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
D-day for Voyager survivors

D-day for Voyager survivors

Survivors of the HMAS Voyager disaster will finally give evidence against the Victorian solicitor accused of double-billing them in one of Australia’s longest-running compensation battles.

Survivors of the HMAS Voyager disaster will finally give evidence against the Victorian solicitor accused of double-billing them in one of Australia’s longest-running compensation battles.

Around seven complaints against David Forster are expected to be heard in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 5 June, five years after legal proceedings began and 50 years since the sinking of HMAS Voyager (pictured is the first HMAS Voyager) off Jervis Bay.

The June hearing will be the first time the plaintiffs will give evidence against Forster, whose firm Hollows Lawyers handled 89 of the 214 personal injury claims against the Federal Government by survivors of the 1964 disaster.

In the meantime, the courts have been handling disciplinary and receivership cases involving Forster, drawn out by numerous appeals, in tandem with the compensation case.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has been battling to have Forster banned from legal practice for four years. The board succeeded last month (14 February) when Forster lost a High Court appeal to have his practising certificate reinstated.

In 2012, Forster lost another dispute with the Legal Services Board in the Supreme Court. On this occasion he was convicted and sentenced to one month in jail, suspended for 12 months, for contempt of court.

The matter related to a court order from February 2011. Forster had been prohibited from contacting lawyers retained by the LSB after he sent a letter to the LSB’s barrister Kristine Hanscombe SC, in which he said he was having “emotionally very disturbing thoughts” about her.

In October 2012, Forster breached the court order when he sent an email to Hanscombe that was intended to intimidate her and cause her to withdraw from proceedings against him.

It also came to light in a later decision by an appellate court that Forster had repeatedly called Hanscombe a “monster” during a VCAT hearing in 2010.

These disciplinary proceedings have been running alongside a $7 million lawsuit launched by receivers brought in to recoup money from the now defunct Hollows Lawyers. Receivers Hall & Wilcox were appointed by the Victorian Supreme Court in 2010.


Remembering Voyager

Last month (10 February), around 50 survivors and another 200 family members were aboard the landing ship HMAS Choules to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voyager disaster.

A total of 82 people were killed when the navy destroyer HMAS Voyager collided with the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne during a night training exercise. There were 232 survivors.

Forster opened files for his Voyager clients in 2000. The Commonwealth had appointed barrister Jeremy Gormly to settle the claims and arrange for funds to be transferred to the various law firms acting for claimants.

The Commonwealth paid Hollows Lawyers $23 million to settle its clients’ claims.

In 2008, irregularities in Hollows’ trust accounts were discovered during an inspection of by the Law Institute of Victoria, which had been prompted by complaints from clients.

NB: Pictured is the first HMAS Voyager, with the picture taken prior to 1955. It was the second HMAS Voyager, commisioned in 1957, which collided with HMAS Melbourne in 1964

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

D-day for Voyager survivors
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...