find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Gadens negligent in advice to Aussie Home Loans

Gadens negligent in advice to Aussie Home Loans

Gadens Lawyers has been found negligent and in breach of contract in the long-running legal battle with home loan guru John Symond.

Paul Forbes, a partner in Baker & McKenzie’s dispute resolution & litigation team, represented Symond in his $11 million lawsuit against Gadens. The Aussie Home Loans boss had accused the firm of negligence, breach of retainer and contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (now Competition and Consumer Act 2010).

Symond claimed that Gadens’ legal advice during the 2003-04 restructuring of parent company AHL Holdings resulted in a hefty tax bill, penalties and interest after an audit by the Australian Taxation Office in 2007.

Gadens argued, however, that Symond, as an astute businessman, was aware of the risks involved with the restructure. The firm also said Symond secured financial benefits out of the restructure that outweighed the tax consequences.

In the judgment, handed down on Friday (19 July), Justice Robert Beech-Jones found that Gadens did not adequately address risks involved with the restructuring and made at least two “unequivocal statements” about how it would allow Symond to borrow funds “tax-free.”

“Gadens’ advice was so emphatic that it eliminated any concern as to the operation of the anti-avoidance provisions,” stated Beech-Jones.

“The ordinary skilled solicitor exercising and professing to have a special skill in taxation law would not have advised the client in such emphatic terms.”

The tax advice was provided by former Gadens partner Ross Seller, who left the firm to join Abbott Tout (now HWL Ebsworth) in 2004, but continued to advise Symond for several months after his departure. Seller has never personally practised with HWL Ebsworth.

Symond had also launched legal action against Abbott Tout for its role in the matter and, in February, settled for $1.85 million (excluding costs).

Beech-Jones acknowledged that Abbott Tout was a “concurrent wrongdoer”, but rejected Gadens’ allegations that other parties should also share responsibility.

He ordered that Gadens bear 85 per cent of Symond’s losses, which have yet to be calculated, with Abbot Tout liable for the remaining 15 per cent.

The dispute has not apparently caused a rift between Gadens and Symond, with the firm stating that it continues to act for Aussie Home Loans, which has been a client since its inception in 1992.

“We are pleased that this long-standing issue has today been finalised,” the firm said in a statement.

“Aussie Home Loans are a valued client of the firm and we wish them well.”

Proceedings have been stood over for further directions on 8 August.

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

Gadens negligent in advice to Aussie Home Loans
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
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 & ...