Mineralogy Pty Ltd and Adani Mining Pty Ltd fell into dispute concerning their rights and obligations under a royalty deed. Adani referred the dispute to expert determination under the dispute resolution clause in the deed, and the President of the Queensland Law Society nominated Russell Thirgood as independent expert.
Mineralogy applied to the Supreme Court of Queensland (inter alia) to enjoin the expert determination. It did so on the grounds that the dispute was apt for judicial determination rather expert determination; the dispute was not a dispute within the proper construction of the dispute resolution clause; and the independent expert was not sufficiently independent (this point was abandoned at the hearing). Freeburn J dismissed Mineralogy’s application.
On appeal, the issue was one of construction only. Adopting well-established principles of contractual construction, the Court found that the dispute was a dispute within the meaning of the dispute resolution clause; the evident intention of the parties was to permit the determination of the dispute by expert determination. The Court (Bond and Dalton JA, Boddice J agreeing) dismissed Mineralogy’s appeal.