Disputes + Investigations

Gilbert + Tobin is the firm of choice when the stakes are high. Our lawyers have been, and continue to be, involved in Australia’s most high-profile commercial disputes, litigation, investigations and inquiries. Our experienced team provides sophisticated and strategic litigation and dispute resolution services across a broad range of areas. We work closely with clients and have a proven track record of delivering focused, timely and cost-effective solutions, involving litigated and negotiated outcomes.

    Our Approach

    The Disputes + Investigations team at Gilbert + Tobin specialises in assisting clients to navigate complex and significant contentious issues. Many of the cases we conduct involve multiple parties and novel legal or factual issues.  Our case strategy begins with identifying your commercial and regulatory objectives and ensuring the focus throughout is on the protection of your interests. We understand that litigation should always be a last resort but, where necessary, must be handled strategically and commercially, with regard to protecting your reputation.

    We specialise in sensitive investigations and inquiries - from internal issues to regulatory investigations to Commissions of Inquiry - we understand the need for clarity of thought, discretion, insight and professionalism. We know that the way in which investigations are handled can be the best protection against bigger issues.

    We deliver timely and cost-effective advice developed within the framework of agreed objectives. This means we continually reassess the progress of disputes and discuss strategy with our clients to ensure that strategic choices remain aligned with those goals and that there are no unwelcome surprises.

    Our Disputes + Investigations experience includes:

    Class Actions

    • Westpac in defending class action proceedings that arose from proceedings commenced by AUSTRAC against it in the Federal Court. Damages claimed are some of the largest claimed in a securities class action in Australia.
    • Macquarie Bank in two Federal Court class actions against it in relation to consumer finance in the Auto industry.
    • Downer EDI in defending some of the most significant securities class actions commenced in 2023 - in relation to numerous class actions following an announced accounting irregularity, earnings downgrades and two 20%+ drops in share price.
    • Virgin Australia in defending a complex class action brought by noteholders commenced in the Federal Court of Australia, relating to $325 million of unsecured notes issued prior to the company entering voluntary administration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Westpac Group and BT Funds Management in relation to a class action brought on behalf of members of BT Super for Life Cash Option. Initial damages sought exceeded $100 million.
    • Nuix in relation to consolidated class action proceedings commenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria concerning disclosure issues (initially three class actions). Damages claimed likely to be a value of $1 billion.
    • QBE Insurance in relation to its defence of a consumer credit class action.
    • On a product liability class action against Toyota Motor Corporation.
    • Westpac in relation to a US Class Action concerning the Bank Bill Swap Rate allegations.

    Commissions & Inquiries

    • Former Directors of Star Entertainment in relation to the Star Entertainment Casino Inquiries.
    • A former Director of Crown Resorts in relation to the Bergin Inquiry.
    • Deloitte in relation to the Parliamentary Inquiry into management and assurance of integrity by consulting services.
    • The Commonwealth of Australia as Solicitors Assisting the Robodebt Royal Commission.
    • Auto & General Insurance in relation to a Parliamentary Inquiry into flood insurance.
    • Westpac on its response to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
    • The State of Victoria on its response to the Royal Commission into Management of Police Informants.
    • The Commonwealth and its departments and agencies on their response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
    • Deloitte in relation to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the regulation of auditing in Australia.

    Regulatory Compliance & Enforcement

    • Westpac in its defence of the high profile and complex ASIC prosecution concerning alleged manipulation of the Bank Bill Swap Rate (BBSW) which is one of the largest ASIC investigations and prosecutions ever.
    • SkyCity Adelaide in relation to major AUSTRAC enforcement alleging breaches of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws relating to the provision of designated services by SkyCity Adelaide to its customers.
    • Nuix in relation to an ASIC investigation and now Federal Court enforcement proceedings relating to its IPO in 2020 and subsequent disclosures made to the market about the company’s revenue forecast.
    • Auto & General Insurance in relation to landmark Federal Court proceedings brought by ASIC alleging a term in its home and contents insurance product disclosure statements is unfair.
    • Former Directors of Star Entertainment in defending a landmark directors’ duties case commenced by ASIC in the Federal Court.
    • JP Morgan in relation to the ACCC's landmark criminal cartel prosecution against ANZ, Citi and Deutsche in which JP Morgan was granted immunity, relating to a $2.5 billion capital raising.
    • Australian Clinical Labs in some of the first and most substantial regulatory investigations in Australia in relation to a cybersecurity incident.
    • Block Earner in landmark ASIC “test case” relating to the complexities of applying existing regulations to evolving crypto technologies.
    • RI Advice (subsidiary of Insignia) in connection with an Australian first cybersecurity investigation brought by ASIC alleging a failure to have in place adequate cybersecurity measures.
    • BT Financial Group in relation to its successful defence of the landmark ASIC prosecution concerning the delineation between personal and general advice, with widespread ramifications for the wealth and financial advice industry.

    Major Commercial Litigation

    • Credit Suisse in numerous proceedings and claims against insurers worth over $3 billion relating to the collapse of Greensill Capital.
    • Telstra in respect of various commercial disputes and investigations with suppliers and regulators.
    • ConnectEast (the owner and operator of Melbourne’s EastLink toll road) in a high profile complex commercial dispute with Transurban.
    • BlueScope Steel in a commercial arbitration relating to a high value dispute regarding the proper interpretation of a contract and allegations of restraint of trade.
    • New Hope Corporation in legal proceedings against Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, successfully disputing claims made by WICET that New Hope has guaranteed $155 million in debts of two of its subsidiaries pursuant to a Deed of Cross Guarantee.
    • Cargill in the longest running non-class action trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria (111 sitting days). We obtained a record judgment for Cargill against Glencore that involved substantial claims arising out of the sale of a malting business (Joe White Malt) to Cargill by Viterra and its parent Glencore..
    • Bega Cheese in Supreme Court proceedings brought by Fonterra Brands Australia regarding the use of the Bega trademark. 
    • Lowe’s in its high profile dispute with Woolworths over their failed US$3.6 billion joint venture in Masters.
    • Coca-Cola Amatil on a range of disputes and regulatory matters including directors & officers duties, as well as a dispute in the Supreme Court of New South Wales with SPC.
    • RiverCity in securing the largest settlement of a misleading and deceptive conduct claim in Australian corporate history against AECOM Australia in the Federal Court of Australia in relation to Brisbane’s Clem 7 Tunnel.

    Resources Litigation

    • New Century Resources in prosecuting and defending various claims against and by a third party and former directors, in connection with a royalty dispute valued at over $20 million.
    • Talison Lithium Australia on its significant commercial dispute with Global Advanced Minerals Pty Ltd in relation to mineral rights in the Greenbushes Lithium mine.
    • RioTinto Iron Ore in a strategic dispute with a competitor regarding the entitlement to over 30 million tonnes of Ore.
    • Mitsui & Co’s subsidiary, Onslow Salt, in proceedings regarding its rights under the “Onslow Solar Salt Agreement”, a State Agreement with the Government of Western Australia.
    • Anglo American in proceedings relating to a long-term agreement for the supply of coal from the Callide coal mine. The dispute covered a range of matters including examining the impact of the mining boom and changing commodity and energy prices and global economic conditions.  The proceedings centred around contractual construction issues and were successfully settled.
    • Kidman Resources in its successful defence of a Supreme Court claim over its globally significant Earl Grey Lithium deposit, valued at $900 million.
    • AngloGold Ashanti Australia in relation to competing claims of exclusive entitlement to provide heritage survey services in relation to key infrastructure corridors.
    • Mighty River in its successful application, as a shareholder of Mesa Minerals, for documents under s247A Corporations Act, the first time that the Full Federal Court of Australia had considered such an application.
    • Eastern Goldfields in various disputes regarding its 1.4 million ounce gold project at Davyhurst, Western Australia, including a Supreme Court claim for $10 million.

    Gilbert + Tobin ranked Tier 1 for Dispute Resolution

    THE LEGAL 500 ASIA PACIFIC 2020 - 2021

    "The team’s knowledge of the industry and regulatory landscape is second to none. It means that advice is tailored to take into account multiple different lenses, all of which are critical in decision making of senior executives."

    The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Dispute Resolution: Class Actions 2021

    "Strategic, responsive, delivers excellent client service."


    Clients stress both the team's "depth of support" and the intelligence with which its resources are applied, one source saying: "They ran things with a very lean team - which is something that I appreciated - but when they needed the depth, they had it."

    Chambers Asia-Pacific, Dispute Resolution 2021

    Top Litigation Law Firm 2020

    Lawyerly 2020

    ‘The team is practical, focused, and fights hard‘


    "The litigation team was phenomenal, crafting a unique argument which surprised a lot of people and put the opposing side on the back foot"

    Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020

    The excellence of the group as a whole, associates and senior lawyers explicitly included, is emphasised by a number of commentators. One interviewee speaks of "a very talented team of lawyers – technically great, easy to work with, able to handle a massive undertaking and with a commitment to getting the best outcome for the client that permeates the culture." 

    Chambers Asia-Pacific 2020

    Gilbert + Tobin was named Dispute Resolution Team of the Year

    Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards 2019

    "Well-resourced practice, acting for an extensive domestic and international clientele… Active on class actions, regulatory investigations and other official inquiries. Noted for strategic insight and rapid, proactive issue assessment. Further applauded for attention to detail, client focus and labour-saving use of technology."


    Gilbert + Tobin was named National Law Firm of the Year (Australia) 

    Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2018

    Gilbert + Tobin was named National Law Firm of the Year (Australia)

    Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards 2016