Obituary - Brian Gallagher


It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death on Wednesday 20 February 2019 of Brian Gallagher – Building Consultant, Arbitrator, and Foundation President and first Life Member of the Building Dispute Practitioners’ Society (“BDPS”). Brian was 81.

A Memorial Service will held at the Heritage Funeral Home, 733 Boronia Road, Wantirna next Friday, 1 March 2019 at 1 pm.

George Golvan QC, with the Honourable David Byrne QC (retired Supreme Court Judge) and other members of our Bar a founding member of the BDPS, speaking at a Special Meeting of the Committee to mark Brian’s retirement from 26 years’ service on the Committee and from practice as a Building Consultant and Arbitrator, described Brian’s idea of forming a multi-disciplinary organisation of persons interested in building disputation as “inspired”.

Mr Justice Robert Brooking (now AO QC and retired from the Court of Appeal) spoke at the inaugural meeting of the BDPS on 5 March 1979. The founding members were Architects, Barristers, Building Consultants and Builders, Engineers, Solicitors and Others.

Brian was a highly respected and much sought-after building consultant who was well known for his professionalism and integrity. He was, in a number of cases, a Special Referee in both the Supreme and County Courts. He was a Grade 1 Arbitrator and Foundation Fellow of IAMA (the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia – now, with LEADR, the Resolution Institute) and published Arbitration Awards in hundreds of Building Disputes in which the amounts in dispute ranged from several thousand dollars to $100 million.

Brian has been described by various Silks as: “a good man and a great arbitrator”; “a plain-speaking, sensible arbitrator who eschewed technicalities and made good decisions”; and one who “taught me a lot about the role of determiner and of being expert – and so of how to approach being Counsel”.


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