LAW firm Blake Dawson has welcomed the final orders in the long-running Bell litigation, made late yesterday in Perth.
Blakes partners Ashley Wharton, Wen-Ts'ai Lim and Fiona Hudgson work on the trial, one of the longest civil trials ever heard in Australia, representing the successful liquidators.
Blake Dawson's managing partner, John Carrington, welcomed yesterday's decision: "The Court's final orders represent a significant victory for the plaintiffs, which was achieved as a result of the determination and persistence of the liquidator, Mr Tony Woodings, and the indemnifying creditors, in particular the Insurance Commission of WA, in seeing this long and complex matter through to final determination at first instance."
The final orders were made by Justice Owen of the WA Supreme Court following the 404 day trial and the delivery on 28 October last year, in 2,600 pages of reasons for judgment.
Justice Owen found against a group of 20 financiers for their action in taking securities over the Bell Group whilst it was insolvent. He ultimately found in favour of the liquidators, and the trustee and the banks were ordered to pay various forms of monetary compensation including restoring the proceeds of sale from a number of Bell Group assets.
The orders made by the Court will become effective on 29 May, requiring the defendants to pay specified plaintiffs about $1.58 billion, plus costs of $82.5 million.
Carrington said the size and duration of the case had created many logistical problems for the parties and their lawyers and that it was appropriate to acknowledge publicly the manner in which the Supreme Court of WA, the Judge, the transcript and database providers and all the Court staff had managed the case so effectively over such a long period.
The Bell case "had been an important undertaking for the firm over many years and is the largest judgment ever awarded in Australia", Carrington said.
The firm's managing partner expressed his thanks to present and past counsel and to all those who had assisted the firm's clients to achieve the success.
See the full judgment here.