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
Corporate Lawyer
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· 12 months fixed term opportunity
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Storm documentary brewing

Storm documentary brewing

When it comes to influencing the outcome of a case, the lawyer acting for investors in the Storm Financial class action isn't afraid to push the limits. Stephanie Quine reportsThe lawyer acting…

When it comes to influencing the outcome of a case, the lawyer acting for investors in the Storm Financial class action isn't afraid to push the limits. Stephanie Quine reports

The lawyer acting for former Storm Financial clients in a class action against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Macquarie Bank (MBL) is making them the subject of a new documentary film.

Stewart Levitt, the principal of Levitt Robinson Solicitors, is running the class action against the banks for their role in approving margin loans to investors, and believes the film, along with other marketing campaigns around the class action, could have a substantial impact on the case and its outcome.

"We're giving the clients the opportunity to tell their story which they wouldn't normally get to do in a class action," said Levitt, who has also encouraged his clients to attend court and identify themselves.

"Clients have made badges with the logo of the bull ant because - though they're trodden on - they fight back. We now have hundreds of storm clients sitting in court ... at every directions hearing."

The documentary is in an "advanced state of readiness", Levitt said. It will screen in a private media showing in November, be released commercially on DVD, and Levitt hopes one of the TV networks will also screen it.

A film crew from Balibu Productions has interviewed a number of former Storm investors and advisors since it began following the case in July this year. Storm investors each contributed $250 to a marketing and advertising fund for the project.

And Levitt openly admits what he hopes to achieve from the film.

"Decisions aren't made in a vacuum ... creating a climate in the community does have an affect on the outcome of a case and affect the willingness of powerful defendants like banks to run the case," said Levitt, adding that he was well placed to run such campaigns.

"The beauty of my practice is that I don't have any partners. The way I run things would never get past a board at a big firm. There's no way they'd allow me to do the media releases I do, or address public meetings, or make a film."

Levitt remains sceptical of the actions brought against the banks by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), which plead many of the same points as Levitt - including that the banks with Storm were operating an unregistered management investment scheme, required to be registered - but do not seek such broad terms.

"ASIC are only alleging that the banks were knowingly concerned, whereas we're saying that they were principals in the conduct of the unregistered management investment scheme," explained Levitt.

"ASIC has a political agenda ... They are not alleging the same things against CBA as they are against the other banks, even though from our reading of the facts, CBA was more culpable than the other banks in many ways because they were involved at every level ... That always causes you to question the nature of the relationship between government and the CBA."

Thousands of people, many of them "mum and dad" investors, lost savings when the chain founded by Emmanuel and Julie Cassimatis imploded in December 2008.

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

Storm documentary brewing
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, even how we take a...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...