PCERA 2016 Annual Conference Press Release



Perth Centre for Energy and Resources Annual Conference

by Emiko Watanabe  

The Perth Centre for Energy and Resources (PCERA) held its 2016 annual conference on 28 October at the City of Perth Library, filling the library’s new conference room to capacity with 90 participants.img_1610-by-emiko-watanabe


The conference centred on expert evidence and included the following international and local speakers with a wide range of experience in the energy and resources sector.

  • Mr Christopher Zelestis QC (Barrister, Francis Burt Chambers, Perth)
  • Mr Matthew Gearing QC (Partner, Allen & Overy, Hong Kong)
  • Ms Jill Hoffman (Vice President Upstream Commercial, Woodside Energy, Perth)
  • Mr Graham Walker (Resource Economist, Arbuthnott Walker, Perth)
  • Mr Chris Milburn (Managing Director, FTI Consulting, Toronto)


The panel opened by discussing key legal issues relevant to expert evidence, with Christopher Zelestis QC discussing rules of admissibility and ethics in the use of expert witnesses. Matthew Gearing QC critically explored a number of issues within the arbitral process, including the role of legal experts in international arbitration, “professional experts” versus in field experts, and the use of tribunal appointed experts.


Jill Hoffman presented on commercial interests, confidentiality and conflicts emphasising the importance of involving technical experts early into the process to clearly identify resolution mechanisms and best minimise conflicts.


Graham Walker shared his insights regarding the role of an expert and what legal professionals should be mindful of when engaging experts from the perspective of a resource economist including appreciating the expert’s special “language”.


Chris Milburn provided a practical discussion on various valuation approaches undertaken by experts to assess damages and recent trends observed in practice.


The conference closed with a discussion moderated by Ms Dawna Wright (Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting, Melbourne) and Dr Sam Luttrell (Counsel, Clifford Chance, Perth), opening up a conversation with the panellists and the floor on best principles and practice. Participants continued the discussion with the speakers in the more relaxed setting of the Halford Bar.

img_1653-by-emiko-watanabe PCERA would like to thank all those involved in making this year’s conference a great success.


PCERA is a not-for-profit company, established to coordinate and facilitate the resolution of disputes in the energy and resources sectors and related industries by way of arbitration and other innovative and specialised methods of alternative dispute resolution. More information about PCERA is available at www.pcera.org



Daniella Harlan