Partner
Rocco leads Cooper Grace Ward’s litigation and dispute resolution group, with over 18 years’ experience in dispute resolution.

Rocco is an internationally recognised dispute resolution lawyer with expertise in court and tribunal matters, advocacy, negotiation, and alternative dispute resolution.

He works across Australia to resolve disputes in the corporate and commercial, construction, property, insolvency, defamation and intellectual property fields, as well as representing clients in corporate investigations and commissions of inquiry. He has specific experience in complex, high value, business critical disputes, and has led large multi-disciplinary project teams in significant and high profile cases.

Rocco is one of only three Brisbane-based dispute resolution lawyers to be ranked as a leading individual for dispute resolution in Australia in the 2017 editions of prestigious international legal directories Chambers Asia-Pacific and Chambers Global, the fourth consecutive year he achieved this leading ranking. He is also recommended in the 2017 Doyle’s Guide Queensland lists for commercial litigation and dispute resolution and also insolvency and restructuring. He has also been recognised for dispute resolution in Australia by international legal directory the Asia Pacific Legal 500.

Rocco has an established track record of securing successful outcomes for clients in court as well as through mediation or out of court negotiation. He is frequently called upon by a range of clients that include business owners, prominent individuals, Boards, CEOs and senior management to assist with strategy on business disputes and risk issues.

Rocco’s breadth of commercial experience in significant cases across a variety of areas and industries means he has unique skills and insights that allow him to deliver client-focused results. He is well known for his ability to bring clear, strategic and practical thinking to dispute situations.

 

 

 

  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours) – University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Commerce – University of Queensland
  • Solicitor – Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Solicitor – High Court of Australia
  • Member – Queensland Law Society Court Practice and Procedure Committee (2007-2017)
  • Member – Australian Corporate Lawyers Association
  • Member – Building Dispute Practitioners’ Society Inc. (Queensland)
  • Recommended for Dispute Resolution (Australia) – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2012)
  • Ranked as Leading Individual for Dispute Resolution (Australia) – Chambers Asia-Pacific and Chambers Global (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017)
  • Recommended for Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution (Queensland) – Doyle’s Guide (2017)
  • Recommended for Insolvency & Restructuring (Queensland) – Doyle’s Guide (2017)

Notable representative matters

  • Secured record defamation judgment for former Queensland government minister after a high profile trial.
  • Represented one of Queensland’s largest insurers and largest club on the legal matters arising from the Queensland floods disaster, including advice and representation regarding insurance claims, policy interpretation, disaster response and regulatory issues.
  • Represented a foreign government and minister in proceedings concerning political immunity issues in the Supreme and High Courts.
  • Acted for and represented clients in a number of commissions of inquiry including the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry, Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry and the Queensland Rail Train Crewing Practices Commission of Inquiry.
  • Represented founding shareholder in high-profile Supreme Court litigation and lengthy trial involving claims in excess of $40 million against major financial institutions.
  • Represented the owners of Makepeace Island in long-running building and construction litigation in the Supreme Court of Queensland over payment claims and defects.
  • Represented an international construction and machinery manufacturing concern in Supreme Court litigation involving novel PPSA issues (NSW and Queensland) to successfully recover a multi-million drilling rig.
  • Acted in numerous shareholder/stakeholder disputes cases for significant businesses securing favourable resolution terms without litigation.

Commercial litigation

  • Acted in many commercial litigation matters including contract disputes; disputes between business partners; negligence cases; distributor disputes; and product liability, professional liability, misleading conduct and misrepresentation cases.
  • Acted for founding shareholders of national merchandising business in a multi-million dollar governance dispute securing favorable exit terms without the need for litigation.
  • Advised large Australian financial institution on multi-million dollar employee fraud, resulting in full recovery of assets remaining in the possession of the employee without litigation.
  • Represented founding shareholders of major Queensland electricity retailer in litigation over ownership interests.
  • Represented executor to successfully resolve a claim against the estate’s interests in a $26 million Queensland farming operation.
  • Represented private company in a $10 million excise duty investigation by the Australian Customs Service and Australian Federal Police, resulting in no prosecution.

Building and construction disputes

  • Acted in many building and construction disputes on major projects (e.g. Kestrel Mine Extension Project, Hay Point Coal Terminal, Gateway Bridge Duplication Project, Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant, Goodwill Bridge, and Western Corridor Recycled Water Project).
  • Acted for contractors and principals in security of payment claims and responses, including litigation defending and challenging adjudicator determinations.
  • Represented regional construction group in proceedings against QBCC on regulatory issues.

Insolvency and debt recovery

  • Acted for and advised commercial clients on insolvency issues and claims including enforcement issues, external administration processes, restructuring, and director liability issues.
  • Represented liquidators in the conduct of preference claims.
  • Handled the Queensland debt recovery portfolio involving high volume debt recovery and insolvency proceedings for a wholly owned subsidiary of one of Australia’s largest companies.
  • Advised one of Queensland largest insurers on insolvency issues arising from the collapse of one of its largest contractors.

Property and leasing disputes and litigation

  • Acted for and advised clients on disputes and litigation involving property transactions, lease defaults, contract disputes and termination, and contract interpretation matters.
  • Advised a landlord of CBD high-rise on litigation issues and claims arising from major property damage incident affecting numerous tenancies.
  • Represented numerous shopping centre owners in lease default actions, possession proceedings and related litigation.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest restaurant chains in lease interpretation proceedings in relation to one of its prominent Queensland locations.
  • Represented Queensland based property developer in multi-million dollar negligence case arising from failed property development in Rockhampton.

Defamation

  • Secured record defamation judgment for former Queensland government minister after a high profile trial.
  • Acted in defamation litigation, claims for breach of confidentiality or privacy, and other cases associated with risk to reputation or confidential information.

Intellectual property litigation

  • Represented one of Australia’s largest organisations to defend Federal Court patent infringement proceedings arising from its release of a mobile app and website.
  • Represented Australian subsidiary of an international carpet manufacturer to successfully defend Federal Court proceedings involving allegations of copyright and design infringement and misleading and deceptive conduct.

  • ‘Adjudicator’s partial mistake voids entire BCIPA adjudication decision’, BuildLaw, September 2013
  • ‘Managing the joint role of a company secretary and corporate counsel’, Keeping Good Companies, December 2013
  • ‘Court considers whether latent defects claim against building consultants out of time’, Australian Construction Law Newsletter, May 2015
  • ‘The next chapter in the class action litigation challenge to ANZ bank fees’, Consumer Credit Law Newsletter, June 2015
  • ‘BCIPA decision keeps the cash flowing-non-compliance with Space statutory decoration condition not found to prohibit payment claim’, Australian Construction Law Newsletter, September 2015
  • ‘Statutory declaration preconditions to payment claims under construction contracts held to be invalid – New South Wales follows Queensland’s approach’, Australian Construction Law Newsletter, April 2016