June 13, 2024
Doyle's Guide

Alexandros Katsikalis, Clashfern Chambers

Alexandros Katsikalis, Clashfern Chambers

Known for his meticulous approach to negotiating and litigating matters, his preparation of comprehensiveadvices, and his skill in articulating arguments to deliver a favourable outcome for the client, Alex has established a broad commercial and civil litigation practice as a barrister in Brisbane since 2011.

In any given year, Alex appears in hundreds of conferences and mediations, the vast majority of which reach settlement. He maintains a level-headed and innovative approach to practical issues arising in negotiations, and avoids surprise by virtue of his thorough preparation and exceptional work ethic.

Widely experienced in complex cases involving professional negligence, banking and finance, property settlement, product liability, and trusts, Alex is relied upon to narrow the scope of intricate matters to their crux.

Alex has been briefed to appear in several cases before the Court of Appeal of Queensland and the High Court of Australia, as discussed below.

Insurance, Tort, and Professional Liability

Throughout his career, Alex has represented a mix of claimants and defendants in a range of insurance cases relating to personal injuries, professional negligence, and product liability. He appears in dozens of conferences and mediations each month in matters ranging in complexity and weight from MVA claims to cerebral palsy claims.

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 has required him to focus on rare issues of symptomatology and pharmacology which 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 spinal cord and amputation cases, running matters relating to vascular injuries, liver poisoning, alleged errors made in plastic and reconstructive surgery, management of fractures, and aspiration during anaesthetic, sepsis and colon perforation.

Alex appeared in the High Court in State of Queensland v Masson [2020] HCA 28; a professional negligence case in which the courts at each level considered the reasonableness of a decision made in exigent circumstances, and weighed the importance of a manual to the principles of breach at common law.

Mules v Ferguson [2015] QCA 5 is another landmark decision 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.

Some major personal injury claims that Alex has been involved in include the seminal case of Kelly v State of Queensland [2013] QSC 106, which required consideration of lesser-explored elements of the Civil Liability Act 2003 (Qld) such as obviousness of risk and dangerous recreational activity.

The case of Prasad v Ingham’s Enterprises Pty Ltd [2016] QCA 147 is another example of the court testing the essential principles of the tort of negligence, and indeed its intricacy resulted in another special leave application in the High Court.

Alex’s time as an in-house solicitor at WorkCover Queensland exposed him to large claims, which he managed with his intricate knowledge of WorkCover internal policies and approaches to claims management including assessment of liability and quantum. He consistently resolved claims at or below lowest claim ranges and within appropriate timeframes, liaising extensively with panel law firms and PIPA insurers.

Banking & Finance Law

Alex has experience in important banking matters such as Lee v ANZ Banking Group Ltd [2013] QCA 236, which 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.

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. Alex advised and argued on issues of agency, estoppel, and the general functions of appellate courts. It was a relatively rare case in which the principles from Fox v Percy were found to apply; the trial judge was found to have had no advantage over the appellate court.

Commercial Law

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.

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 [2014] QCA 173, in which there was a dispute concerning twenty-three parties about a proposal to form a 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.

It was another case which demonstrates 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.

Criminal Law

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 [2011] 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.

Property Law

Property settlement is another area in which Alex has experience, litigating cases such as Piggott v Fraser Coast Regional Council [2012] 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 intricate 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 has also dealt with several matters relating to bodies corporate; a growing area of law which often raises novel legal issues arising from various statutes.

Trusts and Superannuation

In Edington v Board of Trustees of the State Public Sector Superannuation Scheme [2016] QCA 247, Alex delved into the intricacies of trusts and superannuation law arising from a convoluted and drawn-out concatenation of legal issues that led to an application for Special Leave in the High Court.

In this claim for a TPD benefit which had been running for more than a decade, traversing each level of the Queensland court system multiple times 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 disputed required interpretation of superannuation schemes, with the case largely turning on the issue of whether the applicant had a disclosable pre-existing medical condition.

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.

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