramsay v Sunbuild Pty Ltd (2014) 221 FCR 315 – constitutional law, industrial law, workplace rights
  • Pritchard v Racecage Pty Ltd (1996) 135 A.L.R. 717  (Fed Ct); (1997) 142 ALR. 527 (Full Fed Ct) – Trade Practices Act claim arising out of the Cannonball Rally tragedy
  • Watson v Trenerry (1998) 122 NTR 1 [NTCA] – flag burning prosecution, human rights
  • Darwin Fibreglass Pty Ltd v Kruhse Enterprises Pty Ltd  (1998) 124 NTR 1; 41 I.P.R. 649 [NTSC] – intellectual property – copying of a swimming pool

United Kingdom

  • Land Rover Group Ltd v UPF (UK) Ltd (in administrative receivership) [2002] EWHC 3183 (QB), [2003] 2 BCLC 222 (Ch) – insolvency, mandatory injunction to compel a receiver to perform a contract
  • Wrexham Association Football Club Ltd v Crucialmove Ltd [2005] EWHC 3059 (Ch), [2006] EWCA Civ 237 (CA) – breach of fiduciary duty by de facto director and validity of company actions
  • OBG Limited v Allan [2005] QB 762, 2 WLR 1174, (CA); [2008] 1 AC 1, [2007] 2 WLR 920 (House of Lords) – liability of trespassing receiver, economic torts

Other major cases include

  • acting for PWC to recover damages for the defective construction of the McArthur River gas spur pipeline
  • acting for the Tapp family in an action against Elders for the unconscionable exploitation of Bill Tapp’s alcoholism
  • acting for Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK’s largest home-builders in various actions arising out of large development projects, including professional negligence claims against geotechnical engineers
  • acting for Ford in the UK in various major supply and industrial disputes
  • acting for a major Australian mining company in international arbitrations concerning international projects in Mauritania and Iraq
  • acting for the family of Michael Matthews, who died whilst descending from the summit of Mount Everest, in an action in the UK to recover damages from the expedition organisers and the oxygen supplier
  • acting for the liquidators of OBG in proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights arising out of the decision of the House of Lords in OBG v Allan


  • Enrichment, Restitution and the Collapsed Negotiations Cases (1993-94) 11 Aust Bar Review 93
  • With D Fitzpatrick, Business Bankruptcy Law Reform in Vietnam (1996) 5 Asia Pacific Law Review 37
  • The Constitutional Entrenchment of Open and Accountable Government, in Constitutional Foundations, Northern Australia Research Unit (1998)
  • The Law of Fraudulent Conveyances as the Basis of Mareva Jurisdiction (1998) 73 ALJ 672