Sara Gaertner Special Counsel

Sara is a dispute resolution and insolvency and reconstruction lawyer with a developing specialisation in the conduct of class actions (particularly related to the financial services sector), and experience in insolvency, reconstruction and recovery related litigation.

Sara has assisted a broad range of clients including large listed and unlisted companies, litigation funders, class action lead applicants, insolvency practitioners in their capacity as liquidators, voluntary administrators, deed administrators and receivers, and company directors.

Sara is recognised in Doyle’s Guide as a Commercial Litigation & Insolvency Law Rising Star– South Australia 2022, was recently named as a Lawyerly Litigation Rising Star, has been listed in the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Australia since 2022 and was a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 Awards 2020 (Insolvency Category).

Sara has also been a co-author of the Australian chapter of The Class Actions Law Review since 2020, and is a member of the SA Law Society Women Lawyers Committee.


Class actions

CMC Markets

Acting for the lead applicants in a class action commenced in the Federal Court of Australia against CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd as operator of an online derivatives trading platform, concerning CMC issuing highly leveraged CFDs and binaries to retail investors, which the applicants allege were highly risky and unsuitable for retail clients and that CMC misrepresented and/or did not adequately disclose the significant risks of those products.

Swann Insurance/IAG

Acted for the lead applicant in a class action commenced in the Federal Court of Australia against Swann Insurance & IAL, wholly owned subsidiaries of Insurance Australia Group Limited, concerning the alleged misleading and unconscionable sale of “add-on” insurance products of no or no material financial value issued by Swann.


Acted for the lead applicants in a class action commenced in the Federal Court of Australia against Bank SA (a division of Westpac Banking Corporation) for losses incurred as a result of investments in an alleged Ponzi scheme. This has included collaborating with ASIC and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to their criminal investigation of the same Ponzi scheme. Settlement of this matter was reached and approved by the Federal Court in November 2019.

Standard & Poor’s

Acted for the applicants in a representative proceeding against Standard & Poor’s concerning its negligent and misleading modelling and assignment of credit ratings to a range of financial products known as synthetic collateralised debt obligations. This matter involved a number of corporations and consumer law issues. Settlement of this matter was reached and approved by the Federal Court in March 2018.

Restructuring, insolvency and turnaround

Angas Securities Limited

Acted for debenture issuer Angas Securities Limited in a proceeding brought by its Trustee. This was a long running, highly complex matter which has led to the delivery of numerous Federal Court judgments, including Court approvals of a negotiated novel informal scheme of arrangement (referred to as a “Run-Off”), extensions of the Run-Off, and approval of a formal creditors’ scheme of arrangement in May 2019.

Lehman Brothers Australia Limited

Acted for numerous investors in relation to their claims in the liquidation of Lehman Brothers Australia Limited (In Liquidation) (Scheme Administrators Appointed) (LBA) for losses incurred through investments in synthetic collateralised debt obligations (in excess of $140 million). Helped many investors successfully claims significant portions of their losses through working with the liquidators of LBA.


Career & qualifications


  • Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Hons), Flinders University

Memberships and Associations

  • Law Society of South Australia

  • Member of the Women Lawyers' Committee of the Law Society of South Australia

  • Women’s Insolvency Network of South Australia

  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association