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 Dreyer was fantastic. She is … highly intelligent, got across very complex evidence and had a fairly exhaustive understanding of the whole case.” (Chambers Asia Pacific, 2024).
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 in large regulatory actions, large investment related litigation (including 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 works as an ongoing partner in respect of strategic disputes, crisis management and BAU dispute and risk management.
Frances is recognised by Legal500, Chambers & Partners, Doyles Guide and Best Lawyers. She was a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards (2020) and Women in Law Awards, Big Law (2020). She holds 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.
Alongside her litigation work, Frances is joint chair of the firm’s pro bono practice. 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.
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).
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.
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.
Acting for retail investors in derivative products known as “CFDs” against the Australian arm of the global CMC Group. CMC is one of the largest online platforms for the issue of CFDs and the claim involves allegations of misleading and systemic unconscionable conduct by CMC in respect of its issue of highly leveraged, complex and risky financial products to retail investors.
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.
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.
Acting for the defendant money market manager company in a $60M Federal Court of Australia claim commenced by retail deposit holders.
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).
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.
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).
Acting in relation to numerous investment related claims and large debt collection claims. (Successfully settled).
Acting in relation to Supreme Court proceeding regarding the protection of business critical confidential information from disclosure to competitors.
Acting in relation to contractual disputes arising in relation to large government contracts.
Acting in relation to issues associated with hotel quarantine projects in Victoria and NSW.
Acting in relation to numerous issues associated with the Covid19 vaccine rollout in NSW and Qld.
Acting in relation to contractual disputes for the provider of human healthcare clinical trials.
Acting for a large national health services provider in relation to a range of contractual disputes with a number of public hospitals in Victoria.
Acting for medical companies in relation to the management of legal and relationships risks following medical or systems errors in large medical projects.
Acting for individuals in respect of notifications made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and in respect of complaints made to National Boards.
Acting is relation to projects concerning the review of public liability risks in relation to national health projects.
Acting for a large chain of dental practices in relation to business restraints.
Acting for large medical businesses in relations to complaints arising from government tender processes.
Acting in respect of disputes with the providers of medical software, including in relation to regulatory non-compliance in software features.
Acting for a large national health services provider in relation disputes related to leases and other property matters in connection with public hospitals.
Acting in shareholder disputes in relation to medical businesses, including in businesses which are doctor owned.
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).
Advising ASX listed companies and investment funds in relation to directors and officers claims, trustee’s duties claims, and defence costs claims. (Successfully settled).
Advising a national business in respect of Public Liability coverage issues across multiple own subsidiaries and multiple projects.
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