Commercial Litigation Specialties
Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Solomon Brothers has significant experience in all types of commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution processes, resolving disputes in areas including contract, tort, property, construction, finance and securities, franchising, competition and consumer law, corporations, and insolvency.
We provide mediation services via one of our partners, Mark Blundell, who is a mediator accredited under the National Mediation Accreditation System. He is noted on the Law Society of Western Australia’s Panel of Mediators in areas of mediation practice that include estate disputes, franchising, commerce and property, and insurance disputes. Another one of our partners, David Marsh, has a Professional Certificate in Arbitration from the University of Adelaide. We frequently achieve success for clients engaged in disputes without needing to resort to litigation.
When that becomes necessary however, our clients can rely upon Solomon Brothers’ significant experience in all courts and tribunals at all levels. Our team has the experience and resources required to prepare and take complex litigation to trial if necessary, although we resolve most cases before they get to trial. We have extensive experience in appearing as counsel in all jurisdictions, and this extends to appearance in the High Court of Australia.
Complementing our commercial experience in property development and transactions, we regularly act for clients involved in property-related disputes, in areas including:
- retail shop leases where we represent landlords and tenants in proceedings in courts and in the State Administrative Tribunal;
- lease disputes involving the recovery of arrears, termination, enforcement, and relief against forfeiture;
- contracts for the sale of land, in disputes over contractual terms and the enforceability of the contract, and the enforceability of off the plan strata title sale contracts; and
- strata titles where disputes arise out of decisions of strata companies and other measures affecting strata owners.
Solomon Brothers assist clients to resolve disputes in connection with companies, partnerships, trusts and joint ventures. These include:
- breaches of contractual, statutory or fiduciary obligations;
- dissolution, winding-up, or vesting; and
- recovery of money and property.
We represent franchisors and franchisees in disputes arising out of franchising agreements, such as the early termination of such agreements, and alleged breaches of the Franchising Code of Conduct.
The team at Solomon Brothers has extensive experience in dealing with issues arising under the Corporations Act 2001, helping and representing clients in disputes concerning for example:
- oppressive, unfair or discriminatory conduct that can lead to orders regulating the affairs of a company or winding it up;
- breaches of director duties, giving rise to claims for statutory or general law compensation; and
- breaches of statutory duties imposed on responsible entities of managed investment schemes (MIS).
In addition, we commonly provide advice in relation to company administration, receivership and liquidation, including service of statutory demands and winding up applications for insolvency. Find further information in relation to the insolvency services we provide here.
Solomon Brothers has substantial experience representing clients in complex claims arising from breaches of contract and claims for equitable relief. This includes seeking specific performance, injunctions, damages or compensation for losses, and other appropriate remedies.
Competition and Consumer Law
We provide advice and representation where claims arise under these laws, including:
- misleading or deceptive conduct;
- unconscionable conduct;
- exclusive dealing;
- re-sale price maintenance;
- agreements alleged to affect competition;
- substantial market power; and
- price discrimination.
Our construction law team has a wealth of experience in dealing with all manner of construction disputes. We have a strong grounding in claims under Western Australia’s security of payment regime under the Construction Contracts Act 2004. Find further information in relation to the construction dispute services we provide here.
Solomon Brothers helps clients pursue and recover debts owed to them. We obtain judgments for our clients if necessary, and take procedural steps to enforce such judgments. In addition to enforcing existing securities such as mortgages and charges, we obtain property sale and seizure orders, conduct means enquiries, and pursue other remedies. We commonly act for lenders in getting orders for possession of all types of property and the mortgagee sale of real estate.
Challenges to Government and Regulatory Body Decisions
Solomon Brothers has substantial experience in acting for clients challenging:
- decisions of local Governments and the Western Australian Planning Commission to grant, or refuse to grant, planning approvals, and the conditions imposed in planning approvals;
- the exercise by the WA Contaminated Sites Committee of its power to determine responsibility for remediation of contaminated sites; and
- decisions of the mining warden to grant or refuse applications for mining tenements; and Solomon Brothers has conducted challenges to the Supreme Court from decisions based on jurisdictional errors of law.
We appear for clients in proceedings in the State Administrative Tribunal, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and State and Federal courts.
Solomon Brothers were one of the first Western Australian firms to work with litigation funding (including challenges to the lawfulness of funding arrangements) and, since that time, has regularly acted under such arrangements. We therefore have a deep understanding of managing funded matters, especially when it comes to the complexities of settling claims with a large and diverse range of funded claimants.
Commercial Litigation Insights
By David Marsh
At the heart of the appeal was the question of whether an estoppel would operate to prevent a party, which directed additional works outside the express contractual variation regime, from bringing those works back within the contractual variation regime and then using the time bar provisions of that regime to bar the claim.
By David Marsh
This is a short article regarding two dissimilar cases, both of which focus attention on the fact that the boilerplate terms of contracts can have a significant impact on the conduct of construction disputes.
By Chris Williams
Acknowledging small business, including the retail sector, have been hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to commercial tenancy laws in WA are providing some relief through what is defined as this “emergency period”. Solomon Brothers partner, Chris Williams, provides a summary of these legislative changes and their impact on both landlords and tenants.
By David Marsh
While the usual caveats that apply to the impact of decisions refusing to grant summary judgment apply to NRW Contracting Pty Ltd v Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd  WASCA 2020, there are at least important take-aways from the decision. The fact that it is a Court of Appeal decision also makes it worthy of note.
By Kai Huan Tee
On 13 August 2019, the Federal Court of Australia handed down its judgment in Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Westpac Banking Corporation (Liability Trial)  FCA 1244 (“the Liability Trial”).
By Radika Vogel
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in Kilmaley Investments Pty Ltd v City of Wanneroo  WASCA 156 is an interesting development in case law relating to the assignability of a right to statutory compensation.