Mediation in shareholder class actions – article published

Mediation can be a useful tool in shareholder class actions as in other types of litigation. There are a number of obvious advantages to defendant corporations in particular: minimising legal costs, reducing further publicity and impact on share price, and avoiding the considerable distraction to the business of defending the class action to trial. However, there are certain issues and risks … Read more

Before you leave the mediation – a reminder of the need to be clear whether a settlement agreement is subject to contract

A recent decision of the English High Court has underlined the need for parties who have agreed to settle a dispute to specify very clearly if they intend that the terms agreed will not be immediately binding on them and will be subject to the negotiation of a more formal contract : Bieber v Teathers Limited [2014] EWHC 4205 (Ch). Although the … Read more

New ICC Mediation Rules launched

As reported in our earlier post, here, the new Mediation Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) came into force on 1 January this year, replacing the ICC’s Amicable Dispute Resolution Rules.  The new ICC Mediation Rules are currently on a ‘world tour’ and were launched in Melbourne on 2 April 2014 (similar events have … Read more

Australia : Enforceability of heads of agreement following mediation

Following a successful mediation, parties usually prepare a formal agreement to record what was agreed.  In some situations, the parties may initially prepare a less formal document, sometimes called a ‘heads of agreement’.  Whether a heads of agreement is enforceable depends on whether the parties intended to be legally bound by its terms.  An important … Read more

The future of legal education and practice: Should ADR be compulsory in legal education?

Legal practitioners must understand which factors make ADR appropriate and must educate their clients to assist them in choosing the most appropriate process. This is particularly important now that some ADR processes are integrated with pre-trial litigation procedures. This requires a critical understanding of the advantages, disadvantages and strategic considerations of different methods and what … Read more

Australian Federal Court rules on compliance with “genuine steps” requirement

The Federal Court of Australia has for the first time ruled on the requirement to take “genuine steps” to resolve a dispute under the Civil Dispute Resolution Act 2011 (Cth) (the Act): Superior IP International Pty Ltd v Ahearn Fox Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys [2012] FCA 282. The lawyers for both parties failed to file a genuine steps statement, and also … Read more

Case Study: settlement of mass claims arising out of World Trade Center litigation

Herbert Smith Freehills acts for the Lend Lease group of companies (LL LMB) in relation to the World Trade Center (WTC) clean-up litigation following the events of 9/11. Over 18,000 plaintiffs sued more than 50 defendants including the City of New York and LL LMB for personal injuries, respiratory diseases and other damages alleged to have resulted from … Read more

South Australia creates office of small business commissioner to assist small businesses in resolving disputes through ADR

There are some 142,000 small businesses in South Australia and an office dedicated to supporting dispute resolution and avoidance in this area was created in March 2012.  The independent body, headed by a small business Commissioner appointed by the Governor, is able to assist small businesses in the event that they are in dispute with a government department … Read more