20 Dec 2006

Clayton Utz Statement



20 December 2006


1. Earlier this year a number of documents relating to the McCabe proceedings were leaked to The Sunday Age. These documents included two draft memoranda that had been prepared in the period immediately following the judgement of Justice Eames in 2002.

2. The memoranda relate to a preliminary internal review within Clayton Utz. They are drafts prepared without information or comment being sought or obtained from the persons to whom they related. They constitute preliminary opinions based on the first instance judgment that was subsequently overturned on appeal.

3. The internal review was superseded by the hearing and judgment of the Victorian Court of Appeal in the McCabe case and by investigations conducted by the Victorian Legal Ombudsman and the NSW Legal Services Commissioner which were resolved favourably to Clayton Utz and the partners involved. The regulators had full access to all relevant material.

4. The partners to whom the memoranda referred have since retired from the firm.

5. The leaked documents were subsequently sent to the Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hulls.

6. This afternoon the Attorney-General issued a press release in which he announced that he had, in turn, referred the documents to a number of agencies and his federal and state colleagues.

7. Clayton Utz will, of course, co-operate fully with any further enquiry into the matters referred to by the Attorney-General.

8. The documents contain information to which our former clients are entitled to claim privilege. They have since commenced proceedings to prevent further publication of the material to preserve that privilege.

9. As one of Australia's pre-eminent law firms Clayton Utz is resolutely committed to upholding our reputation for providing clients with the highest standards of professional and ethical advice.

10. Clayton Utz closed its tobacco claims litigation practice in mid-2002.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.