The Victorian Bar Home
Francis Charles Francis AM RFD QC
Opas Philip Opas AM OBE QC
Gaynor Judge Liz Gaynor
Bourke Brian Bourke
S.E.K. Hulme QC S.E.K. Hulme AM QC
raising_the_bar Raising The Bar
For the Defence nav image "For the Defence"
speaker icon Four Judges & a Silk (audio)
WBA Logo "Even It Up"
WBA Logo First 25 women barristers slideshow
John Coldrey QC John Coldrey QC
JV Barry JV Barry - book launch slideshow
Peter O’Callaghan QC Peter O’Callaghan QC
Francis Xavier (Frank) Costigan QC Francis Xavier (Frank) Costigan QC
Jeff Sher QC Jeff Sher QC
Profile: Francis Xavier (Frank) Costigan QC Back


Born on 14 January 1931 (one of eight children), Frank was educated at St Patrick’s College, East Melbourne and at the University of Melbourne.  He was admitted to practise on 2 March 1953; and was a partner in the city law firm of Gillott, Moir & Ahern (now Minter Ellison) from 1955-57. 

Frank signed the Roll of Counsel on 13 May 1957 (Roll no. 559) and read with Sydney Frost (later the Honourable Sir Sydney Frost, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea).

Frank's early practice was in workers’ compensation and common law, but he later developed a very broad general practice including crime, commercial matters, and public law.  He practised in most States and Territories, in particular in the Northern Territory, and Ireland, and appeared before the Privy Council.  He took silk in 1973; before this, he had four readers.  

Frank served on the Victorian Bar Council for 11 years (1968-79) and as Chairman from June 1977 to September 1979.   He was President of the Australian Bar Association in 1979; and an Executive Member, then Treasurer, of the Law Council of Australia (1977-79).  He was on numerous Victorian Bar Committees for many years, including 15 years on the Applications Review Committee.

Notably in 1980, Frank was appointed Royal Commissioner into the activities of the Ship Painters & Dockers Union, which ran until 1984. 

He was a Member of the Institute of Arbitrators Australia (Grade 1 Arbitrator) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of London.  He was appointed to the Panel of International Commercial Arbitrators by the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration and elected to the Panel of International Arbitrators of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.  He was an Advocate Member of the Legal Profession Tribunal 1996-2004.

He was a Victorian Bar Accredited Mediator for more than 15 years, and was Nationally Accredited in 2008. He arbitrated in construction, commercial and other private disputes, the largest involving an amount in excess of $AUD3 billion.

He was a Member of the Latrobe University Proctorial Board since 1996; a foundation member of the University of Melbourne Centre for Philosophy and Public Issues; and in 2003, was made Chairman of Transparency International Australia.

For many years, Frank was Vice-Chairman of Jesuit Social Services and Chairman of the Victorian Drug Rehabilitation Fund.  He was very pleased in 2007 to be appointed to the panel of counsel assisting the AFL Tribunal.

With his former wife Kate, Frank had five children.

© The Victorian Bar Inc - Reg No. A00343046 | Privacy | Contact us | Help | Acknowledgments