+61 2 9132 5700 clerk@153phillip.com.au
David Helvadjian

David accepts briefs in all areas of the law but has a focus on common law (including negligence, intentional torts and defamation and suppression), commercial law (including contractual disputes, equity, class actions, corporations law and real property), and public law (including constitutional, regulatory and administrative law).

He has advised and appeared, unled and led, in trials and appeals in various jurisdictions and for a diverse range of clients including individuals, corporations, and government departments and agencies. In defamation matters David appears for both plaintiffs and defendants.

Before coming to the Bar, David worked as an Associate for Justice Rares of the Federal Court of Australia, was a legal graduate at the National Justice Project and clerked at Ashurst. Prior to his legal career he held a number of senior positions in Strategy, Management Consultancy and Banking.

He has been published widely in defamation law and business publications and spoken at numerous conferences. David received his Juris Doctor degree with distinction from the University of Sydney Law School, graduating second in his cohort, and also holds a Masters degree with distinction in International Business from the University of Sydney Business School and an Economics and Politics degree with upper second class Honours from the University of Sheffield in England.


Selected Cases


KDSP v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs (2021) 95 ALJR 666; 392 ALR 186; [2021] HCA 24 – administrative law, migration law – for the Minister – led by Perry Herzfeld SC and Greg Johnson.

Bettencourt v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs [2021] FCAFC 172 – administrative law, migration law – for the Minister – led by Greg Johnson.

Dailymail.com Australia Pty Ltd v Molan [2023] FCAFC 26 – defamation – for the appellants – led by Matthew Richardson SC.

Rader v Haines [2022] NSWCA 198defamation, serious harm test under UK law, qualified privilege – led by Matthew Richardson SC, for the respondents.

YAF Master & Anor v S&P Global Inc & Anor, FCA, NSD73/2021, the “Basis” and “Vale” proceedings – ongoing – class action proceedings arising from the global financial crisis – fraud, equity, corporations law – for the class – led by Robert Dick SC and Guy Donnellan.

Len Roberts v ABC, FCA, NSD762/2022 – defamation – settled at mediation – led by Matthew Richardson SC.

Perfecto v Minister for Immigration [2022] FCA 1491 – migration law, administrative law, for the Minister – unled.

Registered Clubs Association of New South Wales v Stolz (No 3) [2021] FCA 1557 – employment law, costs – for the defendant – led by Geoffrey Watson SC.

Barilaro v Shanks-Markovina (No 3) [2021] FCA 1100 – defamation, juries, statutory interpretation – for the defendant – led by Dr Matt Collins QC and Chris Parkin.

Shrestha v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs [2021] FCA 802 – administrative law, migration law – for the Minister – led by Greg Johnson.

Barilaro v Shanks-Markovina (No 2) (2021) 393 ALR 417; [2021] FCA 950 – defamation, constitutional law, parliamentary privilege – for the defendant – led by Dr Matt Collins QC and Chris Parkin.

Lewis v Battery Mineral Resources Ltd (in liq) [2021] FCA 963 – corporations, winding up, application for appointment of special purpose liquidator – for the plaintiffs – led by Roger Marshall SC.

ACN 603 303 126 Pty Ltd v Genetzakis & Anor, NSW Supreme Court, 2023/198599 – real property, caveat, breach of contract, cross-claim for damages – ongoing – for the defendants – unled.

RNH Civil Constructions Pty Ltd v Matthews & Anor, NSW Supreme Court, 2022/228067 – injunctions, equitable relief – settled prior to hearing – for the first defendant – unled.

Skandaguru Company Pty Ltd v Core Supply Australia Pty Ltd [2022] NSWSC 1639 – contracts, breach, implied terms, contractual remedies, for the first defendant – unled.

Jane Doe (pseudonym) v John Doe (pseudonym), NSW Supreme Court, 2022/254565 – equity, breach of confidence, publication of video recording – settled prior to hearing, included interlocutory steps such as seeking urgent suppression orders – for the defendant – unled.

Capital Access Pty Ltd v Charnwood Constructions Pty Ltd [2022] NSWSC 1185 – enforcement, writs of restitution, nexus between original recover and need for further recovery – for the Plaintiff – unled.

Pene v Shetab, NSWDC, 2022/69070 – ongoing – defamation – for the defendant – led by Matthew Richardson SC but appearing unled in interlocutory hearings.

Gee v Jamieson [2023] NSWDC 123 (and ongoing proceedings) – defamation, application for temporary stay – for the defendant – unled.

Morshedizadeh v Morshedizadeh, NSWDC, 2022/114272 – torts, bailment, misleading and deceptive conduct – for the plaintiff – settled prior to hearing – unled.

GRC Project Pty Ltd v Lai [2022] NSWDC 514 – defamation, substituted service, for the plaintiffs – unled.

Flightcharter.com.au v Moore & Ors, NSWDC, 2022/33091 – contracts, representations – for the defendants – settled prior to hearing – unled.

Rader v Haines [2021] NSWDC 610 – defamation, private international law – for the defendants – led by Matthew Richardson SC.

Pizza Pan Group Pty Ltd v Singh & Ors, NSWDC, 2020/306204 – breach of contract, franchisee agreement, guarantees – settled prior to hearing – for the plaintiff – unled.

Pizza Pan Group Pty Ltd v Thota Pty Ltd & Ors, NSWDC, 2020/283820 – breach of contract, franchisee agreement, guarantees – settled prior to hearing – for the plaintiff – unled.

Dawood v Dawood, Local Court of NSW, 2023/105274, ongoing, – torts, bailment, gift of car, principle of advancement – for the defendant – unled.

GRC v SP No. 76887, Local Court of NSW, 2022/189337 – breach of contract, damages, restitution – settled prior to hearing – for the plaintiff – unled.

Applied Solutions Services v Multispec Pty Ltd, Local Court of NSW, 2021/342747 – breach of contract, damages – settled prior to hearing – for the plaintiff – unled.

XSLJ v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs [2022] AATA 3792 – migration, visa cancellation, character test – for the Minister – unled.

Wayne Deeth v David Blake T/AS Central Coast Food Trailers [2022] NSWCAT MV21/51895 – unpublished reasons making orders for the applicant as sought – consumer law, guarantees, defects – for the applicant – unled.

Lai/SP No. 76887 v GRC Project Pty Ltd, NSWCAT, SC22/30518 – for the defendant – settled at the hearing – unled.

EQZ v Kari Ltd [2022] NSWCATAD 221 – cancellation of authorisation of career; Children, young Persons and guardians – for the Respondent – unled.

Selected Business Conferences

“The Follower in the Leadership Equation: Looking at The Four Needs of Followers”
Manager to Leader Conference, Australia, Sydney, 20 June 2013

“Exploring the link between Customer Engagement and Employee Engagement” (Keynote), and
“Creating a metric for managing the employee-customer encounter” (Closing session)
Strategic Engagement conference, Melbourne 15 May 2012; Sydney, 17 May 2012

“More science than art: Attracting and selecting the right talent for your organisation”
AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute) 2011 National Conference, Sydney, Australia, 7-8 June 2011

“The Science of Wellbeing”
AHRI Victorian Practice Day, Melbourne, Australia, 25th March 2011


BarNews, forthcoming, 2024. “A conversation with the NSW Solicitor-General regarding Stage 2 defamation law reforms”.

Law Society Journal, forthcoming, 2023. “Stage two defamation reforms and what they mean for NSW”.

“The New section 29A Public Interest defence considered”

Law Society Journal, LSJ Online, November 2023

This article is a long form consideration of the first final-hearing adjudication of the new Public Interest Defence in Heston Russell v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (No 3) [2023] FCA 1223.


“The First Test for s29A of the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW)”

‘Opinion’, Australian Lawyers Alliance, ALA Online, 18 October 2023

This was a short ‘hot off the press’ opinion piece for the Australian Lawyers Alliance on Heston Russell v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (No 3) [2023] FCA 1223 and the new s29A Public Interest defence.


‘A saviour for the media? The genesis of the public interest defence and its possible future treatment’.

Precedent, the journal of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, issue 177, August 2023, pp 4–9

This article considers the recent judicial comments in two defamation cases of the new s29A public interest defence and considers how this defence might be applied when it finally is adjudicated at a final hearing.


“In the public interest? The new defence in NSW defamation law”

Law Society Journal, Issue 84, December 2021, p88-89.

From 1 July 2021 NSW defamation law has a new defence of publishing in the public interest. 

This article discusses the almost identical defence in UK defamation law and how courts there have interpreted the requirements. It also discusses the things defendants need to consider to give themselves the best chance of establishing this defence in practice.


“Defamation Law and the new serious harm test”

Law Society Journal, Issue 81, September 2021, p80-81.

From 1 July 2021 NSW defamation law has a new ‘serious harm’ test.  This test prevents a claimant bringing any new defamation action unless it passes this threshold test.  This article reviews the judicial treatment of the same identically worded serious harm test in the UK. 


“Is Your Bank Different? Probably Not.”
Gallup Press White Paper, June 2012; Authors: Jai Gill and David Helvadjian
Looking at the power of behaviours, not slogans, to differentiate Banks, based on global banking research.

“Executives: You’re Leaving Money on the Table.”
Gallup Business Journal, August 2012 issue; Authors: David Helvadjian and Allan Watkinson
Quantifies the financial power of emotional engagement over rational satisfaction


University of Sydney Law School 

Juris Doctor (Dist.)

University of Sydney Business School
Master of International Business with Commercial Law (with Merit)

University of Sheffield, England
Bachelors’ Degree in Economics and Politics (Hons)