Background

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (UNSW) 1992

Frank Hicks SC is a Senior Counsel specialising in commercial law. He is primarily engaged to represent clients 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.

Frank is often briefed to appear in the Federal Court, and in the courts and tribunals of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT. He also appears in domestic and international arbitrations, and has advised on and appeared in other forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and expert determination.

Frank has appeared for a wide variety of parties, from individuals to large corporations, multinational companies, and state and Commonwealth government entities.  Before being called to the NSW Bar, Frank was a Senior Associate in the Disputes division of Clayton Utz’s Construction & Major Projects Group. From 1993 to 1996, he was a solicitor with Marsdens, where he worked in general litigation in Campbelltown and Sydney.

Frank has a deep interest in the law surrounding 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.

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 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 as a Band 1 barrister in Australia for construction and infrastructure disputes and a top new silk for 2018.
  • Since 2018, Frank has been recognised in Best Lawyers in Australia for Construction/Infrastructure.

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

Downer Constructions (PNG) v The State of Papua New Guinea. This was an 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: International Arbitration - Infrastructure Disputes

Dematic v Nedcon Magazijninrichting. This was an 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: International Arbitration - Infrastructure Disputes

AE&E Australia Pty Ltd v Sino Iron Pty Ltd. These arbitration proceedings concerned 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 - Industrial & Infrastructure Disputes

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: Court Proceedings - Industrial & Mining Disputes

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: Court Proceedings - Industrial & Mining Disputes

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: Court Proceedings - Commercial & Retail

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: Court Proceedings - Large Residential

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 Pty Ltd v Remo Constructions Pty Ltd, MTR Corporation (Sydney) NRT Pty Ltd v Thales Australia Ltd, and CPB Contractors Pty Limited v Heyday5 Pty Limited.

Practice Area: Court Proceedings - Industrial & Mining Disputes

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
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