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Full Service Capabilities

O’Briens possesses full service capabilities and delivers legal expertise across the full range of commercial endeavour.

To learn more about what we do, select a practice area below:


O’Briens has extensive experience in aviation legal matters. Our clients have included some of the regions leading carriers, industry service providers, aviation financiers and regulatory bodies.

Our experience extends to a complete understanding of the cross border and local matters necessary to operate in the aviation industry in Papua New Guinea.

We have acted in numerous aviation matters including aircraft acquisitions, financings and capital raisings. The firm also pioneered the legal structures necessary to implement fleet securitisation for the first time in Papua New Guinea.

Banking, Finance Services and Insurance

Banking, Insurance and Superannuation transactions are at the heart of the financial services practice of the firm.

The firm has documented numerous loans, advised on superannuation compliance matters and pioneered alternative risk transfer structures and asset securitisation structures in Papua New Guinea.

The expertise of the firm in this area has been recognised by the prudential regulators who have also sought advice from the firm on specific matters in the past.

The firm also acts for financiers, export credit agencies and custodians in big ticket internationally funded project financing transactions for mining, petroleum or infrastructure projects and is familiar with the unique requirements of these transactions.

Construction & Projects

Since 2008 Papua New Guinea has been in a construction boom in its major cities and at the growing number of resource project sites.

The firm advises on all levels of the construction industry from project planning issues, to financing, documentation and the traditional construction law matters surrounding defects, delays and variations.

Engineering Procurement Contracts are frequently encountered and the firm is familiar with all forms of project delivery.

Corporate Finance

Papua New Guinea has a small but important domestic capital market. O’Briens has guided a number of companies undertaking an IPO or compliance listing on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange.

The firm has acted in debt and equity raisings and takeovers code matters a number of times and is also frequently called in to advise on local law in dual listing issues with other exchanges including the ASX, both the AIM and LSE, TSX and other US Securities issuers.

The firm has acted as adviser on Papua New Guinea law for either the issuer or sponsor in all LSE main board listings emanating from Papua New Guinea.

The firm has extensive experience in due diligence investigations and advising on local risk matters for issuers having to complete the United States SEC filings.

Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation

Papua New Guinea has a legal system derived from English common law and equity and the mode of resolution is adversarial rather than inquisitorial.

O’Briens dispute resolution department will ensure that your interests are protected.

The firm has extensive experience in judicial review of administrative decisions. An extensive part of the practice is devoted to ensuring the resource projects are not interrupted by commercial disputes with local communities and that sectional interest groups are kept in check.

The firm also has experience in international arbitration and other forms of non curial dispute resolution in the international environment.

Environment and Climate Change

The firm advises on REDD / REDD+ matters, carbon sequestration, crop substitution, sustainability and forest protection matters.

These are emerging issues which are in a considerable state of flux. The firm has frequent dialogue with the environment regulator and international advisors assisting the Independent State of Papua New Guinea find its way through these issues.

The Papua New Guinea Oil Palm industry operates in accordance with the standards set by the Round Table on Sustainable Production. The SA8000 sustainability standard is not in wide use, although most Papua New Guinea businesses who comply with the general law of Papua New Guinea would be in compliance with or exceed SA8000.

In the more traditional areas of environment practice, the firm advises corporate clients on access to water, marine and air waste discharge and environmental compliance matters.

Fishing & Agricultural Resources

The firm has a substantial practice in representing participants in the tuna fishing industry and keeps a close eye on the practical implementation of the various treaties governing access to the migratory fish stocks of the Pacific Ocean.

O’Briens has also advised major agricultural participants in the oil palm, copra, cocoa and coffee industries and provides advice across a range of industry matters including commodity contracts, financing, international agreements and capital raising.

In 2011 the firm is advising on cutting edge international legal issues surrounding climate change, crop substitution and sustainability.

Foreign Investment

Papua New Guinea has laws requiring foreign investors to obtain approval from the Investment Promotion Authority and these laws have a number of consequences for foreign investors.

O’Briens has an extensive practice based on obtaining these approvals together with a stock of shelf companies ready for transfer to foreign investors wishing to get their investments underway as soon as possible.

The firm also provides registered office and corporate services to international clients.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy is an emerging field of economic endeavour in Papua New Guinea and O’Briens lawyers are advising clients on all aspects of these developments, including the proposed new geothermal energy laws.

The firm is familiar with the requirements for establishing access to geothermal resources, the commercial issues involved with resource establishment and development, including use of the energy in integrated power projects.

Intellectual Property

O’Briens provides advice and representation to parties wishing to register trademarks or patents in Papua New Guinea.

The firm’s dispute resolution has also run a number of infringement actions to enforce intellectual property rights including obtaining orders removing goods marked with counterfeit marks from sale.

Mergers & Acquisitions

The firm has substantial mergers and acquisitions experience and has acted for one of the parties in almost all major acquisitions or divestments in Papua New Guinea over recent years.

In the international context an acquisition, merger of divestment is affected by a host of related issues from foreign investment approvals, industry regulatory approvals, competition law issues, exchange control, dividend streaming, due diligence investigation as well as financing.

The firm is in it element in these complex fields and has acted in transactions ranging up to USD500 million in value.


O’Briens has extensive experience in advising participants in the minerals industry. The firm advises on the legal issues arising on acquisition of exploration acreage, the development into production of mining tenements and the establishment of joint ventures.

The firm also understands the complex requirements for operation of mineral production including environmental laws and interaction of the mining laws with other forms of concomitant land ownership.

A number of operating mines and joint venture participants are clients of the firm.

Oil and Gas

The firm has been active in a number of roles in the petroleum fields ever since it was establish with a major US petroleum client company as first day client.

Today, the firm’s oil and gas practice is vastly different and comprises a number of junior explorers, midstream developers and downstream distributors.

Real Property

The firm acts in the whole range of real estate matters from simple sales and purchase transactions, to complex multi-tenant developments and broad acre property subdivisions.

Our clients include vendors, purchasers, developers, financiers, lessors, lessees and real estate professionals.


The firm advises on a number of shipping issues for a range of clients. Our expertise spans from regulatory matters such as licensing, market access and price control to financing and insurance.

O’Briens frequently deals with a whole range of issues both wet and dry.

The firm’s clients include one of the world’s oldest and largest shipping companies.


A range of telecommunications industry players benefit from O’Briens considerable telecommunications practice.

The firm assisted international satellite operators to break down regulatory barriers by challenging the previous the state monopoly.

Subsequently the firm has acted in numerous matters and has kept abreast of the issues which have flowed from digital convergence.

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