It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been an extraordinary year. The key events of the past year or so directly affecting business – the coronavirus pandemic, the ongoing fallout from the Hayne Royal Commission – are paralleled by the increased focus on climate change risks, as well as intensification of the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ movements in Australia.
From a litigation and regulatory perspective, this means that community expectations are heightened and companies and individual directors can expect even sharper scrutiny through regulatory action as well as individual and class actions against them, arising from a range of issues not limited to the financial performance of the company.
In this changed landscape, companies and directors should be live to the diverse significant litigation risks, and to the opportunities for implementing meaningful reforms and more sophisticated risk management strategies across their organisations.
Gabrielle Piesiewicz is a Senior Associate in Arnold Bloch Leibler's Dispute Resolution & Litigation practice group in Sydney.