Piper Alderman secures judgment in favour of client for IMF funded case concerning SEAS Sapfor forestry scheme


Piper Alderman and leading litigation and disputes funder IMF Bentham Limited, confirm the Supreme Court of New South Wales handed down judgment in favour of their funded client, David Kerr in his capacity as additional Trustee of the SEAS Sapfor forestry scheme (Trustee). While final orders are awaited, the Trustee is expected to be awarded compensation of approximately $80 million plus costs, payable by Australian Executor Trustees (SA) Limited. (Court’s Summary.)

IMF Bentham Investment Manager Oliver Gayner said:

“Seven years ago in mid 2012, the Covenantholders who invested their savings into the SEAS Sapfor scheme were shocked to learn that the entirety of their investments had been lost to Gunns and its lenders. Naturally we are delighted on behalf of the Covenantholders that the injustice they have suffered has been recognised by the Court, and the trustee whose sole job was to protect their interests has been found liable to pay them compensation. Given the Court’s clear and unambiguous ruling we hope the matter can now be quickly and finally resolved in the interests of all stakeholders”.

Simon Morris, Partner at Piper Alderman added:

“This is a hugely satisfying and long-awaited outcome for Covenantholders who, as found by Justice Stevenson, have been let down by the professional trustee they entrusted to protect their investment. Piper Alderman is pleased to have been able to play a role in recovering the Covenantholders losses. For lawyers and corporate trustees this decision will rebound for the things it says about the responsibilities of corporate trustees, their advisers and equitable compensation. There are salutary lessons here for corporate trustees about the consequences of their failures when but for their breach a loss would not have been suffered.”

Piper Alderman Partner, Simon Morris, is leading the claim against AET and Sparke Helmore. Simon is a pre-eminent commercial litigation lawyer. He practises predominantly in complex disputes in the Federal and Supreme Courts and has a particular focus in securities class actions.  He is the Head of Piper Alderman’s Sydney office and was formerly the national practice head of Piper Alderman’s commercial litigation division.