Metropolitan Fire Brigade v City of Yarra (2011-2017)

Landmark environmental case concerning claims for clean up costs concerning remediation of toxic waste abandoned on former industrial land. Lead counsel for plaintiff MFB at trial, on appeal and in the High Court.

The MFB occupied polluted land and was required to clean up toxic waste abandoned on site decades before by the Richmond City Council, later the City of Yarra, a prior occupier of the land. The MFB was successful in obtaining orders requiring the City of Yarra to pay the costs of the clean up with a trial on the quantum of damages to follow.

The judgment at first instance was upheld on appeal and special leave to the High Court has been refused. The quantum trial is progressing. 

The case follows on the decision of Spotless, and considers the provisions of the Environment Protection Act concerning the abandonment of pollution. 

The appeal considered for the first time a number of key provisions of the Environment Protection Act concerning recovery of compensation from a polluter. The case also considered the effect of the amalgamation of municipal councils on liability of the new entity. 

See judgment on appeal and case notes

Wheelahan & Ors. v City of Casey - Casey landfill case

Class action and recovery claim for remediation of methane leaching landfill in Victorian Supreme Court. The leaching led to the evacuation of a Melbourne suburb, Brookland Greens and claims against the landfill operator, the Environment Protection Authority and others.

Led the team for the defendant, Frankston City Council defending claims by the City of Casey for a contribution to the costs, past and future of remediation of an unlined landfill. 

Casey claimed past and future costs exceeding $200M.  

ASIC v GDK Financial Solutions Pty Ltd; Western Retirement Village Management Pty Ltd v ASIC

Senior counsel for ASIC in the Federal Court on application to wind up two unregistered managed investment schemes known as the Mews Retirement Village and Rosedale Retirement Village and in related proceedings. Also acted for ASIC on appeal to the Full Federal Court and before the High Court.

The decision considered closely the powers of a court appointed receiver to wind up the schemes under the provisions of the corporations act and under the inherent powers of the court. 

The decision of the federal court concerning the powers of the receiver is here

The decision winding up the promoter of the scheme is here

In related proceedings, Western Retirement Village Management Pty Ltd v ASIC the appellant promoter of the scheme unsuccessfully appealed the appointment of the receivers, the powers of sale and the scope of the property of the scheme to the full federal court. 

In Rosedale Action Inc. v Hon Justice Finkelstein in the High Court, resisting an application for orders nisi under section 75(v) of the Constitution directed to a judge of the Federal Court. A party asserting rights under scheme management agreements unsuccessfully sought injunctive relief compelling the trial judge to revisit the appointment of the receiver.