Background

While working as a site engineer for a builder on a Sydney CBD tower, and studying law part time, Richard Cheney SC’s interest in advocacy was piqued when asked to represent his employer in an industrial arbitration involving a building union and presided over by former NSW Premier Jack Ferguson.

Richard resolved then to pursue a career in advocacy, and soon after finishing his law degree, was appointed to the Royal Commission into the Building Industry in New South Wales, conducted by the Hon Roger Gyles QC, as a building industry adviser instructing counsel assisting in public and private hearings. In that role he worked with and observed the work of some of Sydney’s finest advocates.

The Royal Commission experience brought Richard to the Bar in 1995. Given his high-rise building experience, his early practice was weighted towards building and construction disputes, and that remains the case today, but the practice has diversified over the two decades to incorporate insurance law, professional negligence, medical negligence and common law matters.

Appointed Senior Counsel in 2011, Richard is a NSW Bar Association BarADR® approved arbitrator. Richard is currently listed as a Leading Construction & Infrastructure Senior Counsel in NSW, in the Doyle's Guide 2017.

Richard’s ambitions are to be the best golfer on Greenway Chambers and see his sons bat 3, 4 and 5 for Australia.



Focus Areas + Select Cases

Thiess Pty Ltd v Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia Pty Ltd [2016] NSWSC 173, appearing for a large multidisciplinary engineering firm sued in respect of the collapse of a part of the Lane Cove Tunnel.

Lane Cove Council v Michael Davies and Associates and Others [2012] NSWSC 727, appearing for a mechanical engineering consultant in support of an application for adoption of a referee’s report into the plaintiff Council’s claims regarding defects in an indoor swimming pool complex.

Lym International Pty Ltd v Marcolongo [2011] NSWCA 303, appearing for the insurer of a sheetpiling company sued in respect of damage suffered by a neighbouring lot. The issues on appeal included the proper construction of the duty of care in relation to adjoining land imposed by s177 Conveyancing Act.

Owners Strata Plan 62930 v Kell and Rigby Holdings Pty Ltd [2010] NSWSC 612, appearing for an owners corporation in proceedings relating to defective work in breach of the statutory warranties under the Home Building Act.

CJD Equipment Pty Ltd v A and C Constructions Pty Ltd [2009] NSWSC 1362, Multiparty litigation concerning the failure of a pavement constructed as part of a commercial heavy equipment dealership. The issues included whether duties were owed by contractors and engineering consultants to prevent pure economic loss being suffered by an owner who had contracted on a design and construct basis with its builder.

State of New South Wales v Bovis Lend Lease Pty Limited [2007] NSWSC 1045, appearing as junior counsel for a builder opposing the adoption of a referee’s report regarding the construction of the Sydney Olympic Park swimming pools. The issues included whether any duty of care was owed.

 

Orrcon Operations Pty Ltd v Capital Steel and Pipe Pty Limited [2007] FCA 1319, (2007) ATPR 42-182, appearing as junior counsel for a steel manufacturer seeking to restrain a supplier from making any demand under a letter of credit.
 


 

Hunter and New England Local Health District v McKenna (2014) 253 CLR 270; [2014] HCA 44, appearing for the appellant in a case involving the discharge of a psychiatric patient who, soon after discharge, killed his friend. The issue before the High Court was whether any duty of care was owed to the victim and his family members given the constraints imposed by the mental health legislation under which the appellant’s hospital operated.

Biggs v George [2016] NSWCA 113, appearing for an ear, nose and throat specialist, and a public hospital, on an appeal from a finding of negligent failure to warn in connection with surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma. The issues on appeal included the content of the medico’s duty of care to a patient with a language barrier when explaining the material risks of the proposed procedure.

O’Reilly v Western Sussex NHS Trust (No 6) [2014] NSWSC 1824, appearing for the National Health Service of the United Kingdom in proceedings brought by an Australian resident in connection with medical services provided to her late husband in London who presented with colorectal symptoms. The issues included the application of the Bolam standard in circumstances where published guidelines recommended the manner in which the impugned procedure was to be performed.



Notable Cases

Day v Ocean Beach Hotel Shellharbour Pty Ltd (2013) 85 NSWLR 335; [2013] NSWCA 250, Appearing for an hotelier sued in respect of personal injury suffered by a patron at the hands of a security guard employed by a contract security company. The issues included whether the hotelier could be vicariously liable for the tortious conduct of another entity’s employee.

State of New South Wales v Mikhael [2012] NSWCA 338, Appearing for the appellant school which had at first instance been held liable in negligence in respect of an assault by a school student on another student. The issues on appeal included whether the plaintiff had established that any failure by the school to inform teachers about the assailant’s history of violence was causative of the plaintiff’s loss.

Hunter and New England Local Health District v McKenna (2014) 253 CLR 270; [2014] HCA 44, appearing for the appellant in a case involving the discharge of a psychiatric patient who, soon after discharge, killed his friend. The issue before the High Court was whether any duty of care was owed to the victim and his family members given the constraints imposed by the mental health legislation under which the appellant’s hospital operated.



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