Stewart has practiced as a barrister for over 30 years in each State and Territory of Australia.
Since signing the Bar Roll in 1987 he has developed an extensive practice in commercial law appearing in many cases at trial and on appeal in State Supreme Courts and the Federal Court of Australia. He provides advice to commercial clients on matters including Corporations Law, Banking & Finance, Superannuation, Property, Contracts, Equity and Trusts. Stewart has often acted for public company directors and officers at examinations conducted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and inquiries conducted by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority into the conduct of participants in the Australian financial system. Stewart also acts for insurers in professional negligence and directors’ and officers’ liability claims.
Stewart has extensive experience in appearing before Royal Commissions. He acted for the directors of the State Bank of Victoria in the Tricontinental Royal Commission (1990-92). Stewart acted for the State of Victoria in the Longford Royal Commission (1998-99). Stewart was retained to advise Mr Lex Lasry QC, the Royal Commissioner appointed to conduct the Metropolitan Ambulance Service Royal Commission (2000-2001). He also appeared for executive officers of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority in the Bushfire Royal Commission (2009).
Stewart has recently appeared on behalf of Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited at the Hayne Royal Commission into misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
Stewart is presently acting for Apache Corporation, a large US oil and gas producer listed on the NYSE, in its contract dispute against Quadrant Energy in the Western Australia Supreme Court concerning claims in excess of AUS$200 million.
Between 2013 and 2016 he appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria and Federal Court of Australia for Apache Corporation, who were sued by the Oswals for in excess of AUS$2 billion.
Stewart has also appeared in many Class Actions, including acting for Merck Sharp & Dohme in the Vioxx Class Action (2011-2012) and Eli Lilly in the Permax Class Action (2012-2013). In 2000 he appeared for the State of Victoria in the Supreme Court of Victoria in the Longford gas class action.
Between 2006 and 2008 Stewart appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria in the substantial commercial dispute involving the drug Relenza between Biota Holdings Ltd and Glaxo Group Ltd.
Some of the recent cases he has appeared in are:
Re Gardiner (No. 3)  VSC 414
Wills and Estates. Application for revocation of grant of probate. Whether particulars of grounds establish a prima facie case of testamentary incapacity - Re Egan  VR 318.
Evidence. Onus of proof, presumptions, weight and sufficiency of prima facie case - Nicholson v Knaggs  VSC 64.
Barfly's Nominees Pty Ltd v Kliger Partners (a firm)  VSC 315
Negligence. Standard of care for professionals. Standard of care for Australian lawyers. Whether incorrect advice is negligent. Whether advice to settle proceeding is negligent – Whether advice to pursue former solicitor is negligent.
Statutory Interpretation - accrued rights. Retail Tenancies Reform Act 1998, s. 25. Retail Leases Act 2003, ss. 25 and 26. Retail Leases (Amendment) Act 2005, s. 43. Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984, s. 14.
McDonald v Dunscombe  VSC 283
Promissory estoppel - proprietary estoppel. Common intention constructive trust. Whether parents promised or represented certain assets to pass to plaintiff and sister upon death of both parents. Whether plaintiff reasonably relied on the promise or representation. Whether plaintiff acted to her detriment.
Re Premier Bay Pty Ltd  VSC 168
Contract - property development agreement - specific enforcement - rectification.
Negligence - breach of retainer - breach of duty of care - landowner seeking damages against solicitors and accountant.
Apache Finance Pty Ltd v Quadrant Energy Pty Ltd  WASC 68
Contract - proper construction - sale and purchase agreement - tax indemnity.
Words and phrases - "in connection with" - whether capable of applying to something not yet in existence.
AHRKalimpa Pty Ltd v Alan Schmidt (No. 2)  VSC 68
Plaintiffs substantially successful at liability trial seeking release of security for costs. Quantum issues yet to be heard and determined.
Mark Brunner v Donkey Wheel Ltd  VSC 634
Validating orders. Corporations Law (Cth) s1322. Whether error made in validating order on basis that no substantial injustice.
AHRKalimpa Pty Ltd v Alan Schmidt & Anor  VSC 701
Joint venture. Nature of agreement. Duties arising from negotiations and transactions. Directors' duties. Fiduciary duties.
Radhika Oswal v ANZ Banking Group, Apache Corporation & Ors  VSC 134
Strike-out application brought shortly before trial.
Radhika Oswal v ANZ Banking Group, Apache Corporation & Ors  VSC 119
Security for costs. Broad brush approach.
Yarra Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd v Oswal  FCA 49
Transfer proceeding under Jurisdiction of Courts (Cross-Vesting) Act 1987. Whether commonality or diversity of issues.
Oswals matters - Pre-trial discovery and privilege applications  VSC 386
Veall v Veall  VSCA 60
Testamentary capacity. Test - whether circumstances arousing suspicion. Elderly testator with cognitive impairment. Change of bequests from previous wills.
Pankaj Oswal v Carson & Ors  VSC 209
Strike-out pleading. Disclose no reasonable cause of action.
Veall & Anor v Veall  VSC 38
Elderly testator. Whether lack of testamentary capacity. Change of Will. Rational reason for altering Will. Whether testator knew of contents of Will.
Pankaj Oswal v Apache Corporation  FCA 642
Application for stay pending determination of another proceeding. Public interest consideration. Possibility for conflicting determinations.
Pankaj Oswal v Apache Corporation  FCA 129
Discovery issues. Stay.
Sutherland v Jatkar  FCA 532
Meaning of “provable debt”; whether claim for contribution under s. 23B of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic) a provable debt. Whether claim a contingent debt or liability. Whether claim a demand in the nature of unliquidated damages arising otherwise than by reason of contract, promise or breach of trust. Whether claim within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal Court.
SeaRoad Logistics v Patrick Stevedores  VSC 170
Dispute between tenant and sub-tenant. Whether rent review clause from Head-Lease incorporated into Sub-Lease. Validity of rent review procedure undertaken. Whether sub-tenant a monthly tenant or a tenant in equity for further term.
Labelmakers Group Pty Ltd v LL Force Pty Ltd (No. 4)  FCA 1224
Breach of fiduciary duty, contractual and statutory obligations. Election made for equitable compensation. Whether costs to be assessed on an indemnity basis.
Labelmakers Group Pty Ltd v LL Force Pty Ltd (No. 2)  FCA 1059
Equity. Remedies of damages or equitable compensation. Alternative: account of profits, equitable lien, injunctive relief, delivery up. Election to be made as to whether equitable compensation or account of profits.
International CAT Manufacturing Pty Ltd (in liq) v Rodrick & Ors  QCA 372
Corporations – Charges, debentures and other borrowings. Validity of charge.
BA & BB v Sutherland  VSC 336
Jurisdiction of States in bankruptcy. Application for stay of contribution proceedings under Part IV of the Wrongs Act 1958. Whether contribution claims contingent liabilities under s. 82(1) of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth).
Strategic Property Reservoir Pty Ltd v Condec Pty Ltd  VSC 634
Variation of contract; wrongful termination; fiduciary duties between joint venturers; breach of fiduciary duties; diversion of business and estoppel by convention and equitable estoppel.
500 Burwood Highway Pty Ltd v Australian Unity Limited  VSC 596
Invalidate expert determination for lack of impartiality and actual bias.
Labelmakers Group Pty Ltd v LL Force Pty Ltd  FCA 512
Breach of confidence, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of Corporations Act and breach of express and implied terms of service contract.
Marriner v Australian Super Developments Pty Ltd  VSCA 171
Joint venture dispute involving directors duties, fiduciary duties and breach of trust.
Deutsch v Deutsch  VSC 227
Derivative claim by potential beneficiaries against defaulting trustee.
Tziporah Deutsch v Pearl Rodkin  VSC 450
Conspiracy. Whether dominant purpose of agreement was to injure plaintiff. Compensatory damages awarded. Whether conspiracy involved deliberate disregard for the plaintiff’s rights. Exemplary damages awarded.
Dalkeith Resources Pty Ltd v Regis Resources Limited  VSC 288
Service contract dispute involving termination, and removal of director under the Corporations Act.
Wheelahan v City of Casey  VSC 215
Class action for negligence with respect to the construction and operation of a landfill site.
Australian Super Developments Pty Ltd v Marriner  VSC 66
Joint Venture. Breach of directors' duties. Breach of fiduciary duties. Estoppel. Misleading and deceptive conduct.
David Walker & Anor v Newmont Australia Ltd  FCA 298
Jurisdiction to serve subpoena. Sabre orders.
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