Michael Sophocles


mjs@ah.com.au

 

 

Major Areas of Specialisation

Commercial dispute resolution, including the resolution of disputes relating to a wide variety of commercial agreements, Corporations Act provisions, breaches of fiduciary duties and professional negligence.

Qualifications

BA, LLB (First Class Honours) (University of Canterbury).  Winner of Canterbury District Law Society Gold Medal in Law (1992). 

Notable Assignments 

  • Successfully acting over some years for Consolidated Press and Publishing and Broadcasting companies and Messrs James Packer and Peter Yates in litigation against the Special Purpose Liquidator (SPL) of One.Tel, most recently for Mr Yates in having certain orders for extension of time for service of the SPL's statement of claim for damages discharged, and in consequence the proceedings dismissed in May 2011, and subsequently successfully opposing both the SPL's application for leave to appeal/appeal to the court of Appeal and the SPL's application for special leave to appeal to the High Court.
  • Successfully acting for Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in a damages claim against Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Intoll, securing a payment of A$20 million for Teachers.
  • Successfully acting for International Finance Trust Company against the NSW Crime Commission, first in the NSW Court of Appeal in having certain restraining/freezing orders made by the NSW Supreme Court on the application of the Commission vacated, and then in the High Court of Australia in having certain legislation purportedly conferring power to make such restraining/freezing orders  declared unconstitutional and invalid.   
  • Successfully acting for four mining companies which were (i) defendants in NSW Supreme Court (Commercial List) proceedings seeking the payment of dividends allegedly worth tens of millions of US dollars; and (ii) plaintiffs in proceedings in the High Court of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (where they successfully sought Norwich Pharmacal orders).
  • Advising one of Australia's largest investment managers in relation to a dispute under a share sale agreement and obtaining a payment of more than US$7 million for client via negotiation and without the client having to commence litigation.
  • Acting for an Australian cinema chain in defending proceedings brought against it by a cinema advertising business in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, alleging breaches of contract.  After the defendant's evidence was served, the plaintiff abandoned its claim and made a payment towards the defendant's costs of the proceedings.
  • Acting for an Australian fund manager in defending a claim for approximately $30 million in the Supreme Court of Victoria based on allegations of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Acting for insurers in relation to professional negligence proceedings brought against eight firms of solicitors in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, seeking total damages of approximately $130 million, which proceedings were all successfully settled.
  • Acting for a film distributor defending proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales alleging interference with contractual relations and unconscionable conduct.  All claims against the client were dismissed with costs. 

Other Experience

Michael is also highly experienced in the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation and negotiation.  Michael is a mediator accredited by LEADR and registered under the Mediation Act 1997 (ACT).  He is also a past member of LEADR's Domain Name Dispute Resolution Panel in New South Wales.