GREG CURTIN SC
Commissions and other inquiries
Canberra and Sydney
I have been a practicing barrister since 1989 and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2010.
I have appeared as counsel in many appeals to the High Court, the NSW Court of Appeal and the Full Court of the Federal Court, and many first instance matters in superior courts.
I have appeared at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, both as counsel assisting and as counsel representing persons of interest.
I have appeared for parties at coronial inquests and appeared for parties at a number of royal commissions including the HIH Royal Commission.
I am familiar and experienced with alternative dispute resolution.
I am a part-time Senior Member of the Appeal Panel and Occupational Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing internal appeals and disciplinary matters concerning barristers.
McFee v Reilly
 NSWCA 322
APPEAL — Challenges to findings of primary fact — Whether adequate cross-examination to permit rejection of parties’ and witnesses’ evidence — Whether primary judge grappled with competing evidence — Challenges to findings of primary fact rejected.
EQUITY — Breach of fiduciary duty — Enduring attorney instructed solicitor to make inter vivos gift of principal’s main asset to four of five children — Attorney found to have done so on basis of what she considered to be “fair” — Whether breach of duty — Whether solicitor had knowledge of breach of fiduciary duty — Whether solicitor’s knowledge imputed to four children — Whether four children were knowing recipients of property — Whether fraud exception to indefeasibility made out — Whether children required to provide equitable compensation to estate — Four children were knowing recipients of property for the value of which they had to account, but indefeasibility meant that the property was not held on constructive trust for estate.
LEGAL PRACTITIONERS — Solicitor — Retainer — Solicitor retained by enduring attorney on behalf of incapable principal — Solicitor instructed to convey property to four of five children without consideration — Whether solicitor acting for children — Whether knowledge of solicitor imputed to children for purposes of Barnes v Addy liability of children — Knowledge of solicitor imputed to children.
NEGLIGENCE — Duty of care — Duty of solicitors retained by enduring attorney of incapable principal — Attorney instructed solicitor to convey principal’s main asset to four children without consideration — Whether duty of care owed by solicitor to testamentary beneficiary disappointed by inter vivos transaction — Significance of testator being incapable — Significance of retainer extending to estate planning — Whether duty breached by solicitor — Whether breach caused loss — Duty, breach and causation established.
PROCEDURE — Whether appeal commenced within time — Where issues as to liability and damages remained for determination — Whether cross-appeals required leave — Requisite extension of time and leave granted.
SUCCESSION — Wills — Rectification — Professionally drafted will — Obvious error in failing to specify beneficiary of testator’s main asset — Whether error by primary judge in rectifying will — Challenge to rectification of will rejected.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Servcorp Limited
 FCA 1044
CONSUMER LAW — Unfair contract terms — Where the parties are agreed that the relevant contracts were standard form contracts within the meaning of s 27 of the Australian Consumer Law, being Sch 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (ACL) and small business contracts within the meaning of s 23(4) of the ACL — Where the parties are agreed that the contracts contained terms which created a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations in favour of the second and third respondents and would cause detriment to the small business client if relied on by the second and third respondents — Where the parties jointly submit that the relevant terms in the contract are unfair terms within the meaning of s 24(1) of the ACL — Whether the Court should make the proposed declarations and orders — Application allowed.
Simic v New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation
(2016) 260 CLR 85
CONTRACT — Construction of terms — Performance bonds — Where unconditional undertakings by financial institution to pay on demand (“Undertakings”) required as security under construction contract — Where Undertakings and underlying finance applications erroneously referred to non-existent entity as payee because incorrect information provided by applicant for security — Principle of autonomy — Principle of strict compliance — Whether possible to construe references to non-existent entity in Undertakings and applications as references to counterparty to construction contract.
CONTRACT — Rectification — Actual or true common intention of parties — Where references to non-existent entity in Undertakings and applications result of common mistake — Whether rectification available to correct references to non — Existent entity.
WORDS AND PHRASES — “Actual or true common intention” — “Bank guarantee” — “Common mistake” — “Letter of credit” — “Performance bond” — “Principle of autonomy” — “Principle of strict compliance” — “Rectification” — “Subjective intention of the parties”.
Re Akierman Holdings Pty Ltd
 NSWSC 1395
CORPORATIONS — Membership, rights and remedies — Derivative action — Application for grant of leave by shareholder to bring proceedings in name of company against directors under Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 237 — Whether company will bring proceedings — Whether applicant acting in good faith in bringing proceedings — Whether in the best interests of company that applicant be granted leave — Whether proposed proceedings involved serious questions to be tried — Indemnity — Whether written notice of application has been provided to company — Application for order for inspection of documents
Bluescope Steel Ltd v Cartwright
 NSWCA 25
TORTS — Negligence — Scope and breach of duty — motor vehicle accident — The first respondent was driving a prime mover with trailer attached, on which was a container loaded with heavy coils — The appellant manufactured the coils and produced guidelines for their secure loading by the second respondent — The appellant began manufacturing coils with an extra timber runner, which affected their method of secure loading, without informing the second respondent — Whether the appellant breached its duty to the first respondent.
TORTS — Negligence — Causation — Whether the accident was caused by the excessive speed of the first respondent — Whether the primary judge erred in failing to make a finding as to the speed at which the vehicle was travelling at the time of the accident.
Av8 Air Charter Pty Ltd v Sydney Helicopters Pty Ltd
 NSWCA 46
TORT — Negligence — Claim for economic loss by owner of helicopter against bailee of helicopter arising from conduct of pilot — Helicopter coming into contact with overhead powerline — Challenge to factual findings of trial judge — Whether evidence before trial judge capable of proving substantial deterioration in weather conditions — Whether due weight given to opinion of experts — Whether negligent of pilot to continue flying in deteriorating weather conditions — Assessment of alternatives open to pilot — Need to assess actions of pilot prospectively not in hindsight — Use of Civil Aviation Regulations as particulars of negligence — Application of ss 5B and 5C Civil Liability Act 2002
CAUSATION — Negligence not established
CONTRACT — what terms should be implied — Extent to which Civil Aviation Regulations were to be implied in contract
PROPORTIONATE LIABILITY — Whether owner of powerline liable in tort — Class of pilot to whom duty owed — Foreseeability of relevant “risk of harm” — Powerline owner liable in negligence
DAMAGES — Loss of profits and diminution in value of repaired helicopter — Failure of trial judge to have regard to agreement between parties — Factual error of trial judge requiring appeal court to re-assess damages.
H M & O Investments v Ingram
 NSWSC 958
TRADE PRACTICES — Misleading or deceptive conduct — Whether defendants represented that playground equipment manufactured and sold by them complied with relevant safety standards — Whether products manufactured in a way that ensured that they would comply with the requirements of the safety standard — Whether defendants represented that increase in sales of their business was due to the purchase of products that complied with the safety standard — Whether representations false, misleading or deceptive — Whether plaintiffs relied upon the conduct or representations in deciding to enter into the contract for the purchase of the defendants business.
DAMAGES — Misleading or deceptive conduct — Calculation of damages — Where plaintiffs assert they would not have entered into transaction but for misleading or deceptive conduct — Whether value of the business was affected, positively or negatively, by the misleading or deceptive conduct alleged — Whether plaintiffs suffered damage “by” the conduct or representations — Whether any business expenses incurred by the plaintiffs are recoverable.