John Mitchell is a commercial litigation partner in Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Sydney office.
He has more than 25 years’ experience as a commercial litigator, acting in a large variety of matters in the New South Wales and Victorian Supreme Courts, the Federal Court and the High Court. John has acted for major Australian and overseas corporations as well as high-net-worth individuals, and has particular experience in acting in large, complex matters.
John was appointed a partner of Arnold Bloch Leibler in 2006. Previously, he was a partner at an international law firm, practising in Sydney.
John is the Australian representative member of ICC FraudNet, a global network of leading lawyers in anti-fraud litigation, operating under the International Chamber of Commerce and its anti-crime arm, the Commercial Crime Services.
A ‘very smart and highly organised lawyer with superior communication and client relations skills’ with ‘robust litigation experience’.
John is a member of the dispute resolution & litigation group and has experience in the following areas:
- commercial litigation and dispute resolution
- corporate regulatory investigations and white-collar crime
- class action defence
- insolvency and reconstruction, and
- banking and insurance.
John has acted for major Australian and international corporations, government bodies and private clients in a range of matters, including:
Dispute resolution & litigation
- Queensland coal producer, QCoal: obtaining judgment for over $69 million and findings of unconscionable conduct against Adani in proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland in a contractual dispute concerning the Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland
- David Marr, Australian journalist and author: obtaining judgment in the Supreme Court of NSW in a dispute over Mr Marr’s role and responsibilities as literary executor under the will of late Australian playwright, Nick Enright
- Ben Quilty, Australian Archibald Prize winning artist and social commentator: in relation to a commercial dispute
- Malaysian Petrochemical company, PCCI: in proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW obtaining worldwide freezing orders against 18 defendants arising from the fraudulent misappropriation of US$ 71 million
- Jones Lang Lasalle: in an insurance dispute with Zurich concerning a $50 million damages claim by Qantas against JLL and others arising from the accidental release of fire retardant at Brisbane Airport
- Israeli Bank Hapoalim: in proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia brought by the liquidators of companies associated with the Binetter family and the Nudie Juice Group alleging the bank knowingly assisted the companies avoid the payment of Australian tax
- Chris Corrigan: in Federal Court proceedings commenced by the ACCC alleging anti-competitive arrangements between Patrick Corporation and P&O
- AWB Limited: in relation to the Cole Inquiry into the Oil-for-Food Program
- NSW coal producer, Whitehaven Coal Limited: in various disputes and a private arbitration with other participants in the NSW coal supply chain
- MDS Nordion Inc, a Canadian nuclear medicine manufacturer: in concurrent proceedings in New South Wales and France
- Six former directors of Ansett Airlines: in proceedings commenced by the Travel Compensation Fund in the Supreme Court of NSW
- Investors in Australia’s largest vineyard and producer of bulk wines: in a contract dispute with a major Australian wine company, and
- Various banks and financial institutions, including Investec, Gresham, Babcock & Brown, and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited.
- Aveo Group Limited: defending Aveo in a class action in the Federal Court of Australia brought on behalf of certain residents of Aveo’s retirement villages
- Omni Bridgeway Ltd (formerly IMF Bentham Ltd):
- representing the litigation funder at a contested settlement approval hearing of the Murray Goulburn class action
- representing the litigation funder at a contested settlement approval hearing of the PFAS class actions alleging contamination of the groundwater in areas surrounding RAAF bases in Queensland, the Northern Territory and NSW
- David Coe, former CEO of Allco Finance Group Limited: in a shareholder class action in the Federal Court of Australia against Allco, Mr Coe and Allco’s auditors alleging breach of Allco’s continuous disclosure obligations
- The executive directors of Great Southern Limited: defending numerous class actions and Liquidators’ claims in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales arising from the collapse of Australia’s largest agricultural managed investment scheme manager including successfully defending appeals to the Victorian Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia, and
- Great Lakes Council: successfully defending the Council in the High Court of Australia in the Wallis Lake Oyster class action (Graham Barclay Oysters v Ryan).
White collar crime & investigation
- St Basils Home for the Aged: in relation to a coronial investigation into the deaths of residents due to COVID-19
- Former CEO of Deutsche Bank: in criminal proceedings brought by the CDPP against ANZ, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and six individuals alleging a criminal cartel
- Director of Radiance International: in criminal proceedings brought by the CDPP alleging bribery of foreign officials of Nauru, including on sentencing and successfully avoiding a custodial sentence
- Steven Hui Xiao, former managing director of Hanlong Mining Limited: in relation to ASIC’s investigation into insider trading by the executives of Hanlong Mining
- A UK national: in relation to an investigation by the UK authorities into alleged carbon tax permit fraud and the execution of search warrants in Australia
- Various individuals in relation to several ongoing, high profile investigations by the Australian Federal Police into alleged bribery and foreign corruption by Australian corporations, and
- Various high-net-worth individuals: in relation to investigations by the Project Wickenby task force comprising the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crimes Commission and ASIC into alleged tax evasion.
Restructuring & insolvency
- Australian toy manufacturer, Moose Toys: in relation to the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of Toys R Us
- Chilean liquidator of Onix Capital SA: in proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia obtaining recognition under the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross Border Insolvency of Chilean liquidation and Chilean bankruptcy proceedings concerning Chile’s largest Ponzi scheme and the realisation and repatriation of Australian assets for the benefit of scheme victims
- The Administrators of Arrium Limited: successfully defending proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW brought by Alleasing Finance concerning defective PPSR registrations resulting in title to mining plant and equipment leased by Alleasing passing to the Arrium Administrators
- A former director of Elderslie Finance Corporation Limited: in a $75 million insolvent trading claim in the Supreme Court of NSW brought by the liquidator of Elderslie
- KordaMentha: in relation to the receivership of a large residential project in Sydney, including disputes over payments under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act and building defects disputes, and
- The CFO of Arimco Mining NL: in relation to insolvent trading claims brought by the liquidator of Arimco.
Directorships & memberships
John is a:
- board member of Carriageworks , a contemporary arts and performance space in inner city Sydney, as part of a pro-bono partnership between Carriageworks and Arnold Bloch Leibler, and
- board member of the National Art School, Sydney.
Awards & recognition
John is recognised as a leading lawyer by various international guides to lawyers and law firms, including:
- Best Lawyers® International: alternative dispute resolution, class action litigation, litigation and regulatory practice
- Chambers Asia Pacific: dispute resolution and anti-bribery & corruption
- Doyle’s Guide: commercial litigation & dispute resolution and white collar crime & investigations
- Legal 500 Asia Pacific: dispute resolution, restructuring & insolvency and white collar crime, and
- Who’s Who Legal: business crime, investigations and asset recovery.