Gary Francis Bugden OAM was born at Casino, New South Wales, Australia, in 1947 to Francis Aloysius Bugden and Nita Rae Bugden. He was educated at MaristBrothersHigh School, Casino and St John’sCollege “Woodlawn” at Lismore New South Wales. He studied law while articled to the late Leslie Charles Thomas Sedgwick in Casino and was first admitted to legal practice in New South Wales in 1970.
In 1972 Bugden married Margaret Lillian Napier of Armidale New South Wales. They had 3 children together, David Geoffrey Bugden (born in 1973), Anthony Gary Bugden (born in 1975) and Karen Juanita Bugden (born in 1976).
Following completion of his Solicitors Admission Board examinations Bugden was admitted to legal practice as a solicitor by the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He was subsequently admitted as a solicitor by the Supreme Court of Queensland and as a Barrister and Solicitor by the Supreme Courts of Victoria, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. He was appointed a Notary Public for the State of Queensland by the Archbishop of Canterbury, England in 1992.
Bugden was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2006 for “service to the law, particularly through the practice and advancement of legislation relating to strata and community title schemes, and to the community”.
Subsequently, in 2007 Griffith University awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of the University “in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the community in the area of law reform and to the University”.
After completing his articles in 1970 Bugden moved to Sydney and was employed as a solicitor by SaywellBlackshaw& Co. He was eventually admitted to the partnership and the firm later changed its name to Blackshaw Lindsay & Bugden. He has always practiced in the property law area. Initially he combined a general property practice with acting on a range of protected tenancy litigation, but he soon started to practice in the strata titles area. For a period he was involved in strata title disputes, with frequent appearances before Strata Titles Boards and in later years in appeals from the Boards to the New South Wales Supreme Court.
In the late 1970’s he started to act on strata title development projects and by the early 1980’s he practiced almost exclusively in the development area. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s he travelled extensively in North America and Asia studying master planned communities, resort projects and air space developments. He undertook a total of 11 overseas study tours. Then in the early 1980’s he pioneered airspace projects in Australia. He solved the airspace subdivision problems associated with The Connaught in Sydney and subsequently devised and implemented solutions for a range of other early airspace projects, including EastgateGardens, Eastpoint and Chatswood Connection. He also pioneered master planned communities in New South Wales, including devising the underlying structure for the NorwestBusinessPark in Sydney.
Bugden was the driving force behind the introduction of community titles to New South Wales. In 1984, while a member of a working group within the New South Wales Department of Environment and Planning, which was investigating the problems of cluster housing and theme developments (particularly hippy communes), he convinced government to expand the work of the group to scope new legislation for a broad based system of community titles. This eventually led to the introduction of community titles in New South Wales in 1989.
Mallesons Stephen Jaques Partnership
In 1987 Bugden was admitted to the partnership of Australia’s then largest law firm, Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons), as a lateral hire. He was initially resident in the Sydney office, but transferred to Queensland in 1990 to lead a team of southern partners to open the Brisbane office of the firm. Because of Law Society restrictions at the time the firm had to be called Bugden Summerton & Sheehan, after the names of the 3 Mallesons’ partners who transferred to Queensland. Although his Queensland assignment was for a limited 2 year period, he stayed in the Brisbane office of the firm until June 2002 when he retired from general legal practice.
Bugden practiced in the firm’s Property Group, specialising in structured titling (strata, community and airspace titles) and major real estate developments. His practice also involved a range of airport related work, including regulatory issues, mainly for Brisbane and Sydney airports. The nature of his practice was such that he was regularly exposed to aspects of commercial practice, including a good deal of managed investment work.
During his time with the firm Bugden served for 9 years as a member of its National Board and during much of his time in Brisbane he was Managing Partner (later termed Partner in Charge). He had the benefit of management training and experience within the firm, including strategic management courses conducted by the Australian Graduate School of Management and INSEAD (the European Institute of Business Administration).
Throughout his career as a legal practitioner Bugden mixed practice with academic activities. Between 1972 and 1979 he lectured part time in Commercial Law for the Accounting Course conducted by the New South Wales Department of Technical and Further Education. In 1977 he lectured in the Education Programme of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales and between 1979 and 1988 he was a part-time Lecturer in Law in the Faculty of Law of the New South Wales Institute of Technology (University of Technology, Sydney). In 1989 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Law (later Adjunct Professor of Law) by the University of Technology, Sydney, a position he held until the late 1990’s.
He has lectured extensively for professional Continuing Legal Education programs in New South Wales and Queensland and for various industry bodies. He has also delivered visitor lectures to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate University programs.
Bugden was also a long serving member of the Law Course Advisory Committee, University of Technology, Sydney, the Law Faculty Advisory Committee of Bond University (Gold Coast) and the Visiting Committee of the Law Faculty of Griffith University (Brisbane). In 2002 he chaired a committee to review the Law Faculty at BondUniversity.
Law Reform Activities
Bugden has been actively involved in law reform activities since 1979. He served in a voluntary capacity on the following committees that dealt with the reform of common interest land titles:
- New South Wales Government Strata Titles Act Review Committee (1979-1988)
- New South Wales Council of Auctioneers and Agents, Strata Managing Agents Licensing Committee (1981)
- New South Wales Land Titles Office, Strata Titles Staged Development Committee (1979)
- New South Wales Department of Environment and Planning, Working Group Investigating the Problems of Cluster Housing and Theme Development (1984)
- New South WalesLand Titles Office, Leasehold Strata Titles Committee (1984)
- New South WalesLand Titles Office, Staged Strata Development Review Committee (1987)
In addition, he has been involved in the following consultancies:
- 1980-1984 Queensland Government, Department of Justice, on Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980 (Voluntary)
- 1981 Report for The Hon P F P Whelan, LLB MP, New South Wales Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Roads, on “Review of the Strata Titles Act 1973” (Contracted)
- 1983 The Law Commission, UK, “Commonhold – Freehold Flats” (Voluntary)
- 1983 Western Australia Law Reform Commission, Strata Titles (Voluntary)
- 1988 Australian Government, Department of Territories, “Review of the ACT Unit Titles Ordinance” (Contracted)
- 1991 Queensland Premier’s Department, Review of the South Bank Corporation Act 1989 (Contracted)
- 1996-1997 Queensland Department of Natural Resources External Consultant on Body
- Corporate and Community Management legislation (Contracted).
- 2005 New Zealand Department of Building and Housing—“Review of New Zealand’s Unit Titles Act” (Contracted)
- 2006– 2007 Government of the Australian Capital Territory—Review of the ACT Unit Titles Act (Contracted)
- 2007-2008 Government of Vanuatu, strata title component of a Short Term Land Law Reform Project (Contracted).
Between 1993 and 1995 Bugden acted as consultant to the Vietnamese Government (representing the World Bank) on its 1993 review of its Land Law. Then, in 1995, he undertook on behalf of the World Bank a review of the then current land laws in the Kingdom of Cambodia. These assignments followed experience in relation to proposed new strata titles laws for Fiji and new condominium laws to interface with existing land laws in one of the free trade zones in China.
In 2007 and 2009 Bugden was engaged by the Dubai Land Department, United Arab Emirates to assist with the formulation of a strata titles regime for the Emirate, a regime capable of regulating the large and complex projects that are there today.Between 2008 and 2011 he was engaged by the Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to project manage their Real Estate Laws Project. This included policy advice and drafting of a range of Laws and Regulations, including a strata and community titles regime.
Bugden is a regular speaker at legal and industry based seminars and educational programs. In addition to his Australian appearances, he has delivered papers at major venues in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Singapore, Vietnam, China and Fiji. In total, he has delivered well over 350 papers, many of which can be accessed on this web site.
Bugden has written a number of books and loose-leaf services, all published by CCH Australia Limited. In addition, he has served in the following capacities:
- Australian Correspondent North American Condominium magazine (1981-1987)
- New South Wales Editor, Australian Property Law Bulletin (1986-1990)
- General Editor, Australian Property Law Bulletin (1986-1992)
- Editorial Panel, Tourism and Travel Review (1992-1993)
- Regular columnist, Inside Strata (2011 to date).
Bugden is, or has been, a long standing member of the following professional associations or industry bodies:
- Law Society of New South Wales
- Queensland Law Society, Inc
- Australian College of Community Association Lawyers (former Inaugural President)
- Law Council of Australia
- Queensland Society of Notaries (former President)
- Institute of Company Directors
- Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development
- Strata Community Australia (previously, Institute of Strata Title Management) (Life Member)
- Community Associations Institute (USA)
- College of Community Association Lawyers (USA)
- Property Council of Australia
- Urban Development Institute
- Urban Land Institute (USA)
- Middle East and North Africa Real Estate Society
- Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.
He served on the Property Law and Practice Committee of the Queensland Law Society Inc for over 10 years and the Tourism Sub-Committee of the Property Council of Australia, Queensland Division. He was also the Queensland Convenor of the Tourism Taskforce for a number of years and served on the Finance Committee of the Queensland University of Technology Foundation and the Recruitment Committee of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation.
Over the years Bugden has been a director of a number of companies. He was a director of various companies in the Hawaiian Group, being subsidiaries of the Malaysian listed public company Selangor Properties Berhad. He was Chairman of Body Corporate Services Pty Ltd (which he co-founded with the late Alan George), Chairman of Landmarc Limited (a company formed by the Queensland Government to market certain government expertise and technology in overseas jurisdictions), Chairman of ComStrata.com Pty Ltd and Chairman of Domain Resorts Pty Ltd. He was also a director of Insite Asset Management Pty Ltd.
Bugden was on the Council of Bond University for 7 years and served as its Deputy Chancellor for 6 of those years. He also served on the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the University. He is Chairman of Purchasers Strata Inspections Pty Ltd, Mystrata Pty Limited, Mystrata Middle East FZ LLC and PRDnationwide Middle East Real Estate LLC.
In 1974 Bugden and his mother started one of the first specialised strata management companies in New South Wales, Residential Unit Management Pty Ltd. In 1977 he and his mother subsequently started the first specialised strata records inspection business in New South Wales, Purchasers Strata Inspections (now Purchasers Strata Inspections Pty Ltd). Subsequently, in 1999, Bugden and the late Alan George started the first specialised strata management company in Queensland, Body Corporate Services Pty Ltd. In 1999 Bugden and CCH Australia Limited formed a joint venture to develop and market a web based strata management system for self-managed bodies corporate and professional strata managers.
In 2004 Bugden, with his eldest son David, acquired a majority interest in a technology company that was subsequently rebranded Mystrata Pty Ltd. That company now provides technology to users in numerous countries throughout the world.
In 2008 Bugden joined a consortium that acquired the franchise for PRDnationwide for the Middle East Region and worked for many years developing the Region’s leading development consulting practice. That practice has been involved in many of the iconic projects of that Region, including the World’s tallest building in Dubai, BurjKhalifa, Emirates Living Communities in Dubai, Saadiyat Island (Abu Dhabi’s new Cultural Precinct), Al Raha Beach and Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and Sowa Island (the new purpose build CBD of Abu Dhabi).