David O'Brien
Chairman, Partner
I am a disputes and insolvency lawyer with more than 30 years' experience. I often represent governments, major public corporations, banks and other financial institutions in disputes involving contracts, debt, trust and fiduciary duties, restitutionary claims, tax, torts and trade practices. I also have considerable experience in bankruptcy, deed administrations, liquidations, members’ and creditors’ schemes of arrangement, receiverships and voluntary administrations.
  • +61 7 3119 6159
  • +61 401 148 939

I have considerable experience in bankruptcy, deed administrations, liquidations, members' and creditors' schemes of arrangement, receiverships and voluntary administrations.

I always strive to achieve optimal legal and commercial outcomes for my clients, ideally through alternative dispute resolution. My technical depth, commercial insight and judgment have helped me become a trusted adviser to major corporations across the Asia-Pacific region.

Career Highlights

  • Acting for a number of financial services institutions in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry 
  • BrisConnections Group of Companies – acted for the voluntary administrators , deed administrators and liquidators of the entities leasing and operating the Airport Link Tunnel, a suburban busway and the East–West arterial airport drive, in respect of their $3 billion debt to a banking syndicate and $1 billion debt to equity holders
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet – advised the State of Queensland in prosecuting a $1.2 billion action against IBM Australia Limited, seeking damages for precontractual misrepresentations by IBM in relation to implementing government-wide financial and human resources computer platforms
  • IGas Energy – worked on a $211.5 million merger by scheme of arrangement with Dart Energy Limited
  • Anglo Coal (Jellinbah) Holdings Pty Ltd – defended Supreme Court of Queensland proceedings brought by Marubeni Coal Pty Ltd seeking a declaration that their respective interests in the Lake Vermont Coal Project were held on trust rather than through shareholdings in Jellinbah Group Pty Ltd, plus an account of profits and, in the alternative, equitable compensation
  • Texon Petroleum Limited – worked on the company’s demerger, and the subsequent merger of its Texas gas field assets by scheme of arrangement with Sundance Resources Limited
  • Bundaberg Sugar Limited – advised in relation to a $105 million forward selling sugar contract dispute with Queensland Sugar Limited and growers
  • Commonwealth of Australia – advised the government in its capacity as a subrogated priority creditor of the ASX-listed Forge Group Limited (in liquidation), pursuant to the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012 (Cth)
  • Court-appointed trustees of the LM Managed Performance Fund – acted in relation to the $1 billion Maddison Estate residential and retail precinct development at Coomera on the Gold Coast in Queensland
  • National Australia Bank – defended at trial, and on appeal, a $100 million claim in the Supreme Court of Queensland by AKS Investments Pty Ltd
  • Golden Circle Limited – worked on the company’s $288 million merger by scheme of arrangement with H.J. Heinz Company Australia Limited
  • Queensland Treasury Corporation and Local Government Infrastructure Services Pty Ltd – provided counsel in relation to a $160 million Climate Smart contract dispute with UXC Limited
  • Republic of Nauru – recovered possession of a Boeing 737 aircraft seized at Brisbane Airport, held by the Sheriff of the Supreme Court of Queensland to satisfy a money judgment
  • Scandinavian Airlines System – repossessed an aircraft at Brisbane Airport that had been leased by SAS to Southern Cross Airlines Pty Ltd (trading as Compass Airlines)
  • Described by one client in Chambers Global as “articulate and commercial” and “my first pick for financial litigation – we have a relationship of trust and confidence”.
  • During my career, I have had the conduct of over 120 reported cases.