Ben Kiely


Melbourne, Australia

Ben helps clients navigate difficult commercial disputes. He is known for his unrelenting focus on client service, legal acumen, and strategic approach. Clients say that “the highest praise I can give is the fact that whenever my team is facing a particularly difficult issue, our first action is to call Ben; he will know what to do.”

With more than 15 years’ experience, Ben has a broad commercial disputes practice, with particular expertise in contractual claims, misleading conduct allegations, class action defence and technology litigation. He also regularly investigates sensitive allegations of corporate misconduct.

Clients describe him as "fantastic … and a highly experienced litigator", with a "very professional manner that made what was an incredibly stressful and high pressure environment much more manageable", and as someone who is "strategic, pragmatic and commercial … [who] always takes the time to understand our business, continuing outside of specific cases.”

He is an expert in cases involving significant contractual disputes, allegations of misleading conduct and class action defence:

  • Lochard Energy — representing Lochard in its $1BN damages claim for breach of contract and misleading and deceptive conduct arising out its purchase of the Iona Gas Storage Facility.

  • McFarlane v Insignia — defending Insignia Financial (formerly IOOF Holdings) in a shareholder class action alleging breach of continuous disclosure obligations and misleading conduct. It is one of the very few continuous disclosure class actions to make it to trial in Australia.
  • Janssen v OnePath Custodians — defending OnePath against a class action brought by pension fund members claiming trustee misgovernance.
  • Confidential clients — advising various clients on strategies to respond to, and reduce, class action risk, particularly in the technology industry.

Ben has helped a wide range of Australian and international clients resolve disagreements over IT scope, performance and delay claims, including:

  • Telstra — in Supreme Court litigation defending a claim of $20m+ from a customer arising out of alleged defects in software supplied as part of an integrated telecommunications solution.
  • ASX50 company — in a dispute with multinational software provider on business-critical IT transformation project, involving claims of $100m+. He worked with the client to crystallise its legal claims and develop a negotiation strategy to support a commercial resolution.
  • Accenture — defending Federal Court proceedings brought by customers arising out of a significant business transformation project.
  • ASX20 companies — advising on numerous confidential disputes with suppliers of business critical technology platforms, and their termination.

He has acted in many significant consumer protection claims, including:

  • trivago — defending Federal Court litigation brought by the ACCC alleging trivago engaged in misleading conduct and failed to disclose issues regarding the operation of its metasearch ranking algorithm.
  • Bupa — acting for Bupa (and its Managing Director personally) in Federal Court litigation against iSelect for misleading and deceptive conduct arising out of iSelect’s targeting of Bupa’s customers.
  • Medibank — defending ACCC proceedings alleging misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct (at first instance and on appeal) regarding changes to changes to certain customer benefits.

Ben is a leading investigations and inquiries lawyer, who has investigated serious corporate misconduct, and led major teams acting for Royal Commissions (and clients being investigated by them).

  • Internal investigations — conducting numerous sensitive investigations for major corporate clients into potential misconduct (including whistle-blower complaints and allegations spanning multiple jurisdictions).
  • Yoo-rrook Justice Royal Commission —  lead solicitor assisting Australia’s first truth and justice royal commission examining current and past injustices against First Nations people in Victoria.

  • Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements — co-lead solicitor assisting the Commission, responsible for evidence gathering and hearing preparation for Australia’s first virtual royal commission.

Ben also has an active public law practice, representing the Chief Justice of Nauru during Nauru's constitutional crisis, and the successful plaintiffs in Rowe v Electoral Commissioner, an urgent High Court constitutional challenge that enabled 100,000 additional Australians to vote. He is the Chair and Non-Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre, Australia's leading human rights law and advocacy NGO.

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