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Class Actions

A quarter of a century after class actions were first permitted in Australasia, the class action is a well-established item on the Federal Court list, and the New Zealand judicial system is now witnessing its first major representative actions. Specialist litigation funders and plaintiff law firms are fuelling class actions, so all indications are that the growth in claims, particularly in shareholder class actions, will continue.

By mid 2018, there are more than 25 actions before Australia’s Federal Court and Wotton + Kearney is acting on more than half of all the active claims. We have also had involvement in most significant representative actions before the New Zealand courts.

We’ve built our reputation for leading some of the insurance market’s most complex, high-profile and high-value claims. Our exposure to class actions in multiple industries, often involving complex allegations against numerous different individuals and entities, provides us with particular expertise in advising defendants and their insurers.

Our team has advised on actions that have made companies house-hold names and formed legal lore. Some examples of these are:

Securities class action against Slater & Gordon Limited

Acting as coverage counsel for the London market in one of the highest-profile securities class actions in Australia, with allegations of alleged misleading conduct and market disclosure breaches.

Settling the $200 million Centro Properties shareholders class action

In the highest class action settlement to date in Australia, we acted for the primary D&O insurer of Centro Properties in defending the class action against the company and civil penalty proceedings against its directors.

Leighton Holdings regulatory investigations and shareholder class actions

Acting for the primary D&O insurer of Leighton Holdings in relation to ASIC and Australian Federal Police investigations and shareholder class actions.

Shareholder class action worth $350m +

Defending third party proceedings brought by a publicly listed company in the context of three shareholder class actions worth more than $350 million.

We are the law firm of choice to provide coverage advice to insurers and defend class actions brought against blue-chip companies, statutory agencies and corporate executives. We can help you when governance or management oversight has failed, when protocols and procedures have fallen short, or when sheer bad luck or bad advice threatens your organisation.