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Paul D. Evans joined the firm as the founding partner in the Perth office in 2017 after serving as the State Solicitor for Western Australia for more than 5 years.  Prior to that, Paul was a senior partner in the Perth office of (now) Herbert Smith Freehills.  Paul is one of the leading disputes lawyers in WA, and has advised clients in large commercial disputes for over 35 years (24 of them as a litigation partner of Freehills and 5 as State Solicitor).  

He is also an Adjunct Professor with Murdoch School of Law, and has held board positions on listed public companies and with HSF's predecessor firms.

In his role as the State Solicitor, Paul was responsible for a wide range of litigious, commercial and advisory matters, including aspects of the Bell Litigation (one of Australia’s most complex and longest running disputes).

In 1988, Paul lead the defence by Bell Group Resources of Brierley Investments’ attempted takeover, and Robert Holmes a Court’s subsequent takeover of Sherwin Pastoral Company, and then acted as principal West Australian solicitor for Bell Resources Limited in its pursuit of the recovery of funds from Bond Corporation Holdings Limited, the largest amongst more than two dozen hostile takeovers he litigated following the 1987 crash, which occurred a few months after Paul became a Freehills partner.

Subsequently he acted for Wesfarmers Limited in its contested takeovers of Bunnings Limited, IAMA Limited and Howard Smith Limited and for Bristile Limited in its contested takeover bid for Wesfi Ltd. He subsequently led the restructuring that freed Wesfarmers Limited from its cooperative shareholder base, clearing the way for it to become Australia’s 8th largest listed company.

He has represented parties in numerous other contested takeovers and proxy contests acting for and against a range of directors and shareholders and advisers in relation to the control of companies and as to the duties of those directors and shareholders as well as numerous other control disputes and schemes of arrangements over the last 30 years.

In the resources field Paul has acted for:

  • North West Shelf joint venture in relation to the recovery of losses flowing from the collapse of the Goodwyn A platform piling system in the course of construction, a $320 million insurance/construction claim, involving multiple issues of insurance and construction law, and professional negligence, settled with the insurers on very favourable terms.
  • Santos Limited and Apache Limited in the resolution of issues arising out of the construction of its Stag platform.
  • Large Australian resources companies in relation to extensive claims related to North West Shelf, and regional industrial development projects.
  • Multiple large Australian gas producers in relation to gas pricing disputes under long term sales contracts in several contested arbitral price redeterminations including the Cooper Basin producers and, most recently for the North West Shelf producers in a land market price redetermination in the WA gas market.
  • MidAmerican Energy Holdings and its CalEnergy subsidiaries in litigation in New South Wales (with associated litigation in California) arising out of drilling contracts for their Indonesian operations, and in relation to onshore Perth Basin gas assets.

Paul has a wide variety of experience in different industries, from acting in relation to various resources related projects for a number of mining companies (open pit mining, smelting and other plants), joint venture disputes, construction and projects (defending claims for variations, extensions of time and extraordinary costs claims, and prosecuting claims for liquidated damages and defective works, and retail industries.

He also has a keen interest in competition law, twice being the Deputy Chair of the Law Council of Australia Business Law Section, Competition and Consumer Law Committee in Western Australia and has undertaken competition advisory work, cartel litigation and other enforcement work, and economic regulatory advice and litigation in Western Australia and Queensland as well as petroleum resource rent tax and GST disputes.

  • University of Western Australia
  • (Master of Laws, with distinction, 1996)
  • (LLB, with first class honours, 1982)
  • (B. Juris, with honours, 1981)
  • Western Australia, 1984
  • High Court of Australia, 1984
  • New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia
  • Government of Western Australia:
    • State Solicitor, 2011-2017
  • Freehills (now known as Herbert Smith Freehills):
    • Partner, 1987-2011
    • Associate, 1983-1987
  • Recognized in Best Lawyers in Australia 2021 for Competition Law, Construction/Infrastructure Law, Corporate/Governance Practice, Litigation, and Regulatory Practice.
  • Recognized in Doyle’s Guide 2020 as a “Leading Lawyer” in Western Australia for Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution.
  • Recognised in Doyles Guide 2017 and 2018 as a Recommended Lawyer in Australia and Leading Lawyer in Western Australia for Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution.
  • Recognised in Doyles Guide 2018 as a Recommended Lawyer in Western Australia for Insolvency & Restructuring.
  • Recognised in Best Lawyers in Australia 2018 and 2019 for Litigation, Competition Law, Corporate/Governance Practice and Regulatory Practice.
  • Previously referenced by Legal 500 with Michael Mills, as an integral member of Freehills' 'responsive and efficient' practice and individually mentioned in “Premier/First” categories in Perth – Admin, Competition, Government and Litigation and described as having “an excellent understanding of business and regulatory frameworks” and a “quick turnaround time”, “approachable [and] personable”, “and above all a “very good litigator””, “strong knowledge of securities law”, and s being a “very able lawyer who is able to find solutions”.
  • Previously Global Counsel 3000 Recommended DR practitioner
  • Previously ranked by Western Australia’s premier business news source and Australian Legal Business as one of the top three litigators in Perth and recommended in PLC _ Australia for Dispute Resolution and cross-border litigation.
  • Murdoch University Recognition of Service Award for contribution to teaching.
  • “State Liability for Failure to Provide Public Security”, International Bar Association Annual Conference Washington DC, October 2016.
  • LCA BLS C&CL Annual Conference, “The Sale and Leasing of State Assets – Competition Law Issues”, August 2016.
  • Legalwise Contract Conference, “Penalty, Exclusion and Indemnity Clauses: Tips and Tricks for Drafters”, March 2016.
  • ACC (formerly Australian Corporate Lawyers Association) Seminar, “An Excursion Through Legal Professional Privilege In The Corporate Context, Its Preservation And Importance”, 2016.
  • Conference, “Maintaining Privilege: The Do’s And Don’ts For Legal Practitioners”, SSO Government lawyers conference, 2015.
  • Legalwise Contract Conference, “Andrews v. ANZ Banking Group and the Question of Penalties– Principles and Lessons”, November 2014.
  • Legalwise Contract Conference, “Multiple Contracts And Inconsistent Terms”, November 2013.
  • “Statutory Corporations and Accountability”, International Bar Association Conference Boston, September 2013.
  • Seminar, “Proportionate Liability Intersection of statute and Common Law, Mining and Resources” Contractual Disputes Seminar, 2013.
  • Contract Conference, “Litigating Contract Disputes: Indemnity, Limitation and Exclusion Clauses”, November 2012.
  • CPD Conference, “The Liability of the Chief Financial Officer in the 21st century” CPA Australia, 2011.
  • “Witness Statements: A Practitioner’s Perspective”, Law Society of Western Australia, Western Australian Bar Association, 24 March 2011.
  • Seminar, “Ethics for In-house Counsel”, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, 16 December 2010.
  • Paul D. Evans, Peter Sadlier and Michelle Guy, “An unsettling remedy: Enforcing the law by settlement”, 18 Trade Practices Law Journal 270, 2010.
  • Seminar, “Confidentiality and Privilege Creation, Retention and Loss”, Freehills, 1 December 2009.
  • “The Recognition and Categorisation of Fiduciary Relationships and Their Consequences”, Law Society of Western Australia [recap], November 2009.
  • Conference, “Human rights in commercial litigation”, International Bar Association Annual, Madrid Spain, 8 October 2009.
  • Seminar, “The Disclosure of Information in and M&A or Corporate Restructure”, Freehills, September 2008.
  • Conference, “Warranties, Indemnities and Fault Based Liability in Contracts Some Recent Developments”, LexisNexis Contract Law, November 2008.
  • Conference, “Getting better outcomes from termination and repudiation clauses”, LexisNexis Contract Law, August 2008.
  • Conference, “Dispute Resolution Clauses in the Modern Contract a Fertile Ground For Dispute?”, LexisNexis Contract Law, October 2007.
  • Seminar, “Joint Ventures and the Trade Practices Act 1974”, Joint Law Council of Australia/Law Society of Western Australia, September 2007.
  • Conference, “Contracts with Governments: Old Rules New Developments”, LexisNexis Contract Law, July 2007.
  • Seminar, “What Proportionate Liability Means for Defendants A Seminar”, Freehills, 2005.
  • “The recognition and categorisation of fiduciary relationships”, Law Society of Western Australia, July 2003.
  • Seminar, “Civil Liability Act 2002”, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, 3 February 2005.
  • Paul D. Evans and Tony Wilson, “Privilege against penalties and forfeitures halts discovery”, Civil Procedure News New South Wales 1, October 2004.
  • “A presentation on the Financial Services Reform Act”, Securities Institute of Australia, 2003.
  • CLE Seminar, “Suing the Adviser Causes of Action and Remedies”, Law Society of Western Australia, September 2002.  
  • Seminar, “An Update on Privilege: Without Prejudice and Legal Professional Privilege”, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, 5 July 2002.
  • Seminar, “Privilege in a Crisis preserving CLP”, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, June 2002.  
  • “Insider Trading a briefing”, Australian Institute of Company Directors/Law Council of Australia Business Law Section, 14 November 2001.
  • Seminar, “Prohibited Conduct in the Broking Industry”, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 13 December 2000.
  • Lecture, “Mergers and Acquisitions  Role Play of a Takeover”, Securities Institute, September 2000.
  • “Mergers and Acquisitions”, Securities Institute of Australia, August 2000.
  • Lecture, “Mergers and acquisitions role play of a takeover”, Securities Institute of Australia, May 2000.
  • Conference, “The Legal Liability of Emergencies”, Emergencies 1999, 22 April 1999.
  • CLE Seminar, “Professional Negligence: Recent Developments”, Law Society of Western Australia, 1999.
  • CLE Seminar, “Partnership Disputes Issues and Remedies”, Law Society of Western Australia, 1998.
  • Seminar, “Forecasts and predictions, the target’s friend”, 1998.
  • Seminar, Paul D. Evans, Daniel Blue, Rob Franklyn and Rodd Levy, “An Overview of Takeovers and
  • Takeover Considerations”, Freehills, January 1998.
  • Seminar, “Professional Indemnity” or “A Professional Should Wear A Halo But Need Not Wear A Hair
  • Shirt”, CPA Professional Week, 1997.
  • “Intellectual Property: an Introduction to Rights and Actions”, 1996.
  • Seminar, “How to Chair an AGM”, Freehills, 1996.
  • Seminar, “Trade Practices Law”, Toyota Dealers Commercial Law, 1996.
  • Seminar, “Trade Practices in the 90’s”, Water Corporation of Western Australia, 1996.
  • “Trade Practices  Law”, Building Owners and Managers Association, 1994.
  • Seminar, “Heritage Act of WA Pitfalls and Problems”, Freehills, June 1994.
  • Seminar, “Dealing with Green Pickets”, Freehills, 1994.
  • Seminar, “‘Privilege’: The Right to Say No!”, Freehills, 1994.
  • Seminar, “Dealing with Strikes, Pickets And Boycotts”, Freehills, 1992.
  • AICD/CCA Briefing, “A general guide to major changes in the Corporation Law”, 1991.
  • Seminar, “Internal Management of Companies An idiosyncratic View”, Freehills.
  • Law Society of Western Australia: Member: Ethics Committee, Commercial Law Committee, former member In-House and Government Lawyers Committee.
  • Law Council of Australia, Business Law Section: Member and sometime Deputy Chair Competition and Consumer Law Committee.
  • International Bar Association: Member