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Michael’s infectious calm demeanour keeps his clients relaxed through the many stages of litigation. They know he has everything under control, a quality that is highly sought-after by clients when dealing with their large and complex commercial disputes. This quality has been developed over many years of experience, not only at Macpherson Kelley but in previous years at an international firm and at an industry-recognised boutique commercial firm he co-founded.
Michael looks at matters in what could be described as a non-traditional manner, seeing solutions for his clients others may not see and reaching outcomes others thought were not possible. Whilst Michael appreciates that law is very much an art, he doesn’t let this detract from the difficult task of assessing litigation matters with a scientific approach wherever possible. It’s these winning qualities that keep Michael’s clients and referrers coming back for his services.
Throughout his career Michael has run numerous Supreme and Federal Court matters which have progressed to trial. This has included matters in the High Court as well as a matter before the Full Bench.
Michael has also spent 18 months as a seconded senior in-house lawyer at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia where he was responsible for managing the litigation portfolio which included briefing and instructing external law firms in litigious matters.
“Michael’s passion and work ethic is something I have never experienced before, literally night and day he engrossed himself in my files digging and digging until he uncovered the wrong doing. He never gave up and kept positive his ability to think outside of the square be totally flexible were some of the main reasons we were successful in my case. Along with these qualities Michael was not scared of the so called legal establishment, he pushed boundaries, he placed his client’s needs well before himself, he was the consummate professional.”
Over recent years, Michael has spent significant time acting for victims of inappropriate financial advice received from large institutions. In what has been a challenging environment, Michael has been able to provide a large number of aggrieved investors with solutions. The strategies adopted on these matters have been wide and varied. Michael has also successfully lobbied ASIC on various large matters, has dealt with both Federal and State politicians (including Ministers) providing them with evidence supporting the need for urgent reform in the banking industry. This has, in turn, initiated a Senate Inquiry into the systematic financial advice issue involved a large financial service organisation. Through his efforts, Michael has played a major role in getting members of parliament to change their votes for the adoption of a Royal Commission into the Banking and Financial services industries.
In a number of instances, Michael has been successful in delivering a positive financial outcome for his clients. He continues to advocate for clients for whom the processes is not yet complete.
Michael has acted in a multitude of shareholder and corporations act disputes.
In a recent example, Michael was involved in a lengthy and complex trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria, regarding historic financial matters involving a company that dated back from 1985 to 2005.
Through his experience, Michael has developed a strong understanding of the restrictive trade practices provisions within the litigation context. He has also acted for and against the ACCC in various matters, including in price fixing matters.
In one of the largest competition matters Michael worked on, AGL sought to acquire, as part of a consortium, a shareholding in the Loy Yang A Power Station. Informal clearance from the ACCC was sought by AGL, however the proposed acquisition was denied. Following this opposition, AGL instituted Federal Court proceedings, seeking a declaration that the proposed acquisition would not lessen competition. Michael acted for the ACCC, with a multi-faceted role in what was a very complex matter. Working collaboratively with the ACCC, Michael prepared lay and expert economic evidence supporting the ACCC’s decision to refuse the acquisition. Given the Federal Court had agreed to fast track the matter, there was significant pressure in the matter; a legal team of more than 20 were involved in the case. Although AGL was successful at trial, the ACCC was able to obtain clear guidance regarding certain provisions of the Trade Practices Act.
A liquidator of a large corporate group made a determination relating to the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars between a holding company and its subsidiary, a decision the ATO challenged in the Federal Court. Michael, together with senior and junior counsel, prepared evidence supporting the legal principles around the transferring of tax losses within the corporate group. This case involved extremely complex areas of law, which both client and senior counsel expected Michael to get a grasp of very quickly in order to successfully instruct the senior counsel. The matter ultimately went to the High Court for determination.