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James Collier



+61 3 8687 7354 0414 870 929

James leads our domestic building disputes and Owners Corporation team. He is one of the most experienced domestic building dispute lawyers in Victoria, having successfully handled hundreds of VCAT, County Court, Supreme Court, and Court of Appeal matters over his 20 year career.


James acts for Owners Corporations in relation to all sorts of issues including:

  • Large combustible cladding claims
  • Other defect disputes involving claims about issues such as cracking render and paintwork, fire separation defects, leaking balconies and planter boxes, rusting balustrades, water ingress to car parks and through curtain windows, calcification of swimming pools and tiling and building works not complying with contracts of sale
  • Prosecutions of breaches of Victoria’s Owners Corporation Act and Rules
  • Interpretation of Owners Corporation Rules
  • Identifying responsibility for maintenance and repair fees
  • Noise and nuisance complaints
  • Disputes regarding use of common property
  • The establishment of management committees and proper procedures
  • Debt recovery.

James’ knowledge of strata law is well known across the industry. He often presents to owners corporation managers and other stakeholders on current issues in the sector.

In James’ view, clients should consider accurate legal advice a given. James separates himself from the pack by achieving cost effective and expeditious outcomes for clients and ensures that he maintains clear and regular lines of communication. James’ view is that a client should never have to call him to find out what is going on with their matter. His advice is provided on time and on budget.


Notable disputes that James has acted in include:

  • Acted in a number of large combustible cladding claims. One recent example is where he was engaged by an owners corporation to sue the builder of a large development for defective cladding after a show-cause notice was issued by the relevant council. The builder argued that the cladding was safe and that the show cause notice was defective. Rather than engage in a dispute with the builder, he proposed an agreement whereby the builder would prosecute an appeal of the building notice to the BAB on behalf of the owners corporation. The appeal, including the provision of expert evidence and legal fees, will be paid for by the builder, thus saving the owners corporation hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Acted for an owners corporation in a $7 million claim against the head contractor, building surveyor and architect in relation to water ingress defects. The claim was settled before hearing on favourable terms.
  • Acted in a claim against a building surveyor concerning a development in the Eastern suburbs with fire separation defects and recovered over $1 million for the plaintiff. This development was the subject of numerous media reports.
  • Recently acted for an owners corporation in relation to a claim against a plumber that was difficult to deal with. The claim concerned significant defects in the roof plumbing. He secured the plumber’s agreement to rectify its defects at no cost to the owners corporation and to rectify additional defects caused by the builder at a reduced sum in lieu of the owners corporation seeking to recover its legal costs.
  • Acted for numerous owners corporations that have sought to remove their managers
  • Recently acted for an owners corporation that was in dispute with its building manager regarding poor performance of its duties.

James is also an expert on the procedures of Domestic Building Disputes Resolution Victoria, having been involved in the drafting of the relevant legislation and conducted numerous seminars for industry stakeholders on its processes 



  • Bachelor of Law, 1999, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Arts, 1997, University of Melbourne


Specialist Accreditations

  • Accredited adjudicator under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (VIC)



  • Australian Professional Indemnity Group
  • Building Dispute Practitioners’ Society
  • Law Institute of Victoria