find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Slaters threatens LIBOR class action

Slaters threatens LIBOR class action

Slater & Gordon has confirmed it is working on a class action in the wake of the Barclays rate-rigging scandal, while Maurice Blackburn appears to be sitting this one out.

Barclays was fined $451 million in Britain and the US for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) – the benchmark for interest rates on trillions of dollars of loans worldwide.

Van Moulis (pictured), practice group leader at Slaters in Sydney, told Lawyers Weekly that sophisticated investors and Australian businesses that have taken syndicated loans may be able to claim for losses on investments that reference the LIBOR.

Moulis admitted that the firm is unlikely to represent small retail investors or “mum and dad” investors.

“They don’t usually invest in sophisticated financial products that are derivative-based, and they don’t invest in foreign currency and shifts in foreign currencies,” he explained.

A number of international banks, including Citigroup and HSBC, are being investigated by overseas regulators to determine whether they were involved in the rate rigging. Many face possible lawsuits from plaintiffs who bought LIBOR-linked securities from the banks; bought exchange-traded securities linked to LIBOR, or received interest based on LIBOR.

Lawyers Weekly asked Maurice Blackburn whether the firm plans to launch legal proceedings against banks implicated in distorting the LIBOR. The firm is currently representing plaintiffs in a class action against some of Australia’s big banks – including Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank and Westpac – for charging customers unfair fees.

Maurice Blackburn declined to comment, but the firm did indicate it was not currently interested in launching a class action.

If there was evidence the Australian equivalent of the LIBOR – the bank bill swap rate – had been compromised, the case may be of interest to Maurice Blackburn, a member of the firm’s communications team revealed.

Slaters, on the other hand, is prepared to take on the banks, according to Moulis.

“I think we have the sort of experience in this area that perhaps other firms don’t have ... I have the benefit of a merchant banker on staff who knows about the LIBOR and sophisticated financial products.”

Moulis added that acquiring London-based law firm Russell Jones & Walker in April this year has placed a number of Slaters’ clients in the “big loss” category of those impacted by Barclays’ distorted LIBOR.

Slaters is currently monitoring the results of the overseas inquiries before it launches a class action. “It will be some months before we complete the due diligence process,” Moulis said.

In April, Slaters announced another possible class action on behalf of borrowers of Bankwest, who were claiming losses after the lender called in numerous debts in the wake of its acquisition by the CBA in 2008.

Moulis said the firm was still conducting due diligence and hasn’t yet filed legal proceedings against Bankwest.

He added that the decision to launch formal court proceeding would rely on the outcome of the Senate inquiry into the methods by which banks place companies into receivership.

“Our current focus is on getting that Senate inquiry to happen quickly,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Slaters threatens LIBOR class action
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...