Ben brings more than 18 years’ experience to his role as the Head of Class Actions for Slater and Gordon. Since joining the firm in 2001, Ben has worked on more than 20 class actions or group proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Courts of Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
Often, it can make more economic sense for people affected by a common issue to seek justice collectively rather than individually. Ben and his team work with clients and third-party funders to find new ways to bring court cases on behalf of groups of individuals, and have secured many multi-million-dollar settlements in high-profile class actions.
Solving disputes without having to go to court is always preferable for his clients, so Ben explores options for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) wherever possible. Ben has led a number of ADR projects where his team has represented hundreds of clients, including the Margaret River bushfire compensation scheme for people affected by the region’s devastating November 2011 bushfires.
Ben is focused and passionate about getting the best outcome for his clients. As one of Australia’s most experienced class action lawyers, he is proud to work as part of a successful team of experts at Slater and Gordon to champion his clients’ cases.
Ben is currently conducting or overseeing the following class actions:
- McKay Super Solutions Pty Limited v Bellamy’s Australia Limited (VID 163 of 2017) (Bellamy’s Class Action), a part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Bellamy’s Australia, which is currently before the Court;
- Creighton v Australian Executor Trustees Limited (2015/306222) (Provident Class Action), a representative proceeding in the SCNSW under Part 10 of the CP Act on behalf of investors in Provident Capital.;
- Court v Spotless Group Holdings Limited (VID561/2017) (Spotless Class Action), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Spotless which is currently before the Court;
- Whittenbury v Vocation Limited & Anor (VID434/2015) (Vocation Limited Class Action), a Part IVA proceeding brought, jointly with Maurice Blackburn, on behalf of shareholders in Vocation, which is currently before the Court;
- a representative proceeding in the Western Australian Supreme Court brought on behalf of 189 plaintiffs arising from a January 2014 bushfire in Parkerville, WA. The fire started as a result of a faulty power pole on the property of a private landowner. The three defendants in the proceeding are Western Power, its maintenance contractor Theiss, and the property owner. The trial commenced on 16 July 2018 and ran for two months, and in a West Australian first, the was live-streamed on the internet and accessible by the general public. Judgment is currently reserved.
Ben’s team’s class action successes include:
- Vlachos & Ors v Centro Properties Ltd & Ors (VID 366 of 2008), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Centro Property Group or the Centro Retail Trust which was settled, together with a parallel proceeding brought by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, for $200 million in 2012;
- Hadchiti v Nufarm Limited (NSD 1847 of 2010), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Nufarm which was settled for $46.6 million in 2012;
- Earglow Pty Limited v Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (VID 933 of 2010) (Sigma Class Action), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Sigma Pharmaceuticals, which was settled for $57.5 million in 2012;
- Modtech Engineering Pty Ltd v GPT Management Holdings Limited & Anor (VID 1408 of 2011), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in GPT which was settled for $75 million in 2013;
- Earglow Pty Limited v Newcrest Mining Ltd (VID 406 of 2014), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Newcrest Mining which was settled for $36 million in 2016;
- Newstart 123 Pty Limited v Billabong International Ltd (VID 143 of 2015), a Part IVA proceeding brought on behalf of shareholders in Billabong which was settled for $45 million in 2016.
- Matthew John Wheelahan and Theresa Wheelahan v City of Casey & Ors (No 9776 of 2008), a Part 4A proceeding in the Supreme Court of Victoria brought on behalf of property owners who suffered economic loss as a consequence of the escape of landfill gas in the estate where they lived, which was settled for $23.5 million in 2011.
- Daniel Hall and Paul Askin v Australian Finance Direct Limited
(No 2023 of 2004), a Part 4A proceeding in the Supreme Court of Victoria brought on behalf of 1,300 participants in Henry Kaye’s National Investment Institute property advice courses, which was settled for $3 million worth of debt relief and $500,000 in compensation in 2008;
- Harrison v Kerrili Pty Ltd (No. 9864 of 2005), a Part 4A proceeding in the Supreme Court of Victoria brought on behalf of retirees who alleged negligence against the law firm who provided them with advice prior to them entering into the Money for Living Scheme which was settled for a sum of approximately $6 million in 2007.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Projects
Solving disputes without resorting to litigation is always the preferred course for Ben’s clients and he seeks to explore Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) wherever possible. Ben has led a number of ADR projects where his team has represented hundreds of clients including the following:
Professional Qualifications and Admissions
- 2002 - Admitted, Supreme Court of Victoria
- 2001 - Bachelor of Arts, University of Melbourne
- 2001 - Bachelor of Laws, University of Melbourne
- 2001 - Present, Slater and Gordon
Memberships and Associations
- Law Institute of Victoria
- Australian Consumer Law Committee - Legal Practice, Australian Law Council
- Doyles Guide 2019 - Recommended Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Lawyer (Plaintiff) - Victoria