Dispute resolution

Overview

We have leading-edge experience in advising clients on large-scale litigation and class actions. Our litigation partners have been involved in most of the significant claims and major class actions in Australia over the last 20 years.

We are unique amongst Australian firms because we act for both plaintiffs and defendants in large-scale litigation and class actions related to antitrust/competition, corporate, financial services and tax matters. Members of our team are widely recognised litigation and class action experts.

Tough litigators who do a very good job for their clients.
Chambers Asia-Pacific

We also have considerable expertise in acting for litigation funders who drive class action litigation in Australia. This experience provides us with invaluable insights into the judgment calls made for both plaintiffs and defendants in the conduct of complex claims. Our clients obtain commercially attractive results based on our savvy, strategic and non-process driven advice.

We provide a compelling offer of outstanding litigation services. Our independence and relative conflict-free positioning enables us to pursue plaintiff-based litigation, as well as defendant work.  Our focus on providing strategic advice to Australian funds on class actions puts us in a unique position to prosecute their claims.

We are dedicated to the causes we fight, and to achieving the best case scenario for our valued clients.

Experience

Recent disputes

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

Acted for ASIC in proceedings against two of Australia’s largest banks, the ANZ and Westpac bank, for alleged market manipulation and rigging of the bank bill swap rate (BBSW) for financial gain.

Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust Inc

Acting for one of the largest Aboriginal Trusts in the Northern Territory, the Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust Inc, in prosecuting various claims against advisors arising from fraud, breaches of trust and financial irregularities.

Gunns Liquidation

Representing the liquidators of the Gunns Group (PPB Advisory) in a claim in the Supreme Court of Tasmania against its former auditors, KPMG, arising from their 2009 audit of the Group.

Jetstar Airways

Acting for Jetstar in defending civil penalty proceedings brought by the ACCC, alleging misleading and deceptive conduct by Jetstar (and Virgin) in relation to the imposition of a ‘booking and service fee’ on online ticket sales.

Octaviar Liquidation

Acting for the liquidators of the Octaviar Group in Supreme Court of NSW proceedings against its former auditors, KPMG.

RiverCity Motorway Proceedings

Acting for the liquidators (PPB Advisory) of the financially collapsed RiverCity tunnel infrastructure project in litigation involving claims by the project lenders for nearly $2 billion and by the unitholders in a $280 million funded class action.

State of Victoria

Successfully represented the State of Victoria in two significant disputes with Tabcorp Holdings Ltd and Tatts Group Ltd over compensation following the expiration of their gaming licenses in 2012.

PPB Advisory as liquidators of Linc Energy Limited

Acting for the liquidators of Linc Energy against the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Attorney-General for the State of Queensland in landmark proceedings challenging the government’s attempts to levy an environmental clean-up liability on the liquidation for the remediation costs of an underground coal gasification testing facility.

Prysmian Cavi e Sistemi Energia Srl.

Acting for an Italian subsidiary company of the global Prysmian Group in its defence of civil penalty proceedings brought by the ACCC in the Federal Court. The proceedings concern allegations that Prysmian and its competitors were previously members of an international cartel arrangement, and would effectively allocate and fix the minimum prices for contract tenders for the provisions of land and submarine cables.

Class actions

Standard & Poor’s Global Inc

Acting for the lead applicants, Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society & others, in Federal Court proceedings against Standard & Poor’s for multi-million dollar losses related to investments in synthetic CDOs, which carried their credit ratings from AA- to AAA and were sold through Lehman Brothers’ Australian subsidiary.

Quintis

Acting for the defendants in 3 separate securities class actions arising out of the collapse of the Quintis group and the loss of funds in its Indian Sandalwood Plantation across Northern Australia. The cases involve breaches of continuous disclosure rules and allegations of significant accounting irregularities.

Pitcher Partners

Acting for the lead applicant in a shareholders class action against Pitcher Partners, the auditors of Slater + Gordon, with a potential claim value of $300 million.

SurfStitch Group

Acting for the lead applicant against the company for failure to correct profit guidance in allegations that the company artificially raised its revenue and, consequently, its share price.

Dick Smith and directors

Acting for the plaintiffs (a group of institutional investors) in claims worth $125 million for misleading conduct around the prospectus issued in late 2014 and its subsequent market disclosures concerning stock levels, inventory, stock purchasing and provisioning.

DDH Graham

Defended one of two defendants in the Federal Court of Australia in a $60 million class action brought by depositors allegedly defrauded by third party financial advisers on accounts DDH Graham managed as agent for the Bank of Queensland.

Gunns and Gunns Plantations

Defending a class action brought by growers/investors in forestry managed investment schemes. The claims focus on breach of trust and allegations that funds held subject to specific conditions were used as general working capital.

BankSA (a division of Westpac)

Acting for the lead applicants against Bank SA for losses incurred as a result of investments in a private lending business alleged to be a fraudulent and a dishonest Ponzi Scheme.

Rio Tinto

Defending a director and former CEO of Rio Tinto in a shareholder class action in New York against Rio Tinto PLC and its directors.

People

Recognition

The JWS team wins praise for its "clear, effective and well-directed communication and advice".
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2017
Paul Reidy and Robert Johnston are ranked as leading lawyers in Dispute Resolution.
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2018
Paul Reidy is recognised as a Leading Individual in Dispute Resolution.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2018
Paul Buitendag, Aldo Nicotra, Tony Johnson, Joseph Scarcella, Robert Johnston, Tom Jarvis, Ben Renfrey, Richard Lilly and Chris Connor are recommended in Dispute Resolution Law.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2018
Johnson Winter & Slattery's Dispute Resolution practice is ranked in Tier 2.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2018
Chris Connor, Will Coulthard, Susan Doherty, Tom Jarvis, Robert Johnston, Richard Lilly, John Powell, Paul Reidy, Roxanne Smith, Toni Vozzo and Robert Wyld are listed as leading lawyers in Litigation.
Best Lawyers Australia, 2019
Tom Jarvis, Sam Johnson, Tony Johnson, Richard Lilly, John Powell, Paul Reidy, Ben Renfrey and Toni Vozzo are listed as leading lawyers in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Best Lawyers Australia, 2019
Robert Johnston is listed as a leading lawyer in Class Action Litigation.
Best Lawyers Australia, 2019
The "go-to guys for the difficult stuff".
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2018
Paul Reidy … enjoys widespread recognition as a "very good" and "well regarded" disputes lawyer with an especially notable profile for the handling of sensitive regulatory issues.
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2018
Robert Johnston "really looks after his clients" and "the level of personal service is outstanding."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2018
"Readily accessible depth of experience and advice, with a specialist in any area where you need advice."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2017
"Many of the associates are very promising practitioners – junior litigators who will make their mark in due time."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2017
"Bringing relevant expertise to the table in a very cohesive manner."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2017
Paul Reidy is "very well regarded in the commercial litigation space," and sources characterise him as "strategically strong and clever" and "extremely responsive."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2016
"A good team - and a good team effort - for a large piece of litigation."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2016
(JWS) provides national coverage of contentious issues, particularly for clients from the energy and natural resources and media sectors. Also active on disputes involving competition law, and in funded litigation and class actions.
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2015
"Niche performers at the highest level: what they do, they do superbly."
Chambers Asia Pacific, 2015

Related insights Read more insight

BOQ caught out on insurance policy clause

A judgment handed down in the Supreme Court of New South Wales this week involving the Bank of Queensland (Bank of Queensland Ltd v AIG Australia Ltd [2018] NSWSC 1689) highlights just how critical...

More
Recalibration of funding commissions to better link risk and reward

Lenthall reaffirms the Federal Court’s preference for common fund orders with funding commission rates struck by the lesser of a multiple of costs or net recoveries to better link risk and reward.

More
Linc Energy – High Court refuses special leave to Qld State Government

The High Court has refused to grant the Queensland State Government (Qld Government) special leave to appeal the Queensland Court of Appeal’s March 2018 decision in favour of the liquidators of...

More