The golden thread of the areas of expertise below is that they are all commercial/equity matters. These areas are but some instances of the  commercial/equity matters that Sydney is regularly involved in. Sydney is willing to accept briefs in any matter relating to commercial/equity law.

If you would like to enquire as to his availability, you can email or alternatively, complete the form available at Contact. Please also note that shorthand case references below are to cases which are abstracted at Selected Cases.


Sydney has appeared, and continues to be briefed, in many cases involving easements and covenants. His experience includes applications to be granted easements (including rights of carriageway, stormwater/drainage and services), applications to restraint servient owners from obstructing the use of an easement, applications for declaratory relief in respect of easement rights and the consideration of various related issues, such as whether easements have become obsolete, or whether covenants have been overridden by planning instruments.

The easement cases he has been involved in range from situations where private clients wish to develop a block of land into duplexes to advising in state significant matters involving the laying out of an entire new suburb. His cases are more fully listed at “Selected Cases” and include Gee v Burger, Hilton v Sunrise Resources, Stepanovski v Chen, Kocagil v Chen and Turvey v Crotti. Sydney is currently briefed in a number of Supreme Court Equity Division easement matters which are being case managed to trial.

Sydney has been briefed to both appear and advise in numerous cases involving the sale of land. These range from sale of units off the plan to sales of significant development blocks including rural land holdings and pubs.

In his cases, various issues have arisen for consideration, including:

  • Whether one party is entitled to issue a notice to complete or notice to perform
  • Whether the vendor can compel completion, or whether its own performance (or lack of performance), is a basis to resist completion
  • Whether a notice to complete is valid or can be impugned

One such case in point was the Supreme Court Equity Division matter Spark Property Pty Ltd v Mammone & Cristofaro. Sydney is currently briefed in a Supreme Court Equity Division matter where specific performance is being sought for a contract for the sale of land.

Sale of Land/Conveyancing

Leasing, Options and Rights of First Refusal

Sydney has litigated and advised upon several complex leasing questions in his practice, including whether a binding lease has been entered into, who is liable for maintenance and repairs, whether the option to renew the lease has been validly exercised (and if not, whether an estoppel arises) and whether a right of first refusal in a lease has been triggered.

In one of Sydney’s early lease cases before the Supreme Court, G & E Avakoumides Pty Ltd v Commonwealth Funds Management, he took the point that there was no binding agreement for lease. In another matter, Randi Wicks, Sydney argued that while the tenant might have had an equity for rectification against the original landlord, this equity was not enforceable against the new landlord. Finally, in his more recent case of Well Garnished v Chaos, Sydney took the point that whatever the merits of the tenant’s claim may or may not have been, the cause of action was barred by reason of accord and satisfaction.

Sydney has advised in many restraint of trade cases, on all the usual issues such as whether the period of time and/or the geographic radius of the restraint is reasonable.

One of his earliest cases at the NSW Bar – the Adler Mallach case – involved acting for a company which had bought a business and then discovering that persons associated with the vendor were attempting to operate in competition with them, by using various guises.

Restraint of Trade

Construction Law

Sydney spent a number of years as a solicitor at Minter Ellison and at the predecessor firm to Norton Fulbright, in their construction law divisions, acting for major clients such as State Rail and Qantas. While at those firms, Sydney negotiated for the “break through” agreement regarding the connection of State Rail’s Eastern Suburbs Line into the Qantas terminal. On another occasion, Sydney negotiated, with a team, on behalf of State Rail, for the purchase of bogeys for a new generation of train.

This experience laid the foundation for his construction practice at the Bar. One key example is Pisano v Williams, a Supreme Court matter, where Sydney took the point that while the owners he was representing had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, there was nevertheless no liability as the sale of a family home was not in trade or commerce. This point was upheld by the NSW Court of Appeal. In another of Sydney’s construction matters, which began in NCAT, Littles v J & K Homes, Sydney argued that his client had been denied natural justice and, as such, there had been an error of law. This too was upheld by the Appeals Panel.

Sydney has advised in and appeared in several partnership and joint venture disputes. One recent matter involved a large logistics company. This matter was settled at mediation.

Partnership and Joint Venture Disputes


Sydney has appeared quite a number of times in NCAT in strata matters.

This includes the Maphaven matter, which clarified the procedure that must be followed when an owner’s corporation wishes to pursue an owner for conduct on his/her Lot which causes the insurance premium of the SP to be increased.

Sydney is the sole author of the leading loose-leaf services Commercial Damages and Injunctions: Law and Practice both published by Thomsons Reuters and is one of the main contributing authors to another Thomsons loose-leaf service, International Commercial Arbitration. As such, Sydney has built up a significant level of knowledge in these areas.

Damages issues also arise in many of his cases. For example, in one of his cases currently on foot in the Equity Division, there is an issue of whether mesne profits are recoverable and if so, on what basis. Further, in his easement matter Turvey v Crotti, Sydney took the point that aggravated damages were recoverable in nuisance for interference with a right of carriageway.

Sydney has also been involved in numerous injunction applications.

Damages, Injunctions and Arbitration

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Sydney has been involved in numerous mediations of a commercial equity nature, including easements/rights of carriageway and partnership disputes. As an NMAS accredited mediator, BarADR approved arbitrator and expert determiner, he is well-placed to act as either advocate or mediator. He has appeared in commercial arbitrations and also before court-appointed expert referees.

Sydney will soon be in a court annexed mediation in a matter involving specific performance of a contract for the sale of land. While Sydney is happy to mediate any commercial dispute, he is particularly well-placed to bring his experience to bear in disputes involving easements and covenants. Should you wish to make an enquiry as to Sydney’s availability to mediate a matter or to be an advocate at mediation, please make an enquiry via Mediation.