Frances Dreyer Partner

Frances specialises in Federal and Supreme Court litigation with a focus on claims related to financial products, accounting irregularities and the health sector.

Frances is recognised by clients as “truly outstanding” (Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2019) and as having “an astounding mastery of complex subject matters, such as expert evidence“ (Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2021). She is also highly responsive, and easy to work with, as consistently 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).

Frances manages large scale and high profile litigation with careful and strategic focus. She has held the central co-ordinating role in large litigation projects for over 15 years, including and large regulatory actions, large investment related class actions (on both the plaintiff and defendant side), multifaceted defence projects and high value audit and accounting claims.

Frances also manages contractual and commercial disputes with efficiency and commerciality. She has built strong “first call” relationships with commercial clients and is trusted for her sophisticated and “hands on” approach.

Frances has particular experience working with clients within the healthcare sector, including in relation to business critical disputes and crisis management. Frances works as an ongoing partner to her healthcare clients and is often involved in risk management and problem solving as well as disputes. Her understanding of the sector dynamics, and regulatory landscape, enables her to work collaboratively with her clients to identify practical solutions to legal and risk issues.

Alongside her litigation work,  Frances is joint pro bono partner. She has played a central leadership role in driving the firm’s national practice which supports low income, disadvantaged and marginalised people in the Australian community and the organisations that support them. In only two years, our practice achieved 48 pro bono hours per lawyer, exceeding the national pro bono target – a process that is usually expected to take five years.

Experience

Litigation - Regulatory

ASIC BBSW Litigation (secondment)

Working on secondment with the ASIC team in the claim formulation phase of the ASIC ANZ and Westpac claims in respect of the bank bill swap rate. (Settled).

ASIC Westpoint Litigation

Acting for ASIC in litigation brought 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.

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 valued at over $35 million in the Supreme Court of Northern Territory made against GEAT’s former auditor, accountants and solicitors. The work included extensive forensic accounting issues and collaboration with the NT government and various government and quasi-government bodies.

Litigation – Class actions

Aurora Cruises Defence

Acting for Aurora Expeditions across numerous claims relating to the “Greg Mortima” cruise ship, which was effected by COVID19 cases and became stranded off the coast of Uruguay. There were widespread threats of a class action and numerous individual claims filed. Frances co-ordinated the defence strategy and represented Aurora in each threatened or filed action.

Dick Smith Class Action

Acting for the plaintiffs in claims arising out of failures of disclosure and accounting irregularities relating to the failed Dick Smith group, including extensive work on accounting and financial economic evidence.

DDH Graham (Bank of Queensland) Class Action

Acting for the defendant money market manager company in a $60M Federal Court of Australia claim commenced by retail deposit holders.

MFS Premium Income Action

Acting for the applicants in Federal Court of Australia claims arising from the failure of the A$1 billion MFS Premium Income Fund (managed investment scheme). (Successfully settled).

Litigation - Commercial

Crescent Capital (Portfolio Company Litigation)

Advising across a range of disputes and areas of litigation risk for private equity fund Crescent Capital relating to numerous of their portfolio companies (including matters related to insurance, shareholder issues, technology projects, product liability, large value debt collection, health care and property). This has included strategic management of litigation being run by other firms.

Ausbil Investment Management Limited (Ausbil)

Acting for Ausbil (ASX listed fund) in respect of claims against its auditors and compliance plan auditors in relation to overcharging of fees worth in excess of $30 million. (Successfully settled).

Centuria Capital Limited

Acting in relation to numerous investment related claims and large debt collection claims. (Successfully settled).

Healthcare disputes (public)

Australian Clinical Laboratories (ACL)

Acting in relation to Supreme Court proceeding regarding the protection of business critical confidential information from disclosure to competitors.

Healthcare Australia (HCA)

Acting in relation to contractual disputes arising in relation to large government contracts.

Healthcare Australia (HCA)

Acting in relation to issues associated with hotel quarantine projects in Victoria and NSW.

Healthcare Australia (HCA)

Acting in relation to numerous issues associated with the Covid19 vaccine rollout in NSW and Qld.

Nucleus Networks

Acting in relation to contractual disputes for the provider of human healthcare clinical trials.

Healthcare disputes (client name withheld)

Contractual disputes with public hospitals

Acting for a large national health services provider in relation to a range of contractual disputes with a number of public hospitals in Victoria.

Crisis management

Acting for medical companies in relation to the management of legal and relationships risks following medical or systems errors in large medical projects.

AHPRA & National Boards

Acting for individuals in respect of notifications made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and in respect of complaints made to National Boards.

Insurance projects

Acting is relation to projects concerning the review of public liability risks in relation to national health projects.

Restraints in the dental industry

Acting for a large chain of dental practices in relation to business restraints.

Public health tender disputes

Acting for large medical businesses in relations to complaints arising from government tender processes.

Software disputes

Acting in respect of disputes with the providers of medical software, including in relation to regulatory non-compliance in software features.

Property disputes

Acting for a large national health services provider in relation disputes related to leases and other property matters in connection with public hospitals.

Doctor shareholder disputes

Acting in shareholder disputes in relation to medical businesses, including in businesses which are doctor owned.

Insurance

Infrastructure claims

Advising ASX listed energy and infrastructure corporations on insurance matters including in relation to major multimillion dollar Australian and New Zealand infrastructure construction claims regarding on and offshore energy and oil drilling assets, business interruption claims and defective part claims. (Successfully settled).

D&O Claims / PI Claims

Advising ASX listed companies and investment funds in relation to directors and officers claims, trustee’s duties claims, and defence costs claims. (Successfully settled).

PI coverage project

Advising a national business in respect of Public Liability coverage issues across multiple own subsidiaries and multiple projects.

Recognition

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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