S11: Lawyers eh?

    Q. What’s the difference between an echidna and two lawyers in a BMW?
    A. An echidna has the pricks on the outside.

Another lawyer joke:

Secret S11 deal twist
Chris Tinkler and Kelvin Healey
Sunday Herald Sun
March 11, 2007

THE law firm that brokered a controversial payout for S11 protesters who sued police is now representing injured police.

In another secret deal, the Police Association has struck a pact with Slater & Gordon, which received an estimated $600,000 in the S11 case.

It is understood the law firm has now stopped taking on cases against Victoria Police.

The revelation is a remarkable twist after the S11 saga.

Normally outspoken Police Association secretary Paul Mullett, who slammed the S11 deal, refused to comment on the Slater & Gordon pact on Friday.

Asked if the association had hired the law firm that represented the S11 protesters, he would only say: “We use a range of solicitors.”

But Slater & Gordon spokesman Andrew Taylor confirmed the law firm was working for the association in a range of areas.

“It’s generally industrial stuff and sometimes personal injury work,” Mr Taylor said.

He said the firm had been working with the Police Association for “six months to a year”.

That would mean that a separate unit within the firm was representing the association at the same time as another unit was suing its members.

It is understood all Slater & Gordon employees have been given a directive as part of the association deal not to accept any new cases against the police. When a Slater & Gordon help-line adviser was asked this week about representation for a man claiming to have been beaten by police, he was told: “We are not taking on any claims like that any more.”

The Bracks Government provoked widespread [sic] outrage when the Sunday Herald Sun revealed last week it had agreed to a secret $700,000 payout to protesters who clashed with police in the S11 [police] riots outside the World Economic Forum at Crown Casino in September 2000.

Forty-seven demonstrators and Slater & Gordon are sharing the windfall [sic], though the law firm is believed to be picking up about $600,000 in payment.

News of the payout also fuelled worries that the S11 protesters’ success could prompt similar action from participants in November’s G20 riots in Melbourne.

Opposition police spokesman Andrew McIntosh described the latest revelation as “the irony of ironies”.

“First you have a secret deal between the Bracks Government and Police Association, next you have a secret compo deal between the Government and Slater & Gordon and now there is a secret deal between Slater & Gordon and the Police Association,” he said.

“It is a merry-go-round of secret dealing. But I guess it proves if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Slater & Gordon is also preparing for a possible public listing later this year, with a prospectus due to be released within days.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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5 Responses to S11: Lawyers eh?

  1. sparx says:

    Q: Which Slater & Gordon lawyer, who ran the s11 case, was a total Labor hack back at Uni?

    A: Tanya Kovak http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monash_Student_Association#Past_Presidents_of_the_MSA

    I know more but it’s all hearsay and juicy, juicy and libelous rumor, and I’m far too scared to comment it, as you, @ndy, would be far too scared to post it…

    “Smithers! Release the lawyers!”


  2. @ndy says:


    Ms. Libelous.

    Slater & Gordon and the ALP have had a very close r/ship since the firm’s est in the 1930s by William Slater and his brother-in-law Hugh Gordon. (Slater himself was a Victorian MP for 40-odd yrs.) It, and Maurice Blackburn & Co (est. 1921, by another ALP hack, and now known as Maurice Blackburn Cashman), are the two leading trade union law firms in Marvellous Melbourne. Well, them and Holding Redlich I guess.

    So: KovaC is unexceptional, and it would be unfair, I think, to allocate too much energy on explaining (the outcome of) cases such as S11 in terms of individual lawyers and their individual political perspectives, mind-numbingly conventional as they are. Rather, the issue is a structural one, and social structure is a product of history. For example, the est of ‘community legal services’ has evolved to the point where nice boys and girls from Brighton actually seek entry to them, not out of any sense of social obligation, but because there is a great deal of competition for the small number of places in other firms that practice criminal law. Community legal centres, despite the often radical rhetoric which accompanied their est, and is still associated with their current practice, thus often become mere stepping-stones to much greater financial rewards as a career lawyer, often in the commercial arena, and often accompanied, as a result of their exps, by a patina of ‘social responsibility’ and ‘progressive politics’. The announcement by Slater & Gordon that it will go public elevates it, to some extent, above the fray, but it also creates further space for smaller firms to assume some of its previous roles: for example, representing people who’ve been bashed by police.

    Blah blah blah.

    I suppose the only comfort I have is knowing that the injuries many of my friends received at S11 — and who knows how many other protests, actions, and, of course, as a result of the innumerable daily humiliations experienced in everyday life under capitalism — has at least allowed a few more members of the middle class to pay the mortgages on the properties in suburbs I cannot afford to live in due to their presence, as well as sample some better quality wines, often to excess, and often in the pursuit of a form of psychological obliteration of the fairly accurate knowledge and understanding many of them possess of their role in the current system, and whose labour it is that, ultimately, pays for their enjoyment of such privileges.

    In short:


  3. sparx says:

    I had a really good lawyer joke AND some lawyer gossip, but after all that coherence I think it would just seem cheap and tabloid. Anyway given the ties between the ALP and S&G, the chance of them actually pursuing the s11 claim as far as court was always very remote – also given that the state Labor party is one of their other biggest clients. But given the proportion of S&G’s cut of the payout relative to what the protesters received, maybe smaller law firms will start to look favorably towards representing protesters against the police.

    IF smaller firms can front the cost of the hundreds of staff hours these cases eat up over the years they take to settle {assuming most protesters are too poverty-stricken to pay for lawyers themselves} and IF future protesters were willing to go through with it after the outcome of this case… then future protesters will get the chance to help future lawyers line their pockets. The more brutal the cops/complicated the case, the more cash the lawyers get in or out of court settlements – partly because lawyers, like sex workers and pop stars, but unlike protesters, can charge by the minute and drag cases out for years and years…

    In short:


  4. lumpnboy says:

    Hey, I’m sure I ‘broke’ this ‘story’ first, right here on Slackbastard. Does anyone know of anywhere in the corporate news media where the story of Slaters deal with the cops was discussed prior to March 5, ie prior to my comment at http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=607#comments ?

    After the S11 deal was struck, this was my comment:

    “I would in NO WAY suggest that Slater & Gordon would have tried for a quick settlement because of a desire to avoid any conflicts which might have arisen from the fact that they have now done a deal to start representing the Police Association, but I do note that S&G will no longer represent anyone against the police because of this presumably lucrative development…”

    I repeat: in NO WAY.

  5. @ndy says:

    Hola Lumpnboy,

    Yes and no: yes, I’ve been informed that journalists occasionally read this blog; no, there’s absolutely no reference to this story in the media prior to yr comment (at least, none that I can find). In other words, the *Sunday Herald Sun* report is an ‘exclusive’. Further, Tinkler and Healey are the same ones what ‘broke’ the original story inre the $700K payout in the first place, on March 4 —


    And ‘When a Slater & Gordon help-line adviser *was asked this week about representation for a man claiming to have been beaten by police*, he was told: “We are not taking on any claims like that any more”‘ would appear to be one, relatively straightforward means of confirming the story (“S&G will no longer represent anyone against the police because of this presumably lucrative development…”).

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