Commercial Litigation

Keogh & Co has extensive experience in identifying, managing and resolving business risks and disputes. We conduct all forms of litigation including contractual and property disputes, trade practices, and insurance disputes. We have also conducted several cases of IP protection in the Federal and Supreme Courts.

We also advise on the development of flexible responses and systems to identify and minimise risks, and to manage disputes effectively.

Where disputes cannot be resolved by negotiation or mediation, we advise our clients on options available to them, and methods of resolution in a cost effective manner.

Areas of expertise include senior debt recovery, and disputed deceased estates.

An example of our insolvency work is the representation of a group of approximately 35 clients who have invested heavily with a group of companies which were placed into liquidation. We are worked with the Liquidator and ASIC to achieve an optimal outcome from the liquidation, and averted the need for our clients to incur the expense of commencing proceedings, which would have had the effect of seriously reduced the pool of funds available for distribution.

We have had several  notable successes in Supreme Court decisions including the following reported cases:

     *   Glennen (Receiver of trust property of Arthur Phillips and Just) v. Home,                       25/6/96, in which we acted on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank as receiver  
          of the Trust Account of a law firm which had been placed in liquidation. We                 briefed William Gillard Q.C. (later Mr. Justice Gillard) to appear for the Bank,                 and were successful in enforcing the Bank's security documentation over the             claims of other creditors. 

  • King v. Besser and White Cleland Solicitors. Supreme Court of Victoria: (Osborn J.) August 2002. (Trade Practices Act, Contract, Misrepresentation, Negligence). This case made law as it upheld our claim that a firm of solicitors act "in trade and commerce" for the purposes of the Trade Practices Act, and gained judgment for our client even though he had not been a client of the defendant firm. 
  • Pinnacle VRB Ltd. v Expectation Pty. Ltd.
  • We acted for the Plaintiff, Pinnacle VRB Ltd., a listed public company.
  • The matter was first determined in our client's favour by Mr. Justice Murray sitting alone, but was appealed to the Full Court of the Supreme Court by the Defendant.
  • It was remitted by the Full Court to Murray J. for further consideration. He reheard argument on certain points and in the Supreme Court of Western Australia on 5th September, 2003 again found for our client, the Plaintiff.
  • The Defendant again appealed to the Full Court, and its Appeal was unanimously turned down on 16th November, 2004 by the 3 appeal Judges.

Areas of law on which the case turned:

  • Commercial Contract, enforceability of Heads of Agreement, non-compliance, breach, termination, remedies arising.
  • Counsel briefed by us to represent our client were Henry Jolson Q.C., Graeme Clarke S.C. and Jonathon Evans.
  • Costs have been awarded to our client and are presently being assessed.

More recently, due to the compulsory mediation process now involved in all proceedings, many other commercial litigation cases have settled satisfactorily before trial. It is always our endeavour to obtain the optimum result for our client at the minimum cost, and where circumstances of cases permit, settlement by mediation  often provides the best result at the least possible cost. We have on a number of occasions successfully established mediation and attained settled outcomes without the costly and stressful step of issuing proceedings. One such matter dealt with forfeiture of deposit and recovery of substantial damages after a party defaulted under a purchase contract  relating to a $2m. commercial property.

 John Ferguson LL.B. (Hons), BA (Hons), B.Sc., is our litigation specialist.