David grew up in England and studied at St Albans' School, Hertfordshire (not at the same time as Stephen Hawking, or the only ever English pope!) and then studied law at Merton College Oxford, gaining a First Class in Jurisprudence. He then trained at the English Chancery and Commercial Bar, before becoming an insolvency lawyer in a leading London solicitors. During this time and thereafter, he was a part-time Lecturer in Land Law at Merton College Oxford.
David's first full-time academic post was at the University of Birmingham, between 1990 and 1996, where he taught and researched in Land Law, Trusts, and Insolvency(co-teaching with the late great Professor Bob Pennington). During this time he also became an insolvency consultant to his former firm, and subsequently until recently, to Lovells in London. David was also Vice-President of the University Senior Common Room.
In 1996 he emigrated to New Zealand and became a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, continuing to lecture and teach in Property Law, Trusts, Insolvency, as well as Corporate Governance, and Coordinating the Legal Research and Writing Programme. In 2001-2003 he was Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law, and during his 12 years at VUW he sat on and chaired several Faculty committees and reviews, and sat on several university committees. He became Overseas Credits Consultant to the Council of Legal Education, and an Examiner for the Council, and in 2005 he became the Council's Policy and Operations Manager. In 2008 he was Honours Coordinator in the Faculty of Law. David was an active contributor to the Wellington INSOL branch, as well as giving seminars on topics including corporate insolvency law, conveyancing and solicitor regulation, and charity law, to law firms, a Law Society 'roadshow, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the Higher Judiciary Studies programme. David also served as a Law Society representative on the Joint Insolvency Committee. In 2005 he was the Torys Visiting Fellow at the University of Western Ontario, where he taught Comparative Corporate Rescue in their Winter Term.
Since 1999 David was a consultant to the Government's Insolvency law review, and an adviser to the New Zealand Law Commission on insolvency law reform. He co-authored several leading books on New Zealand Land Law and New Zealand Insolvency Law during this time. Heath and Whale on Insolvency, was published in December 2008, and the second edition of Bennion, Brown et al on New Zealand Land Law, in October 2009.
In 2009 he moved to Adelaide, where he has continued to teach Insolvency Law at Masters level as well as Corporate Law, and has introduced a new undergraduate elective in Insolvency Law. In 2009 he taught Comparative Corporate Insolvency at the University of Mannheim on the joint MCL programme. He has continued to research in the area of insolvency law, and personal property securities law. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Law Council of Australia's Insolvency and Restucturing Committee, and an Academic Member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia. In June, he spoke at the INSOL conference in Vancouver, on alternatives to bankruptcy. In 2009, he co-organised an Insolvency Academics Workshop at the National Wine Centre, co-hosted with Associate Professor Chris Symes (then of Flinders University), and in May 2010 is co-hosting and speaking at the first in the Adelaide Law Masters/Law Society of South Australia conference series, , on the new Personal Property Securities legislation, as well as speaking in two sessions (and organising another academic workshop) at the National Insolvency Practitioners Association conference in Adelaide the following day.
Since 2010, with Associate Professor Chris Symes, David has been Co-Director of Australia's first and only Bankruptcy and Insolvency Scholarship Unit (BILS)@ Adelaide Law School.