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Expertise

Susan has over 20 years’ experience in advising and representing individuals, companies, government departments and professional services firms in a wide range of commercial disputes. She specialises in large complex commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including class actions. 

Susan has, over many years, acted in litigation for government departments, including Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Department of Home Affairs, and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). This work has included regulatory matters and investigations, judicial review and tort matters including claims for misfeasance in public office and defamation.

She has acted for both plaintiffs and defendants in large class actions. This has included developing claims, book building, and obtaining funding all the way through to settling claims with Court approval. As a result of this experience Susan assists her clients with unique insights gained from acting on both sides of the record. 

Susan also has extensive experience acting for professional services firms and for and against insolvency practitioners, including liquidators and receivers, in complex litigation arising out of some of the largest corporate failures in Australia. 

The matters which Susan regularly runs include complex trust issues, misleading and deceptive conduct, breaches of the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act, breach of director’s duties, auditor’s negligence, breach of contract and various torts including negligence and misfeasance in public office.

As well as contested litigation, Susan is experienced in seeking judicial advice and court approval for actions by insolvency practitioners and in relation to settlement of proceedings. Susan also regularly acts in liquidator’s examinations, both for liquidators and for examinees and has significant experience acting for various parties in proceedings seeking court approval for schemes of arrangement.

Susan has expertise in managing large databases of documents including the use of technology assisted review for the production of documents. She is also skilled in preparing lay and expert evidence (including briefing and working with experts) covering a very wide range of areas as well as having extensive experience in running interlocutory and final hearings and appeals.

Experience

Susan’s recent experience includes:

  • acting for SBS in a claim brought against it by Alan Jones, for defamation
  • acting for Miranda Devine in a claim brought against her and Nationwide News Limited for defamation
  • advising and acting for many individuals and organizations concerning claims for defamation and injurious falsehood
  • assisting ASIC in multiple large investigations arising out of the Royal Commission into Financial Services
  • defending a multimillion-dollar claim for misfeasance in public office, brought against officers of ASIC for cancellation by it of an Australian Financial Services Licence in the Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • defending officers of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in a claim in the Federal Court for misfeasance in public office
  • defending the Sydney Motorway Corporation in a claim relating to the compulsory acquisition of land brought by Desane Properties Pty Ltd.
  • acting in ASIC investigations, including one concerning whether a company’s website was misleading and another concerning whether an application for an Australian Financial Services Licence was misleading
  • acting for the liquidators of Equititrust Limited (a failed managed investments scheme) in proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against the former directors and auditors of Equititrust, including settling the proceedings and obtaining Court approval for the settlement
  • successfully defending a claim brought by the liquidator of Tamaya Resources Limited against a major accounting firm for auditor’s negligence and misleading and deceptive conduct in the Federal Court of Australia
  • acting in and settling a class action brought by shareholders of Tamaya Resources Limited against a major accounting firm, including in the opt out and settlement approval process
  • acting for a major accounting firm in multiple liquidators’ examinations, including brought by the liquidator of the Hastie Group
  • defending a company in a claim for oppression brought by one of its shareholders.

Publications

26 September 2022 - Knowledge

‘Erroneous claims’ of legal professional privilege could pose a reputational risk for in-house counsel

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Regulatory

In-house counsel are being reminded to take care when claiming legal professional privilege over documents after a recent inquiry found lawyers at an entertainment company made ‘erroneous claims’ of privilege over key documents.

14 September 2022 - Knowledge

Audit negligence can be a criminal matter

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

For the third time, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has brought criminal proceedings against an accounting firm and its auditors for failing to comply with audit standards.

14 September 2022 - Knowledge

When is an online publisher a publisher?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Google is not a publisher where it aggregates search results containing hyperlinks to defamatory material, whereas anyone who hosts or facilitates online or social media content may be a publisher of comments made by third parties.

13 July 2022 - Knowledge

ESG investing – ASIC releases new ‘greenwashing’ guidance

#Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Regulatory

ASIC has released guidance setting out the main risks relating to ‘greenwashing’ sustainability-related investments, products and services and what those who offer such products can do to avoid it.

15 June 2022 - Knowledge

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) explained: Five important considerations for companies and their lawyers

#Corporate & Commercial Law, #Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Planning, Environment & Sustainability

The term ‘ESG’ is becoming increasingly popular in the world of business and investment. Apart from knowing that it stands for environmental, social and governance, what does the term really mean and why is it important for your business?

15 June 2022 - Knowledge

Be warned (or reprimanded) – ASIC’s new powers against financial advisors

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Regulatory, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has recently released Information Sheet 270, which deals with its powers to issue reprimands and warnings under the Better Advice Act.

07 June 2022 - Knowledge

Q&A: Enforcing foreign judgments in Australia

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

Collaborating with LawExchange International and 12 other member firms, we answer key questions about the law respecting enforcing foreign judgments in Australia.

10 May 2022 - Knowledge

Cyber security becomes a regulatory concern

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Regulatory, #Data & Privacy, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

ASIC brings its first case against a financial services licencee for failures of authorised representatives to adequately manage their cyber risk.

08 February 2022 - Knowledge

Are you ready for the Better Advice Act?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

The Better Advice Act commenced on 29 October 2021 and introduced a number of requirements for financial advisers. This article focuses on the new ASIC panel and its implications for financial advisers.

15 September 2021 - Knowledge

Will the legislature bring defamation law regarding publication on social media platforms into the 21st century?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Technology, Media & Telecommunications

The High Court has confirmed that parties who manage public Facebook pages are ‘publishers’ of third-party comments on their page and are legally responsible for any defamatory comments.

08 September 2021 - Knowledge

Pitfalls and proposed changes in the use of R&D tax incentives

#Taxation

We look at two common mistakes in R&D tax offset claims, a landmark promoter penalty against a former tax agent and accountant, and recent regulatory developments in the R&D tax incentive space.

01 September 2021 - Knowledge

ASIC abandons its ‘why not litigate’ approach to enforcement – what’s next for auditors?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

In its latest corporate plan, ASIC pivots away from its ‘why not litigate’ enforcement approach and reports on its first criminal prosecution for auditing breaches. Will this impact auditors’ existing obligations?

18 August 2021 - Knowledge

When can a beneficiary claim joint legal professional privilege over advice obtained by a trustee?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

We explore the principles controlling joint legal professional privilege between a trustee and a beneficiary of a superannuation fund, and whether a representative applicant in a class action has joint privilege in legal advice with other group members.

10 November 2020 - Knowledge

COVID-19 economic crisis, class actions and funded litigation

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #COVID-19

We consider whether the economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic will lead to a wave of class actions and funded litigation.

21 October 2020 - Knowledge

Defamation claims: Can a conditional apology avoid aggravated damages?

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation

According to a recent Queensland Court of Appeal decision, a conditional apology may reduce the likelihood of a plaintiff being awarded aggravated damages where the defendant denies conveying defamatory imputation.

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