Alex has a broad commercial and civil litigation practice, focusing heavily on complex matters.
In the commercial sphere, Alex has worked on intricate cases involving banking and finance, property settlement, trusts, as well as body corporate, building and construction disputes and coronial inquests. He has a strong appreciation of the contractual and equitable issues that arise in such cases.
Alex has gained experience in important banking matters such as Lee v ANZ Banking Group Ltd  QCA 236. This case was one of the early recognitions by the Court of Appeal of Queensland that the Code of Banking Practice binds banks and forms part of bank guarantees. The Court held that the appellant’s liability was limited to the bank guarantee, and that the bank had earlier been given judgment for an excessive sum. This case required an application of Alex’s knowledge on the topics of agency, estoppel and the general functions of appellate courts. Lee raised questions of authority on both sides, exploring whether a company director’s authority had been revoked and whether the bank’s agent was authorised to bind it. An Anshun estoppel was unsuccessfully raised by the bank as it failed to show any basis for precluding the appellant from contesting the bank’s case because of an earlier proceeding in a lower court. This was also a relatively rare case where the principles from Fox v Percy were found to apply, meaning the trial judge was found to have had no advantage over the appellate court.
Owing to the time he has spent working in the financial sector and his degree in Commerce, Alex is comfortable dealing with very complex financial arrangements. An example of such an arrangement arose in Dawnlite Pty Ltd v Riverwalk Realty Pty Ltd & Ors  QCA 173, where there was a dispute concerning twenty-three parties about a proposal to form and run a real estate company. In this appeal, Alex confronted issues relating to parties’ intentions to create legal relations and the timing of the incorporation of the subject company. The conduct of each party had to be carefully scrutinised as the Court of Appeal sought to answer whether an agreement had in fact been reached. It was another case that demonstrated how the unrefined nature of reaching commercial agreements does not always sit comfortably with the legal elements of contract law. Dawnlite involved tricky commercial realities and issues of parties’ credibility; aspects that Alex is apt at dealing with following years of experience with commercial litigation.
Certain cases have given Alex the opportunity to refine his knowledge of trust law and insurance law. None has required him to delve into the intricacies of these subjects more so than Edington v Board of Trustees of the State Public Sector Superannuation Scheme  QCA 247, a case with a convoluted concatenate on of legal issues that led an application for special leave with the High Court. In a claim for a TPD benefit that had been running for a decade and a half, traversing multiple times each level of the Queensland court system and also being heard by several Boards and courts in the Federal Court system, Alex exercised his knowledge of trustee-beneficiary relationships and their potential co-existence with contractual relationships. The protracted dispute also required Alex to handle the interpretation of superannuation schemes, with the case largely turning on the issue of whether the appellant had a disclosable pre-existing medical condition or not. Edington also brought into issue elements of administrative law, raising questions of natural justice in circumstances where the Board did not give the appellant an opportunity to make submissions on material adverse to his claim.
Property settlement is another area in which Alex has experience, litigating cases such as Piggott v Fraser Coast Regional Council  QLC 69 in the Land Court of Queensland. That matter – a determination of whether compensation was payable for the compulsory acquisition of land – was a deceptively difficult case which concerned planning approvals, resumption and the nature of interests in resumed land, and also elements of evidence law and the question of the extent to which extrinsic evidence could be used to assist the interpretation of a planning approval.
Alex is regularly briefed in medical negligence claims due to the specific skill set he has developed over the years. Having been involved in a wide range of unique matters pertaining to the conduct of all kinds of medical professionals and institutions, Alex has gained a profound knowledge of medical practice and the disputes that can arise therefrom.
The nuanced nature of certain medical negligence matters that Alex has worked on has required him to turn his mind to particular issues of symptomatology and pharmacology that rarely arise in more typical claims. These in turn necessitated the obtaining of opinions written by medical specialists from all over Australia. Alex has sought expert opinions and provided advice on conditions ranging from asthma to less frequent symptoms and infections such as acute bacterial endocarditis and Cauda Equina Syndrome. He has been involved in many cases concerning injuries to the spinal cord and infections that have led to amputations, regularly acting for plaintiffs who have sustained catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia and injuries to the brain. Alex has run matters relating to vascular injuries, liver poisoning, errors made in plastic and reconstructive surgery, mismanagement of fractures, aspiration during anaesthetic, sepsis and colon perforation.
Mules v Ferguson  QCA 5 is one of the several landmark decisions that Alex has worked on in this field. The Court of Appeal in that case accepted that a general practitioner’s failure to detect and diagnose the presence of cryptococcal meningitis was causative of the appellant’s injuries, overturning the trial judge’s findings on that point. Part of this conclusion was based on the heightened frequency of this insidious disease in the tropical geographical location of the consultation; a consideration that does not normally arise, showing the especial complexity of this case. The trial judge’s finding about the applicability of the defence under s 22 of the Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld) (“CLA”) was also overturned, which was a result that required the relevance of unfavourable expert opinions to be carefully analysed and defeated.
Some major personal injury claims that Alex has been involved in include Kelly v State of Queensland  QSC 106, which required him to consider difficult questions about elements of the CLA such as obviousness of risk and dangerous recreational activity. The Supreme Court of Queensland ultimately found there was no warrant for the relevant authority to reasonably assume that the risk associated with running down the dunes on Fraser Island was obvious enough to not need a greater response. The partial tetraplegia sustained by the plaintiff was held to have been caused by the authority’s breach of duty.
The case of Prasad v Ingham’s Enterprises Pty Ltd  QCA 147 is another that stands out as testing the essential principles of the tort of negligence, and indeed its contentious intricacy resulted in another occasion where special leave was sought from the High Court. The Court of Appeal found that the risk of injury to the employee been reasonably foreseeable but did not similarly overturn the trial judge’s finding on causation.
Alex’s experience in cases that turn on causation has also been useful in the criminal context, specifically in the Court of Appeal’s decision in R v Sharpley  QCA 124. In that case, medical evidence was raised to show the prosecution had not sufficiently proven causation, resulting in a criminal conviction of unlawful killing being overturned.
Alex has been in private practice as a barrister in Brisbane since 2011.