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Class Actions

HWL Ebsworth defended a corporate entity in the very first shareholder class action in Australia and, since then, has developed significant experience defending class action law suits for corporates, insurers and individuals.

The roles we have undertaken have involved exposure to some of the most significant class actions in Australia.  Our experience covers ASIC representative proceedings and privately run class actions, covering areas including shareholder class actions, financial product and investor class actions, consumer class actions, natural disaster or property damage claims and product liability actions.

We understand the significant reputational risk a class action poses to any brand if not carefully managed, and are able to add significant value here – having a wealth of experience working with PR and crisis managers, brand managers and other key stakeholders to ensure a clear and effective strategy is implemented as the matter progresses in Court. We are also practised in managing the additional complexities of dealing with class actions funded by external funders and how this impacts on settlement strategies.

As the only Australian law firm with truly national presence, we have the resources and depth to allocate to a class action matter in any jurisdiction, and can quickly and efficiently increase resourcing when required. Our national team has strong experience working seamlessly across large multi-jurisdictional matters.

Class actions have the ability to inflict significant cost impact upon a business, ultimately decreasing profitability. Our other key differentiator in this area of law lies in the value proposition we offer clients – our leading expertise is provided at highly competitive rates, ultimately providing a more cost effective solution.

We work with you to protect your operations, your brand, and your company.

EXPERIENCE
  • NSW Government and three TV networks: Successfully defended a class action commenced by 300 land owners regarding disputed licence fees that were argued to be outside of and in breach of the regulations regarding compulsory acquisition of land and ‘catching bargain’ licence arrangements. This matter was commercially resolved avoiding a significant harm risk to all parties we were representing;
  • NSW’s largest electricity generation business: Represented one of Australia’s largest electricity generators in defending a class action commenced by landowners who lost their homes during significant bushfires in NSW. This matter was commercially resolved with a keen focus on the reputational harm risk to the client;
  • AMP: Led AMP’s GIO class action team in AMP’s defence for GIO of the GIO shareholder class action, resulting in successful substantial contribution from the Directors, Grant Samuel, Macquarie Bank and PwC;
  • Pearls Infrastructure Projects Limited (PIPL): Responded to a class action by Indian investors asserting funds invested were applied as part of one of the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme towards the acquisition of the Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast.  Matter is ongoing and involves interlocutory relief to freeze the sale proceeds of the Sheraton Mirage (circa $140 million) and final relief involving tracing orders and declarations that funds are held on constructive trust;
  • Large AFSL consumer loans business: Acted in a substantial class action defence involving alleged breaches of AFSL provisions with over 200,000 consumers;
  • International Airlines: Successfully resolved a class action brought by travel agents against our clients (two international airlines) for alleged misleading conduct and breach of standard form contracts;
  • Major Australian bank: Successfully defended two class actions and regulatory proceedings brought by ASIC relating to the failed Storm Financial investment scheme; and
  • Village Roadshow: Successful defence of the company and its directors in the shareholder class action against Village Roadshow.