David Klempfner is an accomplished advocate with a broad practice spanning all aspects of civil litigation from pre-issue advice through to appearances on appeal.
A thorough knowledge of substantive law and civil procedure combined with a strong commercial instinct enable David to advance his clients’ interests in a strategic and cost effective manner.
David conducts and defends claims for clients across a diverse range of areas, but has particular expertise in matters involving insurance law, property law, professional indemnity, defamation and general commercial disputes arising from trade practices, insolvency or debt claims.
David was identified as a leading Victorian insurance barrister in Doyle's Guide for 2017.
On coming to the Bar, David read with Mark Dreyfus (now QC). In turn, David has been mentor to five readers - Luisa Alampi, Warren Smith, Tasman Ash Fleming, Suzanne Kupsch and Jennika Anthony-Shaw.
Before coming to the Bar, David was an articled clerk and solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons). During his employment at Mallesons Stephen Jaques David worked in the firm’s property, banking & finance, mergers & acquisitions and litigation groups.
At Monash University, David wrote his thesis on defamation and the implied right to freedom of political communication entitled “Who Pays for Free Speech?”.
David’s interest in defamation law stems from his previous career as a business journalist at The Herald and, later, The Herald Sun.
The selection of cases in which David has appeared set out below illustrates the diversity of his practice.
Selected examples of Supreme and Federal Court cases in which David has appeared
Spralja v Bullards  VSCA 32 (Appearance for First Respondent on appeal against decision summarily dismissing proceeding on the basis of advocate's immunity)
Gippsreal Ltd v Kenny  VSCA 319 (Appearance with P B Murdoch QC for First Respondent successfully opposing appeal from decision of Vickery J [see Kenny v Gippsreal (No 2)  VSC 737] to dismiss proceedings based on the Appellant's breaches of its overarching obligations under the Civil Procedure Act 2010)
Knorr v CSIRO & Ors  VSCA 84 (Appearance for Seventh Respondent successfully opposing appeal against order dismissing proceeding for want of prosecution)
Levy v Watt (2014) 308 ALR 748;  VSCA 60 (Appearance for Appellant claiming entitlement to Rupert Bunny painting)
Harpur v Levy  VSCA 209 (Appearance for Respondents successfully opposing appeal from decision of Dixon J [see Harpur v Levy  VSC 653] dismissing claim by trustee for recoupment of mortgage expenses)
Casley v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2013) 39 VR 526;  VSCA 182 (Appearance for Applicant seeking leave to appeal refusal of application to extend the limitation period in which to bring a defamation proceeding)
Imaging Applications Pty Ltd & Anor v Vero Insurance Ltd & Ors  VSC 178 (Appearance for Third Defendant opposing Plaintiffs' appeal from a decision of a Master dismissing the proceeding for want of prosecution)
Gunston v Lawley (2008) 20 VR 33;  VSC 97 (Appearance for Fourth Respondent on appeal from VCAT regarding, in part, proportionate liability legislation under Part IVAA of the Wrongs Act 1958)
Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd v Villella  VSC 94 (Appearance for Appellant on successful appeal against Magistrates' Court judgment ordering the Appellant/Defendant to indemnify the Respondent/Plaintiff under a comprehensive motor vehicle insurance policy. David also appeared for the insurer at trial in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria.)
Intertransport International Private Ltd v Donaldson  VSCA 303 (Appearance for Respondents on appeal against County Court judgment dismissing Appellant/Plaintiffs’ claim to restitution. David also appeared for the successful Defendants at trial in the County Court of Victoria)
Equuscorp Pty Ltd v van der Ross  VSC 110 (Appearance for Respondents on appeal against Magistrates’ Court judgment dismissing Appellant/Plaintiff’s claim to re-payment under loan contract. David also appeared for the successful Defendants at trial in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria)
New Zealand Pelt Export Co Ltd v Trade Indemnity New Zealand Ltd (2004) 13 ANZ Ins Cas 61-626;  VSCA 163 (Appearance with M. D. Wyles for Respondent on appeal against Supreme Court judgment dismissing Appellant/Plaintiff’s claim to indemnity under a policy of trade credit insurance)
Winslow Constructors Pty Ltd v Mt Holden Estates Pty Ltd (2004) 10 VR 435;  VSCA 159 (Appearance with S. G. O’Bryan SC for Respondent on appeal considering the meaning of “domestic building work” for the purposes of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995)
R v Nousis (2004) 8 VR 381;  VSCA 107 (Appearance for third party insurer opposing appeal against a restitution order made under section 84 of the Sentencing Act 1991)
Creditors of Antal-Air Pty Ltd v Antal_Air Pty Ltd (2004) 51 ACSR 473;  FCAFC 303 (Appearance for Respondent opposing grant of leave to appeal)
QBE Insurance Ltd v Patterson Fine Jewellery Pty Ltd (2004) 13 ANZ Ins Cas 61-610;  VSC 31 (Appearance for Respondent on appeal against Magistrates’ Court judgment ordering insurer to indemnify under jeweller’s block insurance policy. David also appeared for the successful Plaintiff at trial in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria)
Soane v The Distribution Group Ltd  VSCA 10 (Appearance for Appellant on appeal against County Court judgment on a contract of guarantee).
RACV Insurance Pty Ltd v Alam (2001) 11 ANZ Ins Cas 61-513;  VSC 503; (2001) 35 MVR 399 (Appearance for Respondent on appeal against Magistrates’ Court judgment ordering insurer to indemnify under motor vehicle insurance policy. David also appeared for the successful Plaintiff at trial in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria)
Kay v Chesser  3 VR 55;  VSCA 83 (Appearance for Respondent with M. A. Dreyfus on appeal concerning scope of discovery in defamation proceedings)
Wood v City of Brimbank  VSC 21 (Successful appearance for Second and Third Respondents opposing appeal from AAT pursuant to section 52 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1984)
Riverman Orchards Pty Ltd v Hayden  VSC 379 (Successful appearance with E J Batrouney for Plaintiff in negligence and nuisance claims arising from herbicide damage to vineyard)
Equal 54 Pty Ltd v Galimberti  VSC 588 (Successful appearance with A M Ryan QC for Defendant to professional negligence action)
Dual Homes Pty Ltd v Moores Legal Pty Ltd (2016) 50 VR 129; (2016) 306 FLR 277;  VSC 86 (Appearance for Defendants to claim for professional negligence and misleading and deceptive conduct)
Luong v Du  VSC 723 (Appearance for Plaintiffs claiming entitlement to interest in real property)
Carey v Freehills (2013) 303 ALR 445; (2013) 96 ACSR 109;  FCA 945 (Successful appearance with P Riordan SC for Cross-Respondent defending claims of professional negligence and misleading and deceptive conduct)
Levy v Watt  VSC 539 (Appearance for Plaintiff claiming entitlement to Rupert Bunny painting)
Cunliffe v Woods  VSC 254 (Successful appearance for Defendant opposing claim in defamation)
Harpur v Levy & Ors  VSC 653 (Successful appearance for Defendants opposing claims to recoupment and transfer of title to property in Thailand)
Portbury Development Co Pty Ltd v Mackali  VSC 69 (Successful appearance for Plaintiff seeking damages following rescission of a contract of sale of land)
Maurice Blackburn Pty Ltd v Burmingham  VSC 20 (Successful appearance for Plaintiff claiming legal costs pursuant to a conditional costs agreement)
Nettleton v Vero Insurance Ltd  VSC 554 (Appearance for Defendant to application for judicial review of County Court decision regarding the meaning of "arising from" in the context of section 57 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995)
State of Victoria v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd (2007) 19 VR 476;  VSC 431 (Successful appearance with P Collinson SC for Defendant resisting permanent injunction to restrain publication of government documents)
Rice v National Australia Bank  VSC 466 (Successful appearance for Third Party at trial defending proceedings relating to allegation of unlawful conversion of cheques. Proceeding discontinued by Plaintiff and Defendant on fifth day of trial. Judgment relates to costs argument on the discontinuance)
Wenczel v Commonwealth Bank of Australia  VSC 324 (Successful appearance at trial for Plaintiff seeking to set aside mortgage procured in breach of “married woman’s equity” and by undue influence and duress)
Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd v King  VSC 261 (Successful appearance at trial for Plaintiff seeking judicial review of Magistrate’s refusal to grant leave to file amended pleadings)
Bunnings Group Ltd v Laminex Group Ltd (2006) 153 FCR 479; (2007) 230 ALR 269;  FCA 682 (Successful appearance with D. Collins SC for Applicant on hearing of preliminary question regarding categorization of certain goods for the purposes of the Trade Practices Act 1974)
Bayport Industries Pty Ltd v Watson (2006) V Conv R 54-709;  VSC 206 (Successful appearance at trial for Defendant opposing claim to adverse possession of Defendant’s land)
Portellos v Wolf  VSC 183 (Successful appearance for Plaintiff seeking repayment of funds advanced to Defendant and invested by Defendant in a Nigerian scam)
Mildura Aboriginal Corporation v Australian Broadcasting Corporation  VSC 82 (Successful appearance with W. F. Gillies for Plaintiffs at trial by jury of defamation claim)
JG & JA Williamson Holdings Pty Ltd v Hindle  VSC 534 (Application for summary judgment based on the Limitation of Actions Act 1958)
Kenny v Gippsreal Ltd (No 2)  VSC 737 (Successful appearance with P B Murdoch QC for Applicant seeking summary dismissal of proceedings based on Respondent's breaches of its overarching obligations under the Civil Procedure Act 2010)
Kenny v Gippsreal Ltd  VSC 284 (Successful appearance with P B Murdoch QC for Applicant seeking summary dismissal of proceedings based on Respondent's failure to institute costs application prior to finalisation of the proceeding)
Carey v Freehills  FCA 818 (Successful appearance for Respondent opposing application to re-open hearing prior to judgment)
Carey v Freehills  FCA 788 (Successful appearance for Respondent opposing application to reinstate appeal)
Carey v Freehills  FCA 451 (Successful appearance for Respondent seeking summary dismissal of appeal)
Kiefel v State of Victoria  FCA 411 (Successful appearance for solicitors opposing non-party costs order)
Carey v Freehills  FCA 325 (Successful appearance for Respondent seeking security for its costs of an appeal)
Casley v Australian Broadcasting Corporation  VSC 251 (Appearance for Plaintiff seeking to extend the limitation period, pursuant to section 23B of the Limitation of Actions Act 1958, in which to bring a defamation proceeding)
Knorr v CSIRO & (Ors) (No 3)  VSC 529 (Successful appearance for 7th Defendant opposing Plaintiff's application to file Further Amended Statement of Claim and join additional plaintiff)
Knorr v CSIRO & Ors (No 2)  VSC 268 (Successful appearance for 7th Defendant applying to strike out Amended Statement of Claim and opposing joinder of additional plaintiff to the proceedings)
Hi-Tech Telecom Pty Ltd v NEC Australia Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 991 (Successful appearance for Defendant seeking to strike out selected paragraphs of statement of claim
Hi-Tech Telecom Pty Ltd v NEC Australia Pty Ltd  FCA 466 (Successful appearance for Defendant seeking security for costs)
Ann Street Mezzanine Pty Ltd v Beck  FCA 1304 (Successful appearance with Riordan SC opposing application by expert witness to set aside subpoena to give evidence at trial)
Ann Street Mezzanine Pty Ltd v Beck (2011) 283 ALR 288;  FCA 1047 (Appearance on application by cross-claimants seeking leave to interrogate)
Ottedin Investments Pty Ltd v Portbury Development Co Pty Ltd (2011) 35 VR 1;  VSC 222 (Successful appearance with Cawthorn SC for Defendants seeking summary dismissal of proceedings pursuant to Civil Procedure Act 2010).
Bray v Dye (No 2) (2010) 27 VR 324;  VSC 152 (Appearance for legal practitioner on costs application arising from improperly joined plaintiff)
Tulip Investments Pty Ltd v Edwards  VSC 492 (Appearance for bankrupt defendant seeking to join concurrent wrongdoer for purposes of invoking the proportionate liability regime of Part IVAA of the Wrongs Act 1958)
Fibrework Industries Pty Ltd v Furnari  ANZ Conv R 137;  VSC 489 (Appearance for defendant seeking injunction and opposing cross-application for injunction)
Horne v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation (Cth)  VSC 409 (Appearance for liquidator seeking to extend time in which to bring claim under section 588FF of the Corporations Act 2001)
Stephen v Vass  VSC 269 (Appearance for Defendant on strike out application of defamation pleadings)
Williams v Rampino  ANZ ConvR 628;  VSC 284 (Appearance for Defendant opposing application for summary recovery of land under Order 53 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules)