GRT Lawyers is pleased to announce that Sarida Derrington joins the GRT Litigation and Disputes team as a Senior Associate.

Sarida significantly bolsters the GRT team’s already impressive credentials in the contentious regulatory area.  She has particular expertise in advising clients on regulatory enforcement and compliance, having practised in the Brisbane office of a global law firm in their competition and consumer law team.  Prior to this, Sarida was a Senior Lawyer in the Australian Government Solicitors’ civil regulation practice. She has acted for and against a range of regulators in Federal and High Court litigation (including ASIC and the ACCC), and has advised a number of multi-national and ASX-listed companies on their compliance policies and procedures.

Sarida’s addition to the practice, together with GRT Special Counsel, Lesley Symons (ex-ASIC), builds on the firm’s formidable potency in terms of advising GRT clients on regulatory matters. In the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission, and with recent legal changes having substantially increased the maximum civil and criminal penalties that companies and their officers can face for breaches of legislation such as the Corporations Act and the Australian Consumer Law, company directors can expect regulators to be more bullish and litigious than ever.

Recent examples of this trend include:

  • the Federal Court ordering  record penalties of $26.5 million in September 2019 against a bankrupt education provider (Empower) for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law
  • amendments made to the Australian Consumer Law in mid-2018, meaning that companies can now be liable for penalties of up to the greater of $10 million, three times the value of any benefit received from their conduct, or 10% of their annual turnover, for contraventions of consumer protection provisions
  • passage of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Strengthening Corporate and Financial Sector Penalties) Act in February 2019, which, among other things, increased maximum civil penalties for breaches of the Corporations and ASIC Acts from $200,000 to $1.05 million for individuals, and from $1 million to $10.5 million for corporations
  • the introduction of a new power for Courts to make “relinquishment orders” that aim to recover any financial benefit obtained by corporate misconduct
  • an increase in the maximum prison term from 5 years to 15 years for serious criminal offences such as recklessly or dishonestly breaching directors’ duties and knowingly or recklessly providing defective disclosure documents.

Now, more than ever, your company must ensure good compliance practices are in place, and that both it and you are sufficiently protected in today’s regulatory climate.

GRT’s experts are intimately familiar with this area of law, and can assist you with matters such as:

  • providing training on dealing with regulators and/or specific regulations applicable to you
  • responding to formal and informal inquiries from regulators
  • representing you and/or your company in investigations, litigation and other enforcement actions by regulators
  • assisting you and/or your company to seek redress where you believe you may have suffered loss or damage as a result of a breach of relevant legislation.

Contact us to discuss how we can help.