The settlement of the Hall Class Action against Slater & Gordon Ltd (SGH) was approved by the Federal Court of Australia on 14 December 2017 (Hall Settlement). Final Distributions for the Hall Settlement have been determined and are currently being distributed.
On 31 July 2018, Maurice Blackburn filed separate proceedings against Pitcher Partners (who were Slater & Gordon’s former auditors) on behalf of the Applicant, Matthew Hall, and all persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary SGH shares between 30 March 2015 and 24 February 2016.
Status of the Hall Settlement
On 12 October 2016, Maurice Blackburn commenced a class action against Slater & Gordon Ltd (SGH) on behalf of the Applicant, Matthew Hall, and all persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary SGH shares between 30 March 2015 and 24 February 2016 (Hall Class Action). All persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary shares of SGH during the period 30 March 2015 to 24 February 2016 and did not opt out of the class action by the date ordered by the Court were Hall Group Members.
An in-principle settlement was reached in July 2017, and a Deed of Settlement was executed in September 2017. Following two settlement approval hearings, settlement of the proceeding (Hall Settlement) was approved by the Court on 14 December 2017.
Distributions from the Settlement Fund have been finalised and are currently being distributed. If you were a Hall Group Member, but did not previously register with Maurice Blackburn and/or did not return your Participant Declaration by the Participation Deadline (23 February 2018), you are bound by the terms of the settlement, but are not eligible to receive a distribution from the Settlement Fund.
Pitcher Partners Class Action
On 31 July 2018, Maurice Blackburn filed a class action against Pitcher Partners (who were Slater & Gordon’s auditors) under Part IVA of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) – Hall v Pitcher Partners, VID 918/2018 (Pitcher Partners Class Action).
The statement of claim filed in the Pitcher Partners Class Action alleges that Pitcher Partners breached various provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 and other laws in relation to Pitcher Partners’ audit of SGH for the financial year ending 30 June 2015. The allegations concern, amongst other things, Pitcher Partners’ accounting treatment of SGH’s acquisition in the United Kingdom of the Professional Services Division from Quindell plc, which SGH announced to the market on 30 March 2015.
The Pitcher Partners Class Action was commenced on behalf of an “open class”, being all persons who acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary shares in SGH between 30 March 2015 and 24 February 2016. Accordingly, as of August 2018, all persons who were Hall Group Members in the Hall Class Action are automatically considered group members in the Pitcher Partners Class Action, regardless of whether they previously opted out of the Hall Class Action.
At some point in the future, the composition of the class may change (such as by way of the Court making orders in relation to opting out). As of August 2018, no orders relating to the changing of the composition of the class have been made by the Court. Notice will be given if and when such orders are made.
Common fund or other orders to ensure equal treatment of all group members
As noted above, like the Hall Class Action, the Pitcher Partners Class Action has been commenced on an “open class” basis. There are both funded and unfunded group members in the class, and at an appropriate point in the litigation we will apply for orders (such as a common fund order similar to the order made as part of the settlement of the Hall Class Action) to ensure that all group members – whether funded or unfunded – are treated equally in the event of a successful outcome. Further notice of any such application will be provided in due course.
All persons who registered to participate in the in the Hall Class Action with Maurice Blackburn do not, at this stage, need to take any action to be able to participate in the Pitcher Partners Class Action. If you did not register to participate in the Hall Class Action, but wish to register to participate in the Pitcher Partners Class Action, please contact us.
If you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 572 151 (+61 1800 572 151 for international callers), by emailing SGH@mauriceblackburn.com.au, or by mail to the address below:
SGH Class Action
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Level 21, 380 Latrobe Street
Melbourne VIC 3000