Qualification(s): LLB, BEc
Ben Slade is Maurice Blackburn’s Managing Principal in NSW, based in Sydney. He oversees our national financial advice disputes department and is the head of our NSW class actions department. In these roles he has recovered many millions of dollars for consumers, shareholders and victims of mass wrongs. He has over 30 years’ experience as a lawyer, more than half of which has been working at Maurice Blackburn where his expertise is in large consumer, commercial and product liability class actions.
Ben provides legal advice to and represents:
- investors, businesses and consumers on corporations, consumer and competition law
- victims of poor financial advice
- victims of illegal cartels, misleading or deceptive conduct, faulty or defective medical devices, and human rights abuses.
Ben enjoys being a class actions lawyer because he believes forcing wrongdoers to account is a worthy and just activity.
“Accountability for corporate wrongs that cause mass financial or other negative impact is all too often wanting in our society. Class actions give voice to the victims. Helping large numbers of people to access justice is a worthy pursuit.”
His work as part of the class action team that joined forces with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in a claim against the NSW government for compensation for the false imprisonment of children in NSW was recognised with the 2012 National Award for Outstanding Legal Representation of the Rights and Interests of Children and Young People. The class action was settled in June 2015 and more than $2m compensation has now been paid to over 50 young people.
Some of Ben's other significant class actions include:
- multi-million dollar class actions for victims of faulty pacemakers and prosthetic hips, the latter having received court approval in June 2016 of a settlement of $250m plus interest
- achieving a $121m settlement in August 2016 for investors in a tunnel under the Brisbane river
- a shareholder class action against AWB over the oil-for-food kickback scandal. The case for more than 1300 shareholders settled in March 2010 for $39.5m – the fourth largest settlement achieved to that date in a shareholder class action
- a class action against cardboard box manufacturers Amcor and Visy for over 1600 businesses claiming compensation in Australia's largest price fixing cartel. This matter was settled in March 2011 for $120 million. It is the largest ever settlement of a cartel class action in Australia
- two class actions against Cash Converters that settled in October 2015 for $20m plus costs. Over 26,000 NSW consumers who were overcharged on their loan contracts have had the overcharge refunded
Ben is currently managing a class action for more than 40 disabled people who suffered for many years in the specialised NSW residency ‘Grand Western Lodge’ as well as a class action for over 13,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers whose crops were allegedly destroyed by oil that spilt from the Montara oil well in 2009.
Ben shares his expertise widely, through his Board membership of consumer action group Choice, the work he does with the Law Council of Australia and his authorship of the Representative Proceedings chapter of the Federal Court Case Management Handbook. He previously worked for 10 years with Sydney's Redfern Legal Centre, he was on the Council of the Law Society of NSW between 1992 and 1995. He was Manager, General Law, Legal Aid NSW for six years before joining Maurice Blackburn in 2000.
“I am driven to give a voice to those who would otherwise have to suffer because those who have done them wrong are all too powerful. Those of us who conduct class actions for the victims of corporate excesses or human rights abuses are charged with a most rewarding responsibility that gives us a positive charge every day.”
Memberships & accreditations
- Class Actions Committee of the Law Council Co-chair
- Australian Consumer Law Committee of the Law Council Chair
- Litigation Funding Working Group of the Law Council Co-chair
- Federal Court Liaison Committee of the Law Council of Australia Member
- Choice (Australian Consumers Association) Board Member