Charles Thornley

Charles Thornley Profile Photo
Charles Thornley Profile Photo

Charles manages the firm’s Construction and Engineering practice. He is the lead advisor to insurance clients in construction and engineering; professional indemnity; and property sectors. He handles some of Australia's largest and most complex construction and engineering disputes and he is regarded as a policy coverage specialist.


Charles has specialised in construction and engineering and property insurance since entering private practice in 1994 in South Africa and maintained his focus after immigrating to Australia in 2003. Charles' extensive experience is complemented by his strong interest in product liability in construction products.

He represents and advises a wide range of construction principals, contractors and consultants on risk and insurance. Insurance industry clients trust his policy wording and interpretation.

Charles is recognised in The Best Lawyers in Australia and in Chambers Asia Pacific for his expertise in insurance law.

Career highlights

Charles' experience includes:

  • advising professional indemnity insurers of the design and construct contractor in current NSW Supreme Court litigation over the Lane Cove Tunnel
  • providing coverage and defence work on a large number of high quantum combustible cladding matters in Australia and New Zealand
  • providing advice and subrogated recovery involving New Zealand's largest geo-thermal power station
  • acting as defence counsel for the designers of the collapsed Koolan Island mine sea-wall, litigated in Western Australia
  • acting as defence counsel for the design joint venture of the new multi-billion-dollar Sydney Metro Northwest Rail Line
  • advising project-specific professional indemnity insurers of the $1 billion Toowoomba Bypass
  • representing the proof engineer in Victorian Supreme Court litigation following the failure of the Morwell River diversion in the Latrobe Valley.