Geoffrey Hancy - Barrister

Cases // Dispute Resolution - Civil & Commercial

Geoff is highly experienced in commercial law dispute resolution in injunction hearings, mediations, trials, arbitrations, and appeals - over many years and in hundreds of decided cases.

He has been adviser and advocate in a wide range of contract cases covering general life or marine insurance, professional liability, sale of land, lease, sale of business, indemnity and building contracts, design and manufacture, equipment supply, employment, labour services, charterparty, and computer software.  Financial loss cases have included misleading conduct, loss of a chance, professional liability and defamation.

Property damage cases have included defective products, lost vessels, cyclone, flood, and bush and other fires.

His record of decided cases includes cases on defamation, confidential information, injunctions, conflicts of law, disputes between companies and their shareholders, banks and their customers, deceased estates, fraud, review of government decisions, inquests, a Royal Commission and a Parliamentary inquiry.

Apart from his usual role as trial lawyer or appeal advocate Geoff has acted as a mediator or arbitrator.

2017
[2017] WASCA 151
Perrine v Carrello

On appeal client was not successful. Companies. Insolvent trading by directors of architectural company. Identification of loss suffered by creditor by reason of the insolvency of the debtor company

[2017] WASCA 110
Christos v Curtin University

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  University client. Personal injury. Employment. University lecturer. Psychiatric illness.  Depressive disorder. Alleged negligence by university staff by “bullying, harassment and victimisation”.  Unsuccessful claim for damages.  Appeal dismissed

[2016] WASCA 90
Kelly v Bluestone Global Ltd (In liq)

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Labour hire company client. Work accident.  Loader and truck at mine site. No breach of duty. Res ipsa loquitur. Whether control of employee and vicarious liability transferred from employer to third party. Future economic loss

2015
[2015] WASCA 241
PG & AM Boyle v Yeing

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Wheat farmer client. Property damage from escape of fire.  Negligence.  Prescribed burning/controlled burning of stubble on farm land.  Damage to neighbour’s machinery. Failure to maintain watch for sufficient time and prevent escape of fire.  Competing expert evidence on fire management. Respondent’s expert evidence preferred at trial. Appeal dismissed

[2015] WASC 258
Austin v Verini

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Owner builder client. House contents insurance. Owner builder in claim against insurer. Liability of owner builder. In 1993 defendant owner builder constructed home with external balcony. Balcony collapsed in 2009 and plaintiffs were injured.  Exclusion in insurance policy for liability arising out of breach of duty as owner. Liability held to arise from activity of building house and not as owner. Third party insurer, WFI Insurance, liable to indemnify insured

[2015] WASC 72
Christos v Curtin University of Technology [No 2]

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  University client.  Psychiatric illness.  Lecturer at university suffering from major depressive disorder.  Dismissed from permanent tenured employment.  Alleged bullying harassment and victimisation by numerous staff.  Claims for damages in contract and negligence dismissed

2014
[2014] WASC 422
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd v Underwriting Members of XL Syndicate 1209 at Lloyds for the 2004 and 2005 Underwriting Years of Account

Interlocutory decision. Mining company client was successful.  Directors and Officers Insurance.  Claim for indemnity for Defence Costs of proceedings brought by Australian and Securities Investments Commission and successfully defended.  Order for trial of liability issues before quantum.

[2014] WADC 147
Sovereign Grange Pty Ltd v Gwynfor Pty Ltd

No appeal. At trial client was not successful.  Tyre seller client. Road transport.  Prime mover and trailers ran off highway and were damaged when steer tyre catastrophically failed after over 170,000 km of use.  Seller of tyre held liable for breach of implied contractual terms of fitness for purpose and merchantable quality.

[2014] HCA 33
Maxwell v Highway Hauliers Pty Ltd

Before High Court client was successful.  On appeal client was successful before Court of Appeal. At trial client was successful. Road transport company client. Heavy haulage vehicle insurance. Insurance Contracts Act (Cth) s54. After contract made insured prime movers were driven by drivers who were not ‘PAQS’ tested, contrary to a term of policy.  Decision of trial judge and Court of Appeal, requiring insurers to indemnify insured, upheld. Insurers’ appeal to the High Court dismissed

[2014] WASCA 162
Acebrook Corporation Pty Ltd v McEwan

On appeal client was successful. At first instance client was not successful.  Farm company client. Workers’ Compensation. Application for review of decision of Director of WorkCover by writ of certiorari. Refusal to extend ‘termination day’.  Worker not able to claim damages.  Calculation of ‘last day of the period of one year after’ the termination day. Appeal allowed and worker’s application dismissed

[2014] WASCA 119
Ward v Metlife Insurance Ltd

On appeal client was not successful, by majority. One appeal judge would have dismissed the appeal in favour of client. At trial client was successful. Life insurer client. Income protection insurance. Former director of accounting firm. Depression. Terms “Occupation”, “Disabled”.

[2014] WADC 54
Yeing v PG & AM Boyle

At trial client was successful. Respondent client was successful on appeal. Property damage from escape of fire.  Negligence.  Prescribed burning/controlled burning of stubble on farm land.  Damage to neighbour’s machinery. Failure to maintain watch for sufficient time and prevent escape of fire.

[2014] WASCA 89
Austin v The Electricity Networks Corporation

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Electricity supplier client. Public liability. Trespasser in transformer compound at disused quarry. High voltage electricity.  Electric shock from 22kV (22,000 volt) power lines to transformer. Loss of both legs. Plaintiff/Appellant engaged in criminal conduct. Defence under Offenders (Legal Action) Act 2000 (WA). Plaintiff’s appeal to the Court of Appeal dismissed

[2014] WADC 43
Kelly v Humanis Group Limited

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Labour hire company client. Vicarious liablity for conduct of employee.  Driver of haulpak truck injured at iron ore mine. Rear tray of haulpak struck by bucket of loader. Claim for damages against labour hire company who employed the loader driver. No negligence. Transfer of control of employee to mining contractor. Loader driver employee pro hac vice of the mining contractor. Labour hire company not vicariously liable for conduct of its employee

[2014] WASCA 11
St John of God Health Care v Austin

On appeal client was not successful, but by majority decision.  One appeal judge would have allowed the appeal in favour of health care company client. .  At first instance client was not successful.  Workers’ compensation. Worker failed to make election to retain right to claim damage before commencing proceedings for damages

2013
[2013] WASC 355
McEwan v Director of Dispute Resolution

On appeal client was successful. At first instance client was not successful.  Farm company client. Workers’ compensation. Application for writ of certiorari against Director. Failure to extend ‘termination day’ to enable worker to elect to claim damages

[2013] WASCA 115 (S)
Maxwell v Highway Hauliers

Interlocutory decision, client was successful.  Insurers unreasonably failed to accept settlement offer for appeal. Ordered to pay indemnity costs from date when offer ought to have been accepted.

[2013] WASCA 115
Maxwell v Highway Hauliers

Before High Court client was successful.  On appeal client was successful before Court of Appeal. At trial client was successful. Road transport company client. Heavy haulage vehicle insurance. Decision of trial judge, requiring insurers to indemnify insured, upheld. Insurers’ appeal dismissed

[2013] WADC 41
Austin v The Electricity Networks Corporation [No 2]

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Electricity supplier client. Public liability. Trespasser in transformer compound at disused quarry. High voltage electricity.  Electric shock from 22kV (22,000 volt) power lines to transformer. Loss of both legs. Engaged in criminal conduct. Defence under Offenders (Legal Action) Act 2000 (WA). Claim dismissed

[2013] FCA 116
Alstom Limited v Liberty Mutual Insurance

At trial client was not successful. Marine insurer client. Marine insurance. Gas turbine transformers damaged during sea voyage. Claim for production of documents in possession of Indian manufacturer relevant to packing. Insured held entitled to indemnity for repair costs

[2013] WASCA 19
Thomas Peacock v Abreu

On appeal client was successful. At first instance client was not successful. Bed manufacturer client. Employer’s liability. Limitation period. Writ issued more than 3 years after cause of action accrued. Whether limitation period under Limitation Act 2005 (WA) applied or was excluded by Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA). Claim held to be statute barred. Action dismissed

2012
[2012] WASCA 258
Alinta 2000 Ltd v Petkov

On application for leave to appeal client was not successful.  At first instance client was not successful.  Gas supplier client. Alleged injury from residential gas explosion. Substitution of new defendant permitted

[2012] WADC 166
Ward v MetLife

On appeal client was not successful, by majority. One appeal judge would have dismissed the appeal in favour of client. At trial client was successful. Life insurer. Income protection insurance. Director of accounting firm. Depression. Held not disabled.

[2012] WASCA 230
Secure Parking (WA) Pty Ltd v Wilson

On appeal client was successful. At first instance client was not successful. Car park company client. Appeal allowed from summary dismissal of actions as abuse of process. Actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty by employee and manager. Earlier successful claim for breach of contract. Anshun estoppel not applicable. Actions remitted to different first instance Judge.

[2012] FCAFC 156
Daebo Shipping v The Ship ‘Go Star’

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was not successful. Shipping company client. Claim for delivery up of bunkers. Claim for damages for interference with contract (charterparty). Choice of law. Tort in Singapore. Owner liable for interference with contractual relations

[2012] WADC 136
Taylor v Hanseatic Marine

At trial client was successful. Ship building company client. Employer’s liability. Employee working overseas on yacht and injured when travelling on a tender from harbour to the yacht. Whether foreseeable risk of injury. Whether breach of duty. Casual act of negligence. Causation

[2012] FCA 907
Marine & Civil Construction Company v SGS Australia

At trial client was not successful. Marine and civil construction company client. Misleading conduct. Survey of sea fastenings for crane to be towed on ocean going barge. Report that lashings appeared satisfactory, despite factual inadequacy for sea voyage, held not to be misleading

[2012] WASC 185
Londsdale Investments Pty Ltd v OM (Manganese) Ltd [No 3]

At trial client was not successful. Process design engineers client. Design of manganese ore processing plant. Designed for dry free flowing ore. Mined ore was not free flowing. Process design engineers held liable for ‘rectification’ costs.

[2012] WADC 28
Banerjee v Shah

At trial client was not successful. Dentist client. Negligent prosthodontic treatment

[2012] WASC 53
Highway Hauliers v Maxwell

Before High Court client was successful.  On appeal client was successful before Court of Appeal. At trial client was successful. Road transport company client. Heavy haulage vehicle insurance. Operation of prime mover and trailer combinations by drivers who were not ‘PAQS’ tested. Section 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act precluded insurer from denying indemnity. By reason of breach of contract of insurance, insurer liable to pay damages for loss of opportunity to earn profits from replacement vehicle

[2012] WASCA 19
Parlin v ChoiceOne Pty Ltd

On appeal client was successful before Court of Appeal. At trial client was not successful. Labour hire company client. Work accident. Hired driller’s offsider injured from fire on drill rig at mine site. Plaintiff’s claim settled. De facto employer sought contribution from labour hire company as legal employer and concurrent tortfeasor. Ordered to pay 20%

2011
[2011] WASCA 252
Van der Velde v Halloran

On appeal client was successful. Car crash. Failure of trial judge to give adequate reasons for decision. Dispute between medical experts about cause of plaintiff’s ongoing symptoms and disabilities. Trial judge found for the plaintiff but failed to give adequate reasons for, and did not address medical evidence that was against, his finding

[2011] FCA 1015
Daebo Shipping v The Ship ‘Go Star’

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was not successful. Shipping company client. Claim for delivery up of bunkers. Claim for damages for interference with contract (charterparty). Choice of law. Law of China held applicable

[2011] WASCA 134
Divjakoski v Boral Window Systems

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful. Window manufacturer client. Appeal dismissed from trial judgment dismissing claim for damages. Work accident. Hired labourer allegedly injured from fall on wet floor surface

[2011] WASCA 92
Thornton v Newcrest Mining Ltd

On appeal client was not successful. Mining company client. Work accident at mine site. Worker settled claim against employer with entry of consent judgment that was satisfied. Then claimed in new action against occupier of mine site. Worker not precluded from proceeding with second claim.

2010
[2010] WADC 92
Barns v Parlin Pty Ltd

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was not successful. Labour hire company client. Work accident. Hired driller’s offsided injured from fire on drill rig at mine site. Plaintiff’s claim settled. De facto employer sought contribution from labour hire company as legal employer and concurrent tortfeasor

[2010] FCA 588
Alstom Limited v Liberty Mutual Insurance

Interlocutory decision.  Client was successful. Marine insurance. Gas turbine transformers damaged during sea voyage. Claim for production of documents in possession of Indian manufacturer relevant to packing

[2010] WADC 79
Brien v Hamersly Iron Pty Ltd

At trial client was successful. Mining company client. Work accident. Contract geologist. Received workers’ compensation in Victoria. Claimed damages for negligence in Western Australia. Held that worker required to have agreement as to or assessment of degree of permanent disability.

[2010] WADC 60
Divjakoski v Boral Window Systems

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful. Window manufacturer client. Work accident. Hired labourer allegedly injured from fall on wet floor surface. No foreseeable risk of injury. No negligence and no incapacity to extent alleged. Finding of significant dishonesty by plaintiff.

[2010] FMCA 191
Secure Parking (WA) Pty Ltd v Francis and McPhee

Interlocutory decision. Client was successful. Lawyer. Claim in negligence against bankrupt solicitor. Leave to commence and continue proceedings in Supreme Court of Western Australia, granted retrospectively (nunc pro tunc) by Federal Magistrates Court

[2010] WASCA 52
Le Brun v Joseph, Bested, Kearon and Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was successful.  Hospital and doctor clients.  Alleged medical malpractice. Headaches. Rupture of undiagnosed cerebral arteriovenous malformation. Failure by doctors and hospital to refer for CT scan or to neurologist or neurosurgeon. Brain damage. Appeal from finding that damage not caused by conduct of defendants

2009
[2009] WASC 369
Ward v Keet

At trial client was not successful. Accountant client. Alleged liability for estate funds misappropriated by fraudulent employee. Whether claim settled at mediation. Essential term for timing of payments by instalments not agreed. Whether misrepresentation induced accountant to enter into settlement agreement

[2009] WASCA 213
Westina Corporation Pty Ltd v BGC Contracting Pty Ltd and Keys

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was not successful.  Road transport company client. Appeal allowed. Cross appeal dismissed. Negligence established. Neither BGC nor its driver entitled to indemnity. Bare indemnity. Reflexive indemnity. Privity of contract. Property Law Act 1969 section 11(2)

[2009] WASCA 190
Jasmina Investments Pty Ltd v Vlahos

On appeal client was successful. Motel operator client. Work accident. Injured knee when kneeling on bar stool and changing light globe. Ladder available but not used. Appeal allowed. Employer was not negligent. No causation

[2009] WASCA 181
Drexel London v Gove and others

On appeal client was successful. Strata company client. Architects, engineers, local government (City), and strata company. Catastrophic apartment residence balcony collapse at New Year’s Eve party. Supporting timber (oregon) not appropriate for exterior use. Thirty five injured partygoers. Strata company and local council not liable. Architects and engineers liable.

Applications to the High Court for special leave to appeal were dismissed on 28 May 2010 [2010] HCA Trans 147

[2009] WASCA 163
Auxil Pty Ltd v Terranova

On appeal client was successful. Real estate agent client. Misrepresentation about value of offer to buy land. Whether unaccepted offers admissible evidence of value

[2009] FCA 467
Sartori v BM2008 Pty Ltd (ACN 005 762 685)

Interlocutory decision.  Client was not successful. Dispute over purported share issue. Whether share issue invalid, oppressive or unfairly prejudicial. Whether proceeding should be transferred from Western Australia to Victoria.

[2009] FCA 283
Phillips v ING Life Limited

An appeal was fully argued but settled before judgment. At trial client was not successful.  Life insurance contract beneficiary client. Life insurance contract. Barrett’s oesophagous. Whether non-disclosure or misrepresentation. Whether waiver of duty of disclosure. Compliance with s.29(4) of Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth).

This decision was the subject of an appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court (on grounds of misapprehension of medical evidence and erroneous finding as to who was the insured’s personal representative).The appeal was fully argued but the case settled before an appeal judgment was delivered

[2009] WASC 61
Perpetual Trustees WA Ltd v Macfarlane

At trial client was successful.  Beneficiary under will client. Will dispute. Gift by testator of interest in group of shops to his daughters in equal shares. Ultimate devolution of share of childless daughter.

[2009] WASCA 62
Jubilee Mines NL v Riley

On appeal client was not successful. At trial client was successful. Claim by former shareholder client for loss on shares sold at undervalue. Continuous disclosure obligations of public listed company. Information required to be disclosed

[2009] WASC 52
Clambake Pty Ltd v Tipperary Projects Pty Ltd (No.3)

At trial client was successful. Real estate agent client. Leased warehouse. Stored antiques, paintings and curios destroyed by fire. Allegation that premises should have contained activated automatic fire sprinkler system. Alleged negligence or misleading conduct. Action dismissed

[2009] WASCA 16
DP World Australia Ltd v Fremantle Port Authority

On appeal client was successful. At first instance client was successful.  Stevedoring company client. Property damage to port authority’s ship unloader in storm. Negligence. Indemnity contract. Previous claim by injured worker. Issue estoppel. Res judicataAnshun estoppel. Appeal from decision [2007] WADC 202 dismissing application by DP World for defendant’s summary judgment

2008
[2008] WADC 183
Westina Corporation Pty Ltd v BGC Contracting Pty Ltd and Keys

On appeal client was successful. At trial client was not successful.  Road transport company client. Collision on road to mine site between Westina’s prime mover and trailer of approaching BGC road train. Prime mover hired to BGC. BGC driver negligently failed to keep trailer on correct side of road. Indemnity in hire contract. BGC and driver of road train held entitled to benefit of the indemnity

[2008] WASCA 268 (2008) 38 WAR 350
Secure Parking Pty Ltd v Wilson and Nullagine Pty Ltd

On appeal client was successful.  Car park company client. Sale of car park business to proposed assignee of lease. Lease not assigned.  Vendor / lessee failed to renew lease for purchaser’s benefit.  Implied term. Duty of parties to cooperate

[2008] WADC 161
Carpenter v Hinkley

No appeal was instituted. At trial client was not successful.  Farmer client. Escape of fire. Damage to farm land caused by overheated failed bearing of crop harvester. Negligence. Breach of duty of care for failure to have bearings inspected by mechanic before harvesting season

[2008] FCA 385
Phosphate Resources Ltd v Minister for the Environment, Heritage & The Arts

At trial client was successful.  Phosphate company client. Judicial review of decision by Minister refusing permission for further mining of phosphate on Christmas Island. Decision of the MInister set aside. Minister failed to take into account Environmental Impact Statement and failed to apply correct statutory test under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)

[2008] WADC 118
Do v King Edward Memorial & Princess Margaret Hospitals Board

At trial client was successful. Maternity hospital client. Alleged malpractice. Baby born with severe brain damage. Not caused by conduct of hospital or its staff

[2008] WASCA 112
A Goninan Ltd v Direct Engineering Services Pty Ltd (No.2)

On appeal client was successful. Rail maintenance company client. Subrogated claim by insurer. Agreement by contractor to obtain insurance for sub-contractors. Damage by fire to construction works by sub-contractor’s negligence. Insurance of sub-contractors. Application for special leave to appeal to the High Court dismissed [2008] HCATrans 380

[2008] WADC 21
Do v King Edward Memorial & Princess Margaret Hospitals Board

At trial client was successful. Interlocutory decision. Maternity hospital client. Alleged malpractice. Baby born with severe brain damage. Pleading causation. Particulars of causation.

[2007] WASCA 286 (2007) 35 WAR 394
Clambake Pty Ltd v Owston Nominees No.2

At trial client was successful. On interlocutory appeal client was not successful. Real estate agent client. Warehoused antiques, paintings and curios destroyed by fire. Factual foundation of expert evidence.

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