David L Williams SC

Appointed Senior Counsel 2003

David is regularly recommended in Doyle’s Guide as one of the Leading Commercial Litigation and Disputes Resolution Senior Counsel – NSW; Leading Professional Indemnity Senior Counsel; Leading Insurance Barristers – NSW; and was selected by his peers as Insurance Lawyer of the Year in 2020. He regularly appears in The Best Lawyers in Australia in various categories. In the latest edition (2023) he is recognised for litigation, class actions and insurance.

David has had more than 30 years’ experience at the Bar and been Senior Counsel for the past 20 years. His areas of practice are extensive. The principal areas include: commercial and equity, corporations, insolvency, insurance and reinsurance and professional negligence. He often appears in complex commercial cases at first instance and appellate level.

David believes that a capable barrister should be able to and should appear in all jurisdictions and engage in a diverse range of casework. His particular interests are pre trial case strategy and cross-examination across all practice areas.

David regularly advises and appears for insurers, reinsurers and insureds in all classes of insurance and reinsurance business and is frequently engaged in professional indemnity and directors’ and officers’ liability disputes. David has appeared for insurers in the leading appellate cases on statutory charge on insurance monies (Chubb v Moore), on sections 40 and 54 of the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 (Cth) (Gosford City Council v GIO) and concerning aggregation (Bank of Queensland v AIG). He recently appeared for the Uniting Church in United Church Property Trust v Allianz – a leading case on many insurance issues.

David appeared in the leading High Court case on privilege against self-exposure to a penalty (Rich v ASIC) and has appeared for defendant directors in civil penalty proceedings concerning the GIO/AMP takeover (ASIC v Vines), the One.Tel liquidation (ASIC v Rich) and the MFS/Octaviar liquidation (ASIC v Managed InvestmentsWhite v ASICAnderson v ASIC).

David advises and appears in all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency.  He appeared in the leading High Court and intermediate appellate cases on deeds of company arrangement (Lehman Brothers v City of Swan and BE Australia v Sutton). He appeared at first instance and on appeal for the principal defendant in the Arrium litigation (Anchorage v Sparkes).

David advises and appears in a diverse range of commercial matters and equity matters. He appeared in Garcia v National Australia Bank – one of the leading High Court cases on unconscionability in a husband/wife/guarantee situation, Aid/Watch v Commission of Taxation – a High Court case defining the boundaries of charitable trusts and in Sze Tu v Lowe – an appellate decision on trusts, tracing, partnerships and indefeasibility of title and limitation of actions.

David has appeared in several class action cases including the Brisbane floods class actions securities class actions, the employment class action concerning casual workers at BHP coal mines and the Gunns forestry plantations.

David’s practice has a particular focus on professional negligence. He regularly appears in professional negligence cases involving lawyers, accountants and other professionals.


David L Williams SC

Delivery Address: Level 9, 180 Phillip Street Sydney NSW 2000

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