Asia Pacific Region

Maurice Thompson

Partner, Melbourne


+61 3 8600 7201
+61 437 004 676

Main office

+61 3 8600 7200
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Commodities, resources and mining: Maurice represents bulk storage & handling companies, port owners & operators, commodity trading houses, oil majors and mining & resources companies worldwide in respect of their hard, soft and oil related commodity dealings. He has drafted many of the commercial contracts used by leading Australian and international participants in the Australian hard minerals, biofuels, grain, wool and cotton industries, and has acted in a large number of Australian and international commodity arbitrations and court proceedings.

Shipping: acts for vessel owners, operators, charterers and their P&I, FD&D and H&M underwriters, as well as cargo interests and port owners and operators, in domestic and international litigation and arbitration relating to COAs, charterparties, bills of lading, FPSO contracts, breakbulk and project cargo logistics, collisions, allisions, vessel arrests, oil pollution prosecutions, port & wharf damages and access disputes, and ship sale, purchase & registration matters.

Offshore oil & gas and offshore construction: represents foreign offshore services contractors in relation to risk management and tendering for offshore oil & gas projects and disputes arising under such contracts. He has advised governments, P&I clubs, oilfield operators and offshore service providers in relation to operating in the JPDA in the Timor Sea and off the Australian North West Shelf. He has been on the Emergency Oil Spill Response Team as principal external legal counsel for BHPB, Saudi Aramco and Vela International Marine.

In addition to his Australian legal qualifications, Maurice holds an LLM (Shipping) (Hons) from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, an LLM (Admiralty) (Distinction) from Tulane University in New Orleans in the USA, has studied CIF and FOB contracts at Southampton University in England, is qualified in England and Wales, and worked in China and the Middle East for six years.


Successfully defended a Netherlands based commodity trader in a complex series of cases in the Australian courts involving forward physical contracts and futures contracts of wheat and issues of derivatives under the Australian financial services law
Successfully acted for a French commodity trader/purchaser in a claim up the contract string against Australia’s largest wheat marketer for a breach of contract, which followed the latter calling force majeure under the sales contract during the closure of the port of Brisbane following the 2010 Queensland floods and failing in its collateral duties post such a claim for force majeure. Simultaneously defending a significant claim for demurrage from the CFR purchaser/charterer exploiting significant differences between the sales contract and the CFR purchaser’s charterparty
Engaged by Wheat Exports Australia to conduct an exhaustive legal review of the chartering practices, sales contracts, freight agreements, settlements of demurrage and detention and licensing benchmarks for all exports shipments of a major Australian wheat exporter over an 18 month period


Successfully represented a chemical company claimant in an AUD 120 million claim against the vessel “APL Sydney”, its owners, insurers and the port authority. The claim concerned the negligent fouling of a major gas pipeline by the vessel’s anchor and negligence in the management of the vessel in port, involving ‘new law’ (internationally) relating to the limitation of a shipowners’ liability
Successfully defended an Australian/Chinese minerals exporter in respect of a multi-million dollar claim by Chinese vessel owners arising under a COA involving force majeure and frustration defences following the exporter’s global financial crisis related decision to scale back production at one of its mines and close another, and exporting less product than otherwise agreed in the COA
Successfully defended the Master, crew and German owners of the “ANL Pioneer” in the largest oil pollution prosecution case in Victorian history
Successfully acted for a Lloyd’s Syndicate in the defence of a claim by an assured under the H&M policy in respect of the loss and recovery of an AUD 13 million navy owned submarine rescue vehicle off Western Australia and a ‘sue and labour’ claim circa AUD 20 million

Offshore oil & gas and offshore construction

Successfully acted for a Norwegian offshore LNG production facility contractor/operator in an AUD 13 million claim in the Australian courts arising out of an onshore and offshore construction dispute with a global engineering and project management company
Acting for a global offshore supply vessel operator in an AUD 60 million claim against a major global oilfield operator relating to breach of a supply vessel contract
Advised the Brazilian subsidiary of a major Norwegian oil services company in respect of a USD 50 million claim and arbitration against a global engineering company for various breaches of contract and non-payment relating to the provision by the subsidiary of power generation modules for installation of FPUs for operation in Brazil


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