Frances Dreyer Partner

Frances specialises in large scale Federal and Supreme Court litigation with a focus on complex claims related to financial products and securities.

Frances specialises Federal and Supreme Court litigation with a focus on claims related to financial products, investment vehicles and accounting issues. Frances is recognised by clients as “truly outstanding” (Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2019, client feedback) and as having “an astounding mastery of complex subject matters, such as expert evidence “ (Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021, client feedback). She is also highly responsive, accessible and easy to work with, as recognised in client feedback “Frances Dreyer goes above and beyond in servicing her clients. She is smart, thoughtful, pragmatic and commercial' (Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021, client feedback).

Frances manages large scale, multi-party and high profile litigation with efficiency, strategic focus and tenacity. Frances has held the central co-ordinating role in such claims consistently over the past decade, including numerous large investment related class actions on both the plaintiff and defendant side, class action defence projects arising from COVID-19 scenarios in the travel industry, high value audit and accounting claims and large regulatory actions.

Frances also manages contractual and commercial disputes with efficiency and commerciality. She has built strong ongoing and “first call” relationships with commercial clients and invests energy in understanding the nuances of different businesses and industries.

Frances graduated from Flinders University of South Australia in 2005 with degrees in Law and Economics. She received the University Medal, was the Dux of the Law School and the graduating law student with the highest ranking Honours score.

Experience

General

ASIC

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.

Audit and accounting negligence

Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust (GEAT)

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.

MFS Premium Income Fund Class Action

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.

Ausbil Investment Management Limited (Ausbil)

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.

Shareholder/Financial Product Class Actions/ Litigation Funding

Dick Smith Class Action

Acting for the institutional investor plaintiffs in a $200M shareholder class action arising out of failures of disclosure and accounting irregularities.

Quintis Class Action

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.

DDH Graham Class Action

Acting for the defendant money market manager company in a $60M class action commenced by retail deposit holders. Successfully settled.

MFS Premium Income Fund Class Action Settlement Administration

Designing and administering the PIF Class Action settlement scheme, which saw damages payments made to over 7000 unit holders.

ICP

Co-ordinated the legal work required for establish the ICP litigation funding vehicle.

Recognition

Litigation Rising Star
Lawyerly, 2021
'Frances Dreyer in particular displays an astounding mastery of complex subject matters, such as expert evidence'
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021
‘Frances Dreyer goes above and beyond in servicing her clients. She is smart, thoughtful, pragmatic and commercial'
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021
Recognised as a key lawyer in dispute resolution: class actions and litigation
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021
Partner of the year - big law (finalist)
Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards, 2020
New partner of the year (finalist)
Lawyers Weekly, 2020
'Truly outstanding'
Client feedback - Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2019

Career & qualifications

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Flinders University 
  • Bachelor of Economics, Flinders University

Memberships

  • Law Society of New South Wales
  • Federal Court of Australia Professional Liaison Committee

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