Disputes and litigation

We pride ourselves on quickly establishing the facts that lie at the heart of commercial disputes, synthesising that data and evaluating the consequential damage or loss suffered.

Our forensic accounting experts help you navigate the complexities of quantifying financial loss and will communicate solutions to complex technical issues in easy-to-understand language. 

We understand the stresses and pressures associated with litigation and the importance of keeping you informed throughout the dispute. We tailor our services to your needs and proactively manage each engagement to deliver accurate, timely and cost effective reports.

Experts services

We are experienced in providing a wide range of independent and consulting expert services and have given expert witness testimony across a broad spectrum of commercial disputes and litigation, including:

  • Breach of contract and competition law disputes
  • Business interruption insurance claims
  • Family Law
  • Fraud investigations
  • Insolvent trading actions
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Post-acquisition / shareholder disputes
  • Shareholder oppression
  • Valuation

 

CASE STUDIES

Directors’ duties: dividend payments

The plaintiffs alleged that the directors of Dick Smith caused material prejudice to the company’s directors by paying the 2015 interim and final dividends, a breach of s254(T) of the Corporations Act. We were engaged by the defendant directors to opine on the methodology adopted by the directors for assessing the impact of the dividend payments on creditors’ interests and the adequacy of the information relied upon by the directors for taking those decisions. Paul played an instrumental role in preparing the two expert and joint expert reports, drawing on his technical accounting expertise, and his financial and corporate board reporting experience gained from working in Australia’s two largest financial institutions and the largest provider of vocational education in NSW. Our report was read into evidence unchallenged, with the Court finding in favour of the defendant directors.

 

Shareholder dispute: valuation

The plaintiff launched Supreme Court proceedings in relation to his rights as a shareholder of a large corporate group which included a unit trust, seeking to have the other shareholders purchase his interest after having been forced out of working in the business. The action was hotly contested with the value of the interest a key integer in the dispute. Jacqueline was engaged to prepare a valuation of the plaintiff’s interest and to critique the defendants’ initial and later updated valuations. Not only did Jacqueline identify that the defendants’ valuer made a fundamental error in the valuation methodology which materially understated his valuation (by some $5 million) – an error that the opposing valuer accepted and later adjusted – but her valuation was instrumental in achieving a successful settlement for the plaintiff, significantly in excess of the defendants’ initial offer. Had the matter gone to trial there was a risk that the defendants’ valuation reports may not have been admissible as there was evidence that the valuer’s independence had been compromised.

 

Damages for breach of employee agreement

The plaintiff, a local subsidiary of global refractory dryout and heatup business, alleged that it suffered losses as a result of breaches by a former employee of his confidentiality and non-compete agreement, and of his director’s duties (as a former director of the plaintiff). Paul was engaged by the defendant review and critique the report and damages quantified by the plaintiff’s expert. The matter, which settled prior to proceeding to Court, was favourable to Paul’s client.

 

Accounting interpretation

A shareholder’s dispute arose over the interpretation of the compensation payable to the directors under the shareholders’ agreement. Paul was engaged by the defendant to provide a report setting out his opinion on the interpretation of the disputed phrase in accordance with Accounting Standards and quantify the directors’ fee payable, which assisted his client achieving a favourable outcome.

 

Patent infringement

The applicants alleged that the respondents infringed the applicant’s patent in an equine and bovine feed distribution process. Paul was asked to quantify the damages suffered by the applicant. As the loss period extended back eight years and critical financial information was not readily available, Paul was required to undertake extensive financial analysis and modelling to quantify the damages under multiple scenarios, relying on a combination of general ledger financial data and related source documents. The matter settled after Court proceedings had commenced, with the respondent accepting a settlement offer from the respondent.

 

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