Allens settles A$70m malpractice claim

Leading Australian law firm Allen Allen & Hemsley has settled a A$70m malpractice claim brought against it by Austotel, less than a week into a hearing at the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney.

In court last week, Austotel retracted the allegations made against the firm and three partners over their role in the sale of pubs from brewing giant Tooheys to Austotel.

The company launched the claim six years ago, alleging that Allens had acted negligently by acting for both vendor and purchaser.

It also alleged that the firm had failed to disclose a barrister's opinion on Austotel's liability to pay tenants' damages for loss of goodwill in the sale.

Allens denied the claims and, in court two weeks ago, its counsel Francis Douglas QC called them “literally hopeless”.

The two sides had been involved in talks to settle the claim prior to the Federal Court case, which was expected to last two months. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

It has been reported that Allens has agreed to pay A$10m to the company.