David French

Special Counsel

David is recognised across government for providing strategic legal advice and representation in litigation, insurance and public liability claims. He has acted on behalf of the Queensland Government Insurance Fund, WorkCover and self-insured State Government agencies. He currently represents State Government departments and agencies in pre-litigation claims and in litigation before State courts. 

David has managed claims that have been successfully defended at trial before the Supreme and District courts. He has also managed cases for the State in appellate courts including the High Court, Court of Appeal and Land Appeal Court. David has extensive experience in negotiating with insurers and inter-government and intra- government agencies. He has many years’ experience in managing teams of lawyers who have operated across a large portfolio of public liability and other claims.

In his managerial roles, David has been responsible for the operation of in excess of 400 litigation claims, predominantly comprising public liability claims with an aggregate claim value of over $60 million. 

David has been Crown Law’s liaison officer and more recently Client Relationship Manager for the Department of Transport and Main Roads for a cumulative period of in excess of 10 years. 

David has supervised and managed public liability claims that have been successfully defended in the Supreme and District Courts including:

  • Scarf v State of Queensland and Anor (Supreme Court)
  • Miller v State of Queensland and Anor (Supreme Court)
  • Crombie v State of Queensland and Anor (District Court)
  • Lakefox Pty Ltd v State of Queensland (District Court)
  • Williams v State of Queensland (District Court).

David has also managed cases before:

  • the High Court (application for special leave to appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal) in Miller v State of Queensland and Anor
  • the Court of Appeal:
    • appeal from the decision of the Supreme Court in Scarf v State of Queensland and Anor
    • appeal from the decision of the Supreme Court in Miller v State of Queensland and Anor
    • appeal from a decision of the Supreme Court relating to the strike out of amendments to 
    • a statement of claim made out of time: Thomas v State of Queensland
    • appeal from a decision of the District Court relating to the strike out of amendments to a statement of claim made out of time – Wolfe v State of Queensland.

David has managed large litigation projects arising from events that have attracted wide media attention including:

  • claims arising from stone mastic asphalt surfacing of the Bruce Highway
  • claims arising from the Childers Backpackers Hostel fire.

David has wide-ranging experience in managing litigation including:

  • matters involving whole-of-Government implications that have the potential to create precedents for future claims and claims involving policy or operational significance for the State
  • catastrophic personal injury claims involving multi-million dollar quantum
  • inter-governmental and intra-governmental issues
  • sensitive legal issues
  • advising on quantum, liability and evidence
  • considering the requirement for expert evidence
  • negotiating with insurers, local authorities and private sector entities on complex contribution issues
  • advising on the joinder of third parties, indemnity and contribution
  • advising in relation to the design, maintenance and construction of the State’s highways
  • compulsory land acquisitions, planning and environment and heritage appeals.