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Barrister

Laura is a specialist in Corporations Law and Finance, with broad commercial litigation practice.

Advocacy experience

Regularly appearing in the Federal and Supreme Courts, Laura is a bold advocate whose breadth of commercial experience, combined with her expert knowledge of corporate law, places Laura in a unique position to maximise outcomes for clients. Laura is often called upon to represent companies, directors and government in cases involving corporate law and finance issues, regulatory dealings, and interactions between companies and their competitors, suppliers and/or customers. Briefed to act both for and against government authorities such as ASIC and the ATO, Laura is equally adept at general commercial litigation and has conducted a number of complex commercial trials.

 

As solo Counsel, Laura has appeared in the Victorian Court of Appeal and brought an application for special leave in the High Court of Australia.

 

Commercial experience

An experienced general counsel, company director and trustee, Laura has over a decade of experience as a blue chip corporate advisor in Melbourne (Blake Dawson Waldron, Corrs Chambers Westgarth) and London (Slaughter and May).

 

Laura has negotiated many high value and cross-border acquisitions, takeovers and schemes of arrangement. For example, at Slaughter and May, she was the lead senior associate on a global sale of Hilton Hotels, for £3.3 billion. She has advised Boards and C-Suites of listed companies on many aspects of corporations law and finance, including directors’ duties; insider trading; insolvent trading and Listing Rules compliance. In many such transactions, Laura negotiated directly with ASX and/or ASIC, for example, she was the senior associate responsible for liaising with ASIC in relation to its approval of the scheme of arrangement by which Alinta shares were purchased by Babcock & Brown (2007) for $8 billion.

 

Laura has acted extensively for banks including a four month secondment to ANZ Group Legal in 2006-2007. Laura advised the bank on various M&A matters (including the listed takeover of e*Trade and Asian joint ventures and acquisitions); corporate advisory strategic matters; commercial contracting and procurement.

 

Technical expertise

Laura’s technical expertise in corporations and competition law has been recognised in appointments to the Law Council of Australia’s Corporations and Competition and Consumer Committees.

 

She also writes the annotations for Robsons’ Annotated Corporations Legislation, Chapters 6, 6A and 6B on Takeovers and Compulsory Acquisition, published by Thomson Reuters.

 

Laura holds three first class degrees: Masters of Commercial Law, Bachelor of Laws (Hons), and Bachelor of Science (in Chemistry and Physics). Laura is currently completing her second Masters degree at The University of Melbourne in taxation.

 

Laura’s scientific background gives her an edge when assisting clients in mining, property, manufacturing, logistics and other technical or engineering based industries where a grasp of technical expert evidence is required. Laura has considerable experience advising property, mining and resources clients, including such clients as BHP Billiton as well as junior mining and exploration companies. Laura has advised resources companies in relation to issues such as ASX report compliance, sales of assets to foreign governments, FIRB issues, and litigation involving machinery and rigs.

My areas of practice include:
Corporate Law, Finance and Insolvency

Since joining the Bar, Laura has continued her specialisation in corporate law and finance including insolvency. Laura recently advised a financial services adviser who is the subject of a case study in the Financial Services Royal Commission. She has been called upon regularly to give opinions to large corporate and government clients in relation to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), the ASIC Act and other related legislation, including the law of banking and finance.

 

Laura advises boards on their directors’ duties in insolvency contexts, and also acts for insolvency practitioners and creditors. She has acted in the sale of distressed assets and the unwinding of managed investment schemes.  Laura has also undertaken creditors’ schemes of arrangement.

 

Recent corporations law and finance cases include:

  • Laura is currently advising (as solo counsel) the plaintiff in relation to a significant claim in contract, equity, unconscionable conduct and breaches of the ASIC Act ($100 million+) in the Supreme Court of Victoria (Daimleigh v CVS Lane Capital and others) (June 2018- ongoing).
  • Laura is advising a financial services adviser who is the subject of a case study in the Financial Services Royal Commission (April 2018- ongoing).
  • Laura is currently advising Adley Burstyner on a potential class action for dairy farmers regarding the farm gate milk price (2017-ongoing).
  • ASIC briefed Laura in relation to winding up applications for managed investment schemes, that were claimed to be land banking schemes (ASIC v Real Estate Equity Investment Trust) (2017).
  • Laura (as solo Counsel) successfully defended four directors in a Supreme Court claim for breach of directors’ duties brought by the Company under the Corporations Act and in equity (Flexible Drive Pty Ltd v Hocking and others) (2016). Having settled that matter, she is now advising on an oppression claim on behalf of the four defendants in the Supreme Court of Victoria (2018- ongoing).
  • Morris Finance Limited v CBA and others (2016): Laura appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria (un-led) on behalf of a creditor in a contentious bankruptcy priorities dispute.
  • In the Matter of Planet Platinum Ltd (Provisional Liquidator Appointed) (2015): Laura appeared in the Federal Court to obtain an unprecedented injunction on behalf of a creditor to restrain a liquidator from selling property of a suspended ASX entity and drafting an alternative sale by scheme of arrangement (with Lachlan Armstrong QC).
  • In ASIC v Bilkurra Investments Pty Ltd and others (2015), Laura defended an urgent application bought by ASIC in the Federal Court to unwind a property development company on just and equitable grounds (with Kevin Lyons QC).
  • In the Matter of Midland Highway Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed)( 2015), Laura defended an urgent application bought by ASIC in the Federal Court to set aside a proposed deed of company arrangement (with Leslie Glick QC).
  • ASIC briefed Laura (with Ian Waller QC) (2015) to advise on ASIC’s response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services; regarding banks’ conduct in downgrading property valuations and then calling automatic loan defaults. ASIC asked Laura to assess the current state of the law and assist ASIC with their submission to the enquiry, including assessing the banks’ conduct under the law of unconscionable conduct.
Taxation and Regulatory

Laura is currently undertaking a Masters of Tax at the University of Melbourne. She regularly appears in the Supreme Court and the AAT on behalf of the ATO.

 

Laura has had extensive experience in negotiating with regulators on behalf of clients, including ASIC, ASX, ACCC and Consumer Affairs Victoria, and government departments in Australia and abroad. She has advised the State of Victoria (including the Department of Treasury and Finance, Minister for Housing and the Housing Registrar) on various matters of statutory interpretation and regulatory power (2015).

 

Since joining the Bar, she has been called upon regularly to give opinions to large corporate and government clients in relation to the Competition and Consumer Act and the Victorian legislation including the Australian Consumer Law. She has advised on and conducted litigation in relation to the cartel provisions, exclusive dealing, unconscionable conduct, misleading and deceptive conduct, and various other provisions of the legislation.

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