Stephen’s career spans over 30 years in commercial and corporate litigation, with a focus on reconstruction and insolvency. He has worked closely with various financial institutions and is often sought by commercial clients to assist in identifying and managing risks.
As well as acting in purely litigation matters, Stephen also works closely with members of other practice groups within the firm, advising clients on matters that may have a litigation potential.
In addition, Stephen advises on contractual issues including IT contracts, joint venture agreements and partnership agreements.
Stephen is a regular speaker at seminars on litigation and insolvency issues. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Australia list for many years, and as recently as 2019.
- advising the liquidators of the Linter Group and related companies on a range of issues arising from a multimillion dollar administration, including the development of a scheme of arrangement for a group conducting the largest textile and garment business in Australia, two major actions against former advisers and financiers to the company, litigation in courts both in Australia and the United States concerning claims by various American institutions, and litigation with the ATO concerning the ability of companies in liquidation to utilise pre-liquidation tax losses;
- acting for a fund manager in a dispute with a large superannuation fund over the ability of the fund manager to claim a substantial termination fee when its mandate was terminated; the dispute was heard in the Victorian Court of Appeal;
- acting for the Singapore subsidiary of a Japanese manufacturer in a dispute with its Australian distributor; the dispute centred on the quality and fitness for purpose of digital set top boxes manufactured by the Singapore subsidiary, and a determination of the losses suffered by the distributor;
- acting for the trustee of a discretionary trust that controlled a significant and profitable restaurant group where there was a dispute between beneficiaries; the matter successfully settled;
- advising one part of an extended family operating an extensive agricultural operation utilising one trust, leading to a successful ‘divorce’; and
- advising the administrators of Forest Enterprise Australia Ltd and its subsidiary FEA Plantations Ltd. FEA Plantations is the responsible entity of some 18 managed investment schemes in the forestry arena. The retainer involved advising the administrators on their rights and obligations as administrators of the responsible entity, acting on their behalf in numerous court applications, and advising on the competing claims of secured creditors and participants in the various schemes.
Pro Bono and Community Work
Stephen supports several charities including PILCH Victoria and the Lost Dogs Home.