An experienced commercial and corporate litigator, Nick Cooper has built a reputation as a pragmatic, responsive adviser who is easy to deal with.

Nick's main focus is on heavily regulated sectors, which must manage large-scale disputes, regulatory investigations and proceedings and commissions of inquiry while dealing with ongoing compliance requirements, market concerns and public scrutiny. He masters the complexities unique to his clients' sector so that they get comprehensive, informed advice on matters such as directors' duties, royalty disputes, corporations law, health law and insurance and risk (including business interruption claims).

This focus has led to Nick having a special interest in energy and resources litigation. Acting for clients from a wide variety of mining, oil and gas and associated companies, Nick advises on contractual disputes, insurance claims and regulatory matters. From his work for clients active in the offshore oil and gas sector, Nick has also gained particular knowledge and expertise in FPSOs.

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Expertise

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Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Energy and resources

Alcoa of Australia: Nick advises Alcoa (Australian operations which include bauxite mines, alumina refineries and an aluminium smelter) about a variety of contentious matters including in relation to property damage and business interruption insurance claims, supply contracts for on-site services, its CO2 liquid and gas supply contracts, and easement and restrictive covenant issues.

Apache Energy: Nick acted for Apache Energy in relation to a dispute with a contractor concerning the provision of offshore marine geotechnical investigations and surveys. This resulted in a favourable settlement for Apache Energy.

Bumi Armada Berhad: Nick is acting for Bumi Armada Berhad (a leading global provider of FPSO operations, vessel construction and engineering and maintenance services to offshore oil and gas companies) in relation to a case commenced by its wholly owned subsidiary Armada Balnaves Pte Ltd against Woodside Energy in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. The claim is concerned with the wrongful termination of an FPSO services agreement and involves the consideration of contractual principles such as repudiation, termination, affirmation, mitigation of loss and the assessment of damages together with the complex technical matters regarding the performance of the Acceptance Test (in particular the Operational Endurance Trial).

CITIC Pacific Mining/Sino Iron: Nick acted in a dispute with a former contractor concerning the termination of a Manufacture and Supply Agreement. This matter resulted in a positive outcome for the client.

Confidential client: Nick acted in a confidential matter concerning the early termination of an electricity hedging agreement due to economic hardship. This matter involved sensitive and confidential negotiations with multiple parties and the preparation of expert evidence directed at historical and projected financial performance of the relevant industrial facility.

Confidential client: Nick acted for a contractor in a dispute concerning a services agreement in connection with the Gorgon Project. The dispute involved a forensic review of documentation to support various claims for fees under the agreement. Arbitration proceedings were prepared but a mediated settlement on terms favourable to the client was achieved.

Confidential client: Nick acted for a company in a dispute concerning the provision of engineering consultancy services in connection with a port terminal development. The relevant agreement governing the parties' relationship was terminated and a notice of arbitration issued. The dispute was subsequently resolved by way of mediation that resulted in the client receiving payment for the services it had provided.

Fortescue Metals Group: Nick acted for FMG in relation to proceedings commenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission concerning alleged misleading statements made to the market and associated breach of continuous disclosure obligations.

Noble Resources International: Nick acted for Noble in relation to a dispute concerning a Pre-Payment Facility and Offtake Agreement for the supply of manganese ore mined from tenements in Zambia.

Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd: Nick is acting in relation to significant disputes concerning royalty entitlements arising from the extraction of iron ore and proprietary interests in various mining tenements in Western Australia.

Regulatory investigations & proceedings

ASIC: Nick has acted for a variety of corporate clients in a wide range of ASIC investigations and proceedings including insider trading allegations, false trading and market rigging, continuous disclosure obligations , and capital fundraising and disclosure.

Breach of directors' duties: Nick is acting for the administrator of a publically listed company in Federal Court proceedings against the former directors of that company alleging breach of their duties of care and diligence, good faith and proper purpose.

Fortescue Metals Group: Nick acted for FMG in relation to proceedings commenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission concerning alleged misleading statements made to the market and associated breach of continuous disclosure obligations.

Australian Crime Commission (ACC): Nick is experienced in assisting clients to respond to ACC notices to attend examinations to give evidence or produce documents.

Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry: Nick has acted for clients compelled to appear before Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry. Most recently Nick has been involved in a large team assisting the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in responding to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Atlas Drilling: Nick acted in relation to the 2009 oil and gas leak on the Montara Wellhead Platform, representing Atlas Drilling during the Montara Commission of Inquiry, which resulted in a favourable outcome for the client. He also acted for Atlas Drilling in relation to the investigation conducted by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority, and advised about insurance aspects arising from the total loss of Atlas Drilling's mobile offshore drilling unit.

Toxfree Solutions: Nick acted for Toxfree against a former contractor for breach of contract arising from fraudulent conduct. Nick advised the company in relation to the forensic investigation and the preparation of the expert report. Toxfree successfully obtained a freezing order against the contractor's assets and ultimately judgment.

SGS Australia: Nick acts for SGS in its Australian disputes, the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

See Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Energy and Resources

Offshore oil and gas sector

Apache Energy: Nick acted for Apache Energy in relation to a dispute with a contractor concerning the provision of offshore marine geotechnical investigations and surveys. This resulted in a favourable settlement for Apache Energy.

Atlas Drilling: Nick acted in relation to the 2009 oil and gas leak on the Montara Wellhead Platform, representing Atlas Drilling during the Montara Commission of Inquiry, which resulted in a favourable outcome for the client. He also acted for Atlas Drilling in relation to the investigation conducted by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority, and advised about insurance aspects arising from the total loss of Atlas Drilling's mobile offshore drilling unit.

Bumi Armada Berhad: Nick is acting for Bumi Armada Berhad (a leading global provider of FPSO operations, vessel construction and engineering and maintenance services to offshore oil and gas companies) in relation to a case commenced by its wholly owned subsidiary Armada Balnaves Pte Ltd against Woodside Energy in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. The claim is concerned with the wrongful termination of an FPSO services agreement and involves the consideration of contractual principles such as repudiation, termination, affirmation, mitigation of loss and the assessment of damages together with the complex technical matters regarding the performance of the Acceptance Test (in particular the Operational Endurance Trial).

Supply contracts

Alcoa of Australia: Nick advises Alcoa (Australian operations which include bauxite mines, alumina refineries and an aluminium smelter) about a variety of contentious matters including in relation to supply contracts for on-site services, its CO2 liquid and gas supply contracts, and easement and restrictive covenant issues.

CITIC Pacific Mining/Sino Iron: Nick acted in a dispute with a former contractor concerning the termination of a Manufacture and Supply Agreement. This matter resulted in a positive outcome for the client.

Noble Resources International: Nick acted for Noble in relation to a dispute concerning a Pre-Payment Facility and Offtake Agreement for the supply of manganese ore mined from tenements in Zambia.

Electricity

Confidential client: Nick acted in a confidential matter concerning the early termination of an electricity hedging agreement due to economic hardship. This matter involved sensitive and confidential negotiations with multiple parties and the preparation of expert evidence directed at historical and projected financial performance of the relevant industrial facility.

Services contracts

Confidential client: Nick acted for a contractor in a dispute concerning a services agreement in connection with the Gorgon Project. The dispute involved a forensic review of documentation to support various claims for fees under the agreement. Arbitration proceedings were prepared but a mediated settlement on terms favourable to the client was achieved.

Royalties

Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd: Nick is acting in relation to significant disputes concerning royalty entitlements arising from the extraction of iron ore and proprietary interests in various mining tenements in Western Australia.

Corporations law

Fortescue Metals Group: Nick acted for FMG in relation to proceedings commenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission concerning alleged misleading statements made to the market and associated breach of continuous disclosure obligations.

See Energy and Resources

Investigations and Crisis Management

ASIC: Nick has acted for a variety of corporate clients in a wide range of ASIC investigations and proceedings including insider trading allegations, false trading and market rigging, continuous disclosure obligations , and capital fundraising and disclosure.

Australian Crime Commission (ACC): Nick is experienced in assisting clients to respond to ACC notices to attend examinations to give evidence or produce documents.

Breach of directors' duties: Nick is acting for the administrator of a publically listed company in Federal Court proceedings against the former directors of that company alleging breach of their duties of care and diligence, good faith and proper purpose.

Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry: Nick has acted for clients compelled to appear before Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry. Most recently Nick has been involved in a large team assisting the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in responding to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Atlas Drilling: Nick acted in relation to the 2009 oil and gas leak on the Montara Wellhead Platform, representing Atlas Drilling during the Montara Commission of Inquiry, which resulted in a favourable outcome for the client. He also acted for Atlas Drilling in relation to the investigation conducted by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority, and advised in relation to insurance aspects arising from the total loss of Atlas Drilling's mobile offshore drilling unit.

Toxfree Solutions: Nick acted for Toxfree against a former contractor for breach of contract arising from fraudulent conduct. Nick advised the company in relation to the forensic investigation and the preparation of the expert report. Toxfree successfully obtained a freezing order against the contractor's assets and ultimately judgment.

See Investigations and Crisis Management

Healthcare and Life Sciences

Confidential client: Nick defended a general practitioner against a negligence claim commenced by the estate of a deceased patient seeking damages arising from alleged delay in diagnosis of cancer.

Confidential client: Nick defended a specialist surgeon against a claim that he failed to warn a patient about the risk of a foam induced microembolism associated with the use of foam sclerotherapy. The settlement was on terms extremely favourable to the client.

Confidential client: Nick defended a specialist medical practitioner against a claim that he failed to properly interpret certain MRI images with the consequence that the patient allegedly underwent unnecessary surgery which resulted in trauma causing paraplegia.

Confidential client: Nick defended an oncologist against a claim that he failed to inform a patient about the risks associated with the treatment of cancer including the risk of suffering from acute radiation necrosis. The settlement was on terms extremely favourable to the client.

Confidential clients: Nick provides advice to numerous health professionals in relation to investigations by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency into their conduct, and representation in defending any subsequent disciplinary proceedings brought against those health professionals. Nick has successfully defended many medical practitioners in proceedings brought against them by the regulator.

Open Disclosure: Nick has advised in relation to developing an open disclosure strategy regarding incidents that resulted in the deaths of a number of patients while receiving health care.

See Healthcare and Life Sciences

Corporate Governance

ASIC: Nick has acted for a variety of corporate clients in a wide range of ASIC investigations and proceedings including insider trading allegations, false trading and market rigging, continuous disclosure obligations , and capital fundraising and disclosure.

Breach of directors' duties: Nick is acting for the administrator of a publically listed company in Federal Court proceedings against the former directors of that company alleging breach of their duties of care and diligence, good faith and proper purpose.

Fortescue Metals Group: Nick acted for FMG in relation to proceedings commenced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission concerning alleged misleading statements made to the market and associated breach of continuous disclosure obligations.

See Corporate Governance

Insurance and Risk

Confidential client: Nick is acting for an unincorporated joint venture in relation to a high value property damage and business interruption insurance claim arising from an event at an industrial facility. The claim is against a captive insurer and involves negotiations with a panel of US and European reinsurers.

Iluka Resources: Nick acted for Iluka against QBE Insurance in proceedings commenced in the Supreme Court of Western Australia in relation to QBE's refusal to indemnify Iluka for loss suffered to a chartered helicopter under an Aviation Non-Ownership Liability Insurance Policy. Iluka was successful in recovering 100% of its losses.

Kaboko Mining: Nick is acting for the administrators of Kaboko Mining in relation to a claim of indemnity under a D&O policy involving the interpretation of an insolvency exclusion clause and its application to the primary claim against the directors for breach of their duties. The claim is before the Federal Court of Australia.

Underground Mine Damage: Nick acted for a gold miner in a claim under an Industrial Special Risks Policy for property damage and business interruption losses arising from seismic events at an underground mine. This matter involved analysing and interpreting various provisions under the policy, engaging expert mining engineers and developing a settlement strategy.

Nick advises various clients in relation to claims under contract works, D&O, business interruption and property damage policies.

See Insurance and Risk

Knowledge

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