Slater and Gordon deal was only way to avoid insolvency

by Steve Randall12 Jul 2017
Slater and Gordon deal was only way to avoid insolvency
The lawsuits brought by shareholders of Slater and Gordon appear to be reaching a conclusion, saving the Australian-listed law firm from likely insolvency.

An in principle conditional agreement has been reached to settle the action brought on behalf of Matthew Hall and two class actions already filed. It also applies to the notification of a third class action and any and all potential shareholder claims against the Company and its directors and officers; although claims for apportionable claims will still be possible.

The proposal is that the firm’s insurers will pay $32.5 million with a further $4 million from the hedge funds which bought nearly all of the company’s debt. The settlement is made without admission of liability and will require approval from the Federal Court.

Commenting on the development, Maurice Blackburn’s national head of class actions Andrew Watson said it was the best outcome for a terrible situation for shareholders given that Slater and Gordon’s assets would not cover any judgment.

“Given the insurance policy limits, and the fact that Slater and Gordon’s defence costs for all actions also come out of the insurance, the proposed settlement will avoid further erosion of the available funds and return to class members as much of what remains under the policies as possible,” Mr Watson said.

Google lines up heavyweight representation for next round with EU
As Google prepares to fight the next round of its battle with the European Union over antitrust allegations, it has been lining up some top law firms.

Following its record fine of 2.42 billion Euros for favouring its own shopping service in its search results, Google has added some extra weight to its legal representation.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Allen & Overy, Slaughter and May, Garrigues and White & Case are the law firms going into battle for the internet colossus, Business Insider reports.

Norton Rose Fulbright partner Ian Giles, said that the new additions to Google’s legal arsenal makes sense given the magnitude of the issue.

"There may be simple capacity reasons as to why they are sharing the workload between a number of law firms, but there is also value to seeking a second opinion, reconsidering strategy, and bringing new ideas to the table," Giles told Business Insider.   

New Law Society president vows to tackle unregulated legal firms
The Law Society of England & Wales has a new president and he has set out his priorities in his inaugural speech to the society’s AGM.

Joe Egan said that he is worried by marketing from legal services firms promising access to independent solicitors: “They are using our brand to sell their services to an unsuspecting public.”

He went on to say that he knows there is battle ahead with the Solicitors Regulation Authority over allowing unregulated firms to employ solicitors. Mr Egan said it was “a battle we must win.”

He also set out the importance of promoting the English legal profession and its “Global Legal Centre” campaign which has included visits from him to Melbourne in the last year.

Other priorities include protecting access to justice and of course “steadying the ship” through the Brexit process.