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Expertise


Howard has more than 28 years’ commercial dispute experience and is the national head of the firm’s Dispute Resolution and Litigation practice.

He has an active practice in complex commercial litigation and in significant white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions involving a wide range of commercial criminal matters, regulatory investigations and large scale inquiries, including Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry.

Howard is recognised by Who’s Who Legal internationally as a leading provider of legal services for investigations, and was listed in Business Crime, Investigations & Asset Recovery in the Australia 2019 guide. He is also recognised by Best Lawyers as a leading practitioner in Litigation and Criminal Defence, and is listed in Doyle’s Guide as a Leading Victorian Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lawyer. Howard was most recently recognised in the 2020 edition of Doyles Guide as leading Mediator for Victoria.

Experience

Howard's experience includes:

Commercial Disputes

Howard advises on litigation in the Supreme and Federal Courts (both in Melbourne and interstate) involving all forms of commercial disputes, including contract, directors’ duties, joint ventures, trust disputes and class actions.

Commercial Crime

Howard acts in defence of companies and individuals being investigated or prosecuted for alleged breaches of the Corporations Act, the Australian Consumer Law and Federal and State criminal law. Over the last twelve years he has been closely involved in major prosecutions brought in Australia under its foreign bribery laws. At present Howard is involved in advising companies, directors and officers in foreign bribery investigations relating to India, Malaysia, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry

Howard has acted in numerous Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, including the following:

  • in 2020, Howard is leading the firm's team acting for four parties involved in the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess 
  • in 2019/2020, Howard is leading the firm's team acting as Solicitors Assisting the Royal Commission into Management of Police Informants
  • in 2019, Howard acted for one of the parties involved in the Aged Care Royal Commission
  • in 2016/2017, Howard acted for one of the institutions being investigated by the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse
  • in 2014/2015, he acted for the Construction and Building Unions Superannuation fund (Cbus), one of Australia’s largest Industry Superannuation funds, in the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption
  • in 2013/2014, Howard acted for one of the parties being investigated by the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program
  • in 2006/2007, Howard represented various officers of AWB Ltd before the Cole Commission of Inquiry
  • in 2001/2002 he led the firm’s efforts in representing the State of Victoria before the Royal Commission into the Building & Construction Industry.

Regulatory Investigations

Howard has substantial experience acting for companies and individuals in responding to, defending and resolving investigations and prosecutions brought by Federal and State regulators. He has significant experience in developing strategy and tactics for clients from dealing with many regulators, including but not limited to:

  • ASIC
  • ACCC
  • the Australian Federal Police (AFP)
  • the Victoria Police 
  • the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)
  • the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and its interstate equivalent anti-corruption agencies
  • Office of the Chief Examiner.

White Collar Criminal Defence

Howard has many years’ experience in advising both companies and individuals in dealing with all forms of commercial crime, including fraud claims, foreign bribery and anti-corruption matters, cartel charges as well as prosecutions under Federal and Victorian criminal law.

Insurance Coverage Disputes

In dealing with commercial and criminal disputes, Howard has developed a substantial knowledge of Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance issues and claims. In addition, he also has in-depth experience in advising companies and individuals in acting against insurers in pursuing claims in a commercial context, for example business interruption claims, fidelity claims and business insurance issues generally.

Membership

  • Australian Institute of Administrative Law
  • Australian Corporate Lawyers Association

Publications

03 June 2020 - Knowledge

COVID-19 and business interruption insurance: Can an outdated exclusion clause still exclude?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

As businesses continue to experience financial pressure from unprecedented COVID-19 forced closures and restricted trading, many businesses naturally look to their business interruption insurance policies for relief.

04 May 2020 - Knowledge

Resolving financial lines insurance disputes in uncertain times: Is the Federal Court’s “short matters” insurance list the answer?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

We take a close look at the benefits of the insurance list in the Federal Court as a quick and clear means for the business world to resolve insurance issues and explain how it works and how it could be used.

16 April 2020 - Knowledge

COVID-19: Directors and Officers insurance after the dust settles

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

Directors and Officers insurance policies provide protection for company board members, executives and managers from claims arising from their decisions and actions within the scope of their regular duties.

05 February 2020 - Knowledge

Australia struggles to improve global corruption perception ranking

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

National foreign bribery legislation, consistently criticised as being narrow in scope and inadequately enforced, could be in line for a shake-up following the release of the latest Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International that has shown Australia sitting in 12th place. We examine the rankings and look at how Australia can strengthen its anti-corruption regime in 2020.

27 June 2019 - Knowledge

Key case considers important trademark issues

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

Trademarks are an important feature of many modern businesses, establishing a business’s presence in a market by assisting it to be recognisable to consumers in that market. The Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) (the Act) enables a person or business to protect, by way of registration, a sign that is used, or intended to be used, to distinguish goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade by a person from goods or services so dealt with or provided by any other person.

26 March 2019 - Knowledge

Will your employer protect you if the regulator comes knocking?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Corporate & Commercial Law

The news that IOOF’s CFO has secured separate legal representation to that of his company in Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s action against five IOOF directors and executives has delivered an important reminder to all senior executives

08 October 2018 - Knowledge

Royal Commission into the Aged Care sector: Why individuals rather than corporations stand to lose the most

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

The year opened with a high-profile royal commission with far-reaching consequences and significant fall-out - and the year is set to close with another. The recently announced Royal Commission into the Aged Care sector will tackle issues that go to the heart of our aging population – opening up the industry for a forensic grilling.