Nicholas Cooney SC
Office Contact No.: 2866 8233
Fax: 2866 7858
Admission:

Hong Kong (2000)
Inner Hong Kong (2009)
Admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court,
South Australia, and the High Court of Australia (1980)

Areas of Practice:

Administrative Appeals
Commercial Arbitration
Construction Law – Arbitration, Mediation and High Court Proceedings
Contract Disputes
Defamation
General Civil Claims
Guarantee
Injunctive Relief
Intellectual Property

Nicholas began practicing law in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1981.  In January 1993, Nicholas joined the Legal Department of the Hong Kong Government.  He resigned from the Department in November 2000 to commence practice at the Hong Kong Bar.

Nicholas has a comprehensive civil and commercial practice with an emphasis on contract disputes, town planning, construction law, and public and administrative law.

Nicholas’ practice in construction law is well established.  He has represented employers, contractors and the Hong Kong Government in respect of claims including under guarantee, “pay when paid” clauses, quantum meruit, repudiation, delay, defective work, liquidated damages, valuation of variations, disruption and re-rating.  

In respect of public and administrative law, Nicholas has appeared on over 100 occasions in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Privy Council and Court of Final Appeal in reviews against all manner of government and public authority decisions, including decisions concerning constitutional rights, town planning, licensing, civil service discipline, immigration, taxation, building approvals and insider dealing.  

In addition to his civil and commercial practice, Nicholas has appeared as counsel in both the Insider Dealing Tribunal and the Market Misconduct Tribunal.  He frequently appears before statutory tribunals including the Town Planning Appeal Board and the Appeals Tribunal (Buildings).

Nicholas was appointed Senior Counsel in 2009.

Notable Cases

Koon Wing Yee v Insider Dealing Tribunal & Anor (2008) 11 HKCFAR 170 – appeared as junior counsel for the Financial Secretary in a case concerning whether insider dealing proceedings were criminal in nature

Town Planning Board v Society for the Protection of the Harbour Ltd (2004) 7 HKCFAR 1 – appeared as junior counsel for the Town Planning Board.  A landmark case concerning the application of the Protection of Harbour Ordinance

Wah Yick Enterprises Co. Ltd. v Building Authority (1999) 2 HKCFAR 170 – appeared as counsel for the Building Authority in a judicial review of a refusal of building permission in respect of a 33 storey residential tower

Henderson Real Estate Agency Ltd. v Lo Chai Wan [1997] 1 HKLRD 258 (Privy Council) –appeared as junior counsel for the Town Planning Board in respect of a HK$5B residential and golf course development.  The leading authority on the materiality of planning documents.

Dr. Kwok-hay Kwong v The Medical Council of Hong Kong [2008] 3 HKLRD 524 (Court of Appeal) – appeared as junior counsel for the Medical Council in a case concerning the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and its application to doctors’ advertising

Cheung Wah Keung v Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2002] 3 HKLRD 773 (Court of Appeal) – appeared as counsel for the Commissioner in an appeal concerning whether a contract for personal services was an artificial transaction

Cheung & Anor. v Insider Dealing Tribunal [2000] 1 HKLRD 807 (Court of Appeal) – appeared as counsel for the Financial Secretary in a judicial review of a decision of the Insider Dealing Tribunal

Interasia Bag Manufacturers Ltd. v Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2004] 3 HKLRD 881 (Court of First Instance) – appeared as counsel for the Commissioner in a judicial review of the Commissioner’s decision relating to a holdover of profits tax pending appeal.

Equal Opportunities Commission v Director of Education [2001] 2 HKLRD 690 (Court of First Instance) – appeared as junior counsel for the Equal Opportunities Commission in a case concerning the system for transfer of students from primary to secondary school which sought to take account of a perceived developmental advantage of girls.