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James Rigney

Special Counsel


James Rigney

James Rigney

Special Counsel

With over 15 years’ experience, James is recognised by his clients and peers as a leading practitioner who can provide specialist advice in most areas of insurance law and commercial law, with a focus on disputes in the areas of construction, technology, and professional liability.

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Profil & Expérience

With over 15 years’ experience, James is recognised by his clients and peers as a leading practitioner who can provide specialist advice in most areas of insurance law and commercial law, with a focus on disputes in the areas of construction, technology, and professional liability.

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Profil complet

With over 15 years’ experience (and 12 years spent in global law firms), James’ primary practice is to defend professionals and companies in complex litigation and help them navigate regulatory requirements and enquiries. His focus is in the areas of construction, insurance, professional negligence and technology.

James also advises insurers and brokers on complex insurance coverage issues and litigates disputes on behalf of his commercial clients. More recently, James has acted on behalf of Owners Corporations in large-scale construction litigation proceedings against construction companies.

The many professionals that James has had the privilege of defending range from large engineering houses, to accountants, insurance brokers, and financial planners. He has represented clients at Royal Commission hearings and helped them respond to regulatory enquiries. James has also worked hand-in-hand with Clyde & Co’s cyber practice to pursue recovery litigation against wrongdoers, arising from duty breaches by third-party service providers.

He is seen as a technical expert in his chosen fields and is known for being able to distil complex concepts down for clients in a way that is digestible and helps clients make practical decisions quickly. He appreciates the responsibility of being able to help clients in their hour of need. He is known to support clients through ‘thick and thin’ and believe in them at times when others won’t.

James has experience working with global and local insurers, London Market syndicates and their insureds. His technical understanding of client's businesses is critical to developing a fast understanding of the claim and the ability to focus on early settlement strategy if appropriate. Evidence of this is found in his handling of a claim against an accounting firm in which the client had significant exposure. James successfully implemented a strategy to resolve the matter at mediation, and before evidence, therefore minimising unnecessary liability exposure and legal spend for the client.

James has extensive experience in litigated proceedings. In 2019, James defended a global agricultural company in proceedings arising from a crop spraying incident causing widespread damage to crops. Faced with a challenging case on liability, James was able to deploy a strategy of defending the case on causation and quantum instead, which resulted in a successful outcome for his client at Trial.

James is a committee member of the Engineering Discussion Group , the Australian Professional Indemnity Group and the Australian Insurance Law Association. He presents frequently on areas of substantive law and professional skills.

He is admitted to practice in Australia and the United Kingdom, and has litigated claims in numerous jurisdictions in Australia, the UK and Europe.

James is consistently recognised for his work in the industry, most recently he has also been recognised in the 2021 and 2022 "Best Lawyers in Australia" rankings for his expertise in Insurance Law.

  • Professional indemnity: Construction professionals - Acting in defence of various professionals (engineers, architects, building surveyors) regarding claims involving aluminium composite panelling (ACP) and other combustible building materials.
  • Professional indemnity: Engineer - Acting in defence of engineering firm regarding design of bridge abutments in large NSW infrastructure project.
  • Insurance coverage: Arbitration - Advising Underwriters of an engineering company in relation to an arbitrated claim regarding the design and installation of an airport runway at Príncipe Island, off the west coast of Africa.
  • Professional indemnity: Agricultural - Successfully defended a global agricultural company in proceedings brought arising from damage caused during crop spraying - Baldrudgery Nominees Pty Limited v Landmark Operations Limited [2019] NSWDC 565.
  • Professional indemnity: Financial professional - Successfully defended a mortgage broking company in proceedings arising from property investment in regional Queensland - Snowden v Australian Mortgage Assist Pty Ltd [2019] NSWSC 1799.
  • Technology - Acting on behalf of an Australian technology company in Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Proceedings in relation to a dispute regarding satellite internet products and the reselling of bandwidth.
  • Insurance coverage: Retained as coverage counsel in relation to a claim concerning the design and construction of the APLNG pipeline project in Queensland which comprised 13 gas pipelines and 25 associated above ground facilities.
  • Professional indemnity – Accounting: Acting in defence of a $10 million claim by 30 Plaintiffs against an accountant arising out of investment advice provided.
  • Infrastructure - Acted in successful legal proceedings on behalf of an infrastructure company in a claim regarding acoustic engineering defects on a large infrastructure project in a claim worth more than $30 million. UGL Rail Pty Ltd v Wilkinson Murray Pty Ltd [2014] NSWSC 1959.
  • Royal Commission - Acted on behalf of more than 15 aged care service providers in preparing responses to the Australian Government as part of the Aged Care Royal Commission and appearing on behalf of multiple clients during the Aged Care Royal Commission hearings.
  • Regulatory experience – Acting for a client in response to an investigation by the national privacy regulator arising from data breach incidents.
  • Cyber: Recovery actions - Acting for various clients and their insurers in recovery actions against third parties for liabilities arising from data breaches, and ransomware incidents.
  • Arbitration – Acting in arbitration proceedings on behalf of a structural engineer arising from the design of a public building in Western Australia.


Additional Information

Admission dates and jurisdictions

  • 3 October 2003, Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • 1 October 2007 – Senior Courts of England and Wales


  • Bachelor of Media, Macquarie University, Australia
  • Bachelor of Laws, Macquarie University, Australia


  • Committee member of the Engineering Discussion Group
  • The Australian Professional Indemnity Group
  • The Australian Insurance Law Association


  • English

Awards and Recognition

  • Best Lawyers in Australia 2021 and 2022 rankings for Insurance Law


  • Assurance et réassurance

  • Pratiques professionnelles

  • Professionnels de la construction



  • Litiges commerciaux

  • Réglementation et enquêtes