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Janette McLennan

Partner

People

Janette McLennan

Partner

People

Janette McLennan

Partner

Full Profile

With an emphasis on professional liability and financial institutions, Janette acts for corporations as well as directors and officers in securities claims and class actions, regulatory investigations, civil penalty proceedings pursued by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and criminal prosecutions arising from alleged misconduct in financial markets. She is a regular speaker on the topic of director and officer liability and class actions at conferences in Australia, Asia and the UK.

Janette also represents a wide range of professionals (including accountants, auditors, financial planners, fund managers, IT professionals, solicitors and trustees) defending claims of professional negligence, breach of contract and breach of statutory duties.  She has a strong interest in defamation/ reputation management and has acted in complex matters involving cross-border digital publications involving primary and secondary publishers.

On the pure insurance side of her expertise, she advises clients on coverage in respect of all forms of commercial insurance and reinsurance, and recently successfully conducted one of the few litigated reinsurance disputes in Australia that was heard by the New South Wales Court of Appeal.

Janette is a core member of the firm's resilience team. The team delivers solutions to clients with the aim of building organisational resilience.

She is recognised as a leading litigation lawyer by the Best Lawyers in Australia, 2019-2021.

Experience
  • D&O/Class Actions – Acting for a director of a collapsed mining company in a shareholder class action in the Federal Court against a junior mining company, its directors and auditors arising out of alleged misrepresentations to the market and continuous disclosure breaches at around the time of the 2008 financial crisis:  HFPS Pty Limited (Trustee) v Tamaya Resources Limited (in Liq) (No 3) [2017] FCA 650.

  • D&O/Regulatory Litigation – Conducting the successful defence for the Chairman of Mariner Corporation in a test case maintained by ASIC regarding alleged contraventions of the Corporations Act with respect to an off-market takeover bid. ASIC failed in its pursuit for civil penalties and disqualification orders, with the 2015 decision of the Federal Court of Australia serving as important guidance to directors on the exercise of the business judgment rule: Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Mariner Corporation Limited [2015] FCA 589.

  • D&O/Prosecution – Acting for a former Chief Executive Officer defending a criminal prosecution instituted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for allegedly misleading the market and aiding and abetting a continuous disclosure breach under the Corporations Act.

  • D&O – Successfully resisting a company director being joined by way of cross-claim to the 'RiverCity' proceedings commenced by the receivers and managers of the Brisbane CLEM 7 tunnel against the company which prepared the traffic forecasts for the tunnel: Rivercity Motorway Finance Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed) (Receivers and Managers Appointed) v AECOM Australia Pty Ltd (No 2) [2014] FCA 713.

  • D&O – Acting for the managing director of a collapsed reinsurance company in large, multi-party proceedings arising from the issue of a prospectus for a capital raising in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Court of Appeal: Ingot Capital Investments & Ors v Macquarie Equity Capital Markets & Ors.

  • D&O and ASIC Investigations – Defending various insolvent trading claims against directors of listed companies and small family companies, claims against members of audit committees and alleged shadow directors, and representing directors and officers in ASIC examinations. 

  • Insurance and Reinsurance - Acting for AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance in its successful defence of a claim for indemnity by its insured sued in arbitral proceedings for breach of contract and misleading or deceptive conduct in connection with repair and installation of a SAG mill at a gold mine in the Philippines: Weir Services Australia Pty Limited v AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance [2017] NSWSC 259.

  • Insurance and Reinsurance - Acting for a reinsurer in a contractual dispute with its cedant, with the New South Wales Court of Appeal determining that a clause in the contract permitted the reinsurer to exclude certain claims from cover under the reinsurance (with the presumption that reinsurance is back to back with the underlying insurance being displaced) and that the reinsurer was not obliged to follow the insurer's settlement decisions:  MetLife Insurance Ltd v RGA Reinsurance Company of Australia Ltd [2017] NSWCA.

  • Insurance and Reinsurance - London market - Member of the legal team which acted on direct insurance and reinsurance disputes for corporate insureds and insurers/reinsurers, including:

    • Direct insurance matters such as advising on notification issues arising from the Madoff Ponzi Scheme fraud, the purported avoidance of excess D&O insurances following a securities class action in New York and a political risk arbitration arising from government intervention in a commodities contract and the purported termination of cover by insurers.

    • Reinsurance claims arising from the 2007 California bushfires, the collapse of the World Trade Centre in New York, a Taiwanese oil spill and an avoidance case arising from losses sustained by a European transport entity.

  • Large scale corporate collapse - Member of the legal team that represented the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in the royal commission into the collapse of the HIH Group of Companies, including a pivotal role in the preparation of an independent expert report into the role of the prudential regulator in the largest insurance collapse in Australian history.

  • Class Action - Acting in defence of the Forge shareholder class action in the Federal Court of Australia for insurers standing in the shoes of the collapsed ASX listed company.

  • D&O/Regulatory Litigation/Class Action - Acting in defence of civil penalty proceedings commenced by ASIC in connection with Vocation Limited's continuous disclosure obligations and the issue of a cleansing notice in connection with a capital raising, and acting for the former Chief Financial Officer of Vocation in the related class action.

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Expertise

Janette is a commercial litigator experienced in complex director and officer claims, class actions, regulatory matters and commercial insurance/reinsurance.

Offices & Regions covered