Background

Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (UNSW) 1992

Practice

Frank Hicks SC specialises in commercial law and is primarily engaged in technology and construction disputes concerning commercial, industrial, and infrastructure projects, as well as mining, energy, and renewable energy projects, and large-scale residential developments.  He has appeared for a wide variety of parties, from individuals to large national and multinational companies, as well as State and Commonwealth government entities and statutory corporations.

Generally retained to appear in the Supreme Court of NSW, Frank is also regularly briefed for proceedings in the Federal Court and the superior courts of Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.  He has appeared in the High Court on special leave applications and final hearing.

Frank is also engaged for domestic and international arbitrations, and has advised on and appeared in all other forums of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and expert determination.

Frank has also been appointed as an arbitrator by agreement in private arbitral proceedings and by the NSW Supreme Court as a referee and facilitator of expert conclaves in litigation proceedings.  He enjoys a strong reputation as a mediator for commercial and construction disputes, with an ability to achieve sound and satisfactory settlements of complex matters.

Frank was called to the Bar in 2003 and took silk in 2017.  Prior to the call, he was a Senior Associate in the Disputes division of Clayton Utz’s Construction & Major Projects Group between 1996 and 2002.  From 1993 to 1996, he was a solicitor with Marsdens Lawyers, where he worked in general litigation in Campbelltown and Sydney.

Frank has a deep interest in the law of expert evidence, particularly as it relates to delay, disruption, and programming for construction projects, engineering issues (structural, geotechnical and civil), and architectural/design services.  He has given many presentations for Building and Construction Disputes Workshops, NSW Young Lawyers CLE seminars, UNSW Legal Seminars, and local Law Society CLE seminars, as well as CPD seminars for Greenway Chambers.

Outside of the law, Frank enjoys cricket, rugby (union and league), horse racing and fine music.

Specialisations

  • Construction and infrastructure
  • Commercial law and equity
  • Commercial arbitration
  • Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
  • Mining, energy and renewables
  • Large residential developments

Professional recognition

  • Since 2014, Frank has been ranked by Doyles Guide as a leading and preeminent junior and senior counsel in construction law, in both NSW and Australia.
  • Since 2015, Frank has been identified in the Chambers and Partners Guide, Asia‑Pacific, both as a junior barrister and a silk in Australia for construction and infrastructure disputes.
  • Since 2018, Frank has been recognised in Best Lawyers in Australia for Construction/Infrastructure
  • Since 2023, Frank has been recognised in Legal 500 in Australia for Construction, Infrastructure and Property.

Publications

Frank has been published in the Building and Construction Law Journal and many other publications.  In 2006, he completed the updating and editing of Halsbury's Laws of Australia, Building and Construction title.

Frank's Notable Cases

Tesseract International Pty Ltd v Pascale Construction Pty Ltd. South Australia Court of Appeal and High Court proceedings, which concern a question of law as to the application of statutory schemes for proportionate liability under Part 3 of the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence and Apportionment of Liability) Act 2001 (SA) and Part VIA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) in commercial arbitration.… READ MORE

Practice Area: Appellate, Arbitration, Commercial

Ceerose Pty Ltd v A-Civil Aust Pty Ltd. NSW Court of Appeal proceedings concerning the interpretation and application of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) and issues of jurisdictional error. Related proceedings (A‑Civil v Ceerose [2023] NSWCA 144) concerned the risk of insolvency and the extent to which a respondent can seek production of documents in an endeavour… READ MORE

Practice Area: Administrative Law, Appellate

Demex Pty Ltd v McNab Building Services Pty Ltd. NSW Court of Appeal proceedings concerned the issue of jurisdictional error in the context of an adjudication determination under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW).

Practice Area: Administrative Law, Appellate, statutory construction

NWEC Pty Ltd v Sun Metals Corporation Pty Ltd. Domestic arbitration involving claims for monies, set‑offs and the return of bank guarantees in respect of works carried out at a zinc refinery plant in Queensland. Amount in issue: approximately $A40M.

Practice Area: Arbitration, Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Industrial project

JK Williams v Sydney Water. Land & Environment Court proceedings concerning the performance of works to address erosion in Boundary Creek found to be due to flows from the Penrith Sewage Treatment Plant that was constructed as part of the Replacement Flows Project for the the Greater Western Sydney Area.

Practice Area: Assessment of works, Expert evidence, infrastructure project, Litigation, specific performance

China Railway Construction Engineering (PNG) Limited ats OPH Limited. Proceedings in the Papua New Guinea National Court of Justice for claims and cross claims arising from a construction in Port Moresby. Amount in issue: approximately $A25M.

Practice Area: Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Litigation

Duffy Kennedy Pty Ltd v Galileo Miranda Nominee Pty Ltd. NSW Supreme Court and Court of Appeal proceedings concerning breach of contract, the validity of a ‘show cause notice’, obligation of good faith and adequate and proper consideration to the issues, ot shown that the principal’s representative did not possess the relevant satisfaction, and the use of information provided in the course of ‘without prejudice’… READ MORE

Practice Area: Appellate, Commercial project, Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Litigation

The Owners Strata Plan 98074 v Ceerose Pty Ltd. NSW Supreme Court proceedings concerning breach of statutry warranties under the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) and the defence of a failure to mitigate by the plaintiff. Amount in issue approximately $5M.

Practice Area: Disputes in contract and statute, Large scale residential project, Litigation

Downer Constructions (PNG) v The State of Papua New Guinea. International arbitration involving claims for additional monies for delay and variations in constructing PNG’s Ramu Highway. The proceedings were heard before an international arbitral tribunal in Brisbane. Amount in issue: approximately $A40M.

Practice Area: Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, infrastructure project, International Arbitration - Infrastructure Disputes

Dematic v Nedcon Magazijninrichting. International arbitration concerning the design, fabrication, supply and construction of a regional Queensland storage and distribution facility. The proceedings were heard before an international arbitral tribunal in Sydney. Amount in issue: approximately $20M.

Practice Area: Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Industrial project, International Arbitration - Infrastructure Disputes

AE&E Australia Pty Ltd v Sino Iron Pty Ltd. Domestic arbitration proceedings concerning claims and counterclaims over the design, construction, and commissioning of a combined cycle power plant for mining activities in WA’s Pilbara region. The proceedings were heard before an arbitral tribunal in Perth. Amount in issue: approximately $225M.

Practice Area: Arbitration, Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Industrial project

Walker Group Constructions ats Tzaneros. These NSW Supreme Court proceedings concerned claims for defects in concrete pavements at a trade and transport terminal facility at Molineaux Point, Port Botany. Amount in issue: approximately $15M.

Practice Area: Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, industrial and mining project, Litigation

Redpath Australia Pty Limited v Copper Mines of Tasmania Pty Limited. These NSW Supreme Court proceedings concerned claims and counterclaims for monies and damages arising out of underground or sub-level cave mining operations at Mt Lyell, Tasmania. Amount in issue: approximately $40M.

Practice Area: Commercial and retail project, Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Litigation

Stockland Trust Management Ltd v Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction. These NSW Supreme Court proceedings concerned disputes and claims arising out of a contract for the refurbishment and expansion of Townsville Shopping Centre. Amount in issue: approximately $50M.

Practice Area: Commercial and retail project, Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Litigation

Brookfield Multiplex ats The Owners of Strata Plan 74602 & Anor [2015] NSWSC 1916. These NSW Supreme Court proceedings concerned claims for defects and associated loss in a North Sydney high rise residential development known as the Beau Monde, comprising 241 strata apartments. Amount in issue: approximately $45M.

Practice Area: Disputes in contract, statue, and equity, Large scale residential project, Litigation

Frank has also appeared in many cases concerning the operation and effect of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) and the validity of adjudication determinations in the NSW Supreme Court and the NSW Court of Appeal. This includes Minister for Commerce v Contrax Plumbing (NSW) Pty Ltd & Ors, Dualcorp… READ MORE

Latest News and Cases

Equity
Design And Building Practitioners Act 2020 (NSW)
03 Jul 2020
Frank Hicks SC
Faheem Anwar
Building & Construction
Design & Building Practitioners Act
09 Jun 2021
Frank Hicks SC
Declan Byrne
Faheem Anwar
Commercial
Have Home Owners Warranty Insurers Won A Battle, But Lost The War?
10 Aug 2018
Frank Hicks SC
The Building And Construction Industry Security Of Payment Act: What To Look For Following The 2019 Amendments
20 Sep 2019
Frank Hicks SC
View All Articles

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