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Frances specialises in large scale Federal and Supreme Court litigation with a focus on complex claims related to financial products and securities.
Recognised as “truly outstanding” (Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2019), she is regarded for her strong technical acumen in the areas of accounting and financial economics, and for her efficient project management.
Frances has a demonstrated ability to efficiently manage large scale, multi-party and high profile litigation on both the plaintiff and defence side. She has held the central co-ordinating role in such claims consistently over the past decade, including the current Dick Smith securities claims, securities claims arising from the failed A$1 billion MFS Premium Income Fund, claims made by listed funds in respect of audit and accounting failures and the ASIC Westpoint litigation. Frances is focused and confident in the face of complicated, hard fought and protracted litigation.
Frances’ practice has a focus on accounting, investment and financial product claims. She has strong skills and knowledge in respect of technical audit and accounting issues, financial economics and financial instruments. Frances works closely with the leading experts in forensic accounting, audit, financial economics and sophisticated financial products and markets. She is recognised by these experts for her detailed and sophisticated approach.
Frances graduated from Flinders University of South Australia in 2005 with degrees in Law and Economics. She was awarded the University Medal for her studies in law, was the Dux of the Law School and was the graduating law student with the highest ranking Honours score.
acted for ASIC in litigation bought by it under section 50 of the ASIC Act against the auditors and former directors of the failed Westpoint Group of companies. This litigation is recognised as one of the largest and most complex claims ever made in Australia and ultimately resulted in a settlement of over $50 million (2008 – 2011).
Assisting ASIC (on secondment as a project manager) in its claims ANZ and Westpac bank in respect of rate rigging (BBSW cases) and in preparing expert evidence.
Acting for GEAT (one of the largest Aboriginal trusts in Australia) and the Statutory Manager appointed to GEAT in relation to claims in the Supreme Court of Northern Territory made against GEAT’s former auditor, accountants and solicitors seeking damages for permitting fraud to occur within the fund over many years. Successfully settled.
Acting for the applicants in a class action in the Federal Court of Australia arising from the failure of the A$1 billion MFS Premium Income Fund. The claim was against the fund’s former compliance plan auditors, KPMG, and former directors. Successfully settled.
Acting for Ausbil in respect of claims made by it in the Federal Court of Australia against its auditors and compliance plan auditors in relation to overcharging of fees worth in excess of $30 million. Successfully settled.
Acting for the institutional investor plaintiffs in a $200M shareholder class action arising out of failures of disclosure and accounting irregularities.
Acting for the defendant company in respect of two shareholder class actions seeking damages of over $100M arising from failures of disclosure, including particular work on share inflation measurement.
Acting for the defendant money market manager company in a $60M class action commenced by retail deposit holders. Successfully settled.
Designing and administering the PIF Class Action settlement scheme, which saw damages payments made to over 7000 unit holders.
Co-ordinated the legal work required for establish the ICP litigation funding vehicle.
We have started to see the Federal Court use its discretionary powers in respect of class actions to order defendants to disclose their insurance policies to plaintiffs.