Shanta practices in commercial, corporate regulatory, tort and public law in the Federal and State courts and in commercial arbitrations. She is available for advisory and appearance briefs on business and human rights matters, including matters related to modern slavery.
Shanta has substantial experience in international law, commercial contract disputes, construction litigation, and litigation arising from breaches of Australian Consumer Law.
She is regularly briefed in public law matters in the Federal Court, Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Supreme Court, and in obtaining injunctive relief in aid of administrative appeals (merits review and judicial review). Her appearance work includes acting for various government clients in claims for public interest immunity.
Shanta’s particular expertise is in cases that cut across commercial law, common law and public law.
She has a significant history in group litigation arising from alleged misconduct of corporate entities internationally, including in modern slavery, personal injury and environmental claims. Her experience includes jurisdictional challenges, cases raising conflict of laws issues, and obtaining freezing injunctions and anti-suit injunctions.
Shanta is Special Adviser to the Law Council of Australia’s Business and Human Rights Committee, a member of the Victorian Bar Human Rights Committee and a member of the VicBar News Committee.
Prior to coming to the Bar, Shanta was a partner at London-based law firm, Leigh Day, specialising in international disputes. While practising as a solicitor in England and Wales, she pioneered litigation on modern slavery and was a Legal 500 recommended lawyer (2018). She developed particular expertise in corporate accountability and international human rights law while leading the advocacy work in this field at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat in London and at Oxfam Australia.
Shanta previously practised as a commercial litigation solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (King & Wood Mallesons).
Shanta read with Alistair Pound SC and her senior mentor was Bernie Quinn QC.
Recent matters in which Shanta has been briefed include:
Commercial and regulatory
- ASIC v Dixon Advisory & Superannuation Services Ltd, Vid595/2020 (ongoing), Federal Court – for ASIC in a regulatory matter regarding alleged breaches of “best interests obligations” under Division 2 of Part 7.7A of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), led by Dan Star QC with Zoe Maud.
- Bitumen Importers Australia Pty Ltd v Terminals Pty Ltd, S ECI 2020 04253 (ongoing), Supreme Court – for the defendant, contractual dispute, unled.
- Commercial arbitration (2020) between parties in an offshore petroleum project in respect of the interpretation of overriding royalty agreements, for the claimant, led by Chris Archibald QC.
- Funston v CCSS Pty Ltd, S ECI 2019 0543 (2020), Supreme Court appeal – for the appellant, led by Ian Upjohn QC  VSC 24
- Singh v Malhotra, CI-18-01113 (2020), County Court – for the Plaintiff, unled.
- Madafferi v The Queen and Zirilli v The Queen, Victorian Court of Appeal (ongoing) – appearing for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in applications for production of material pursuant to s 317 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, giving rise to public interest immunity matters, unled.
- Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants (2020) – appearing for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Department of Home Affairs in respect of public interest immunity matters, unled.
- Fantastic Family Day Care v Secretary, Department of Education, Skills and Employment, VID448/2020, Federal Court – for the applicant, judicial review including interlocutory application for stay, unled.
- Helping Hugs Family Day Care v Secretary, Department of Education and Training, 2019/7721, Administrative Appeals Tribunal – for the applicant, merits review including interlocutory application for stay, unled.
- Lumeah Family Day Care v Secretary, Department of Education and Training, 2019/2350, Administrative Appeals Tribunal – for the applicant, merits review, unled.
- Kids R Creative Family Day Care v Secretary, Department of Education and Training, S ECI 2019 01698, Supreme Court – for the applicant, judicial review, unled.
- Helping Hugs Family Day Care v Secretary, Department of Education and Training, VID739/2019 and VID925/2019, Federal Court – for the applicant, judicial review, unled.
- MXFR v Minister for Home Affairs  ATTA 705 – for the applicant, successful visa character cancellation merits review, unled.
- Australian Sustainable Hardwoods Pty Ltd v VicForests, Z388/2019 and Z286/2019 (ongoing), VCAT – for the applicant in respect of a Freedom of Information application.
Class action litigation
- Holly Southernwood, and William Vincent Kidd & Mary Agnes Collum as Trustees for the Magness-Bennett Superannuation Fund v Brambles Limited, VID 972/2018, Federal Court – Brambles shareholder class action.
- Endeavour River Pty Ltd v MG Responsible Entity Limited & Anor, VID1010/2018, Federal Court – Murray Goulburn shareholder class action.
As a solicitor, Shanta’s major cases included the following:
- Acting for a major corporate hospital group in a dispute with the Victorian State Minister for Health.
- Representing Telstra in a dispute regarding provision of IT services.
- Acting for a vinyls manufacturer in relation to a claim for breach of an international supply agreement.
Joint venture disputes
- Acting for three major Japanese steel companies in a breach of joint venture contract and fiduciary duties claim.
- Acting for major petrochemical companies in a joint venture dispute involving allegations of breaches of the Trade Practices Act (Australian Consumer Law).
- Commercial Construction Litigation
- Representing a major energy company in a US$65M construction claim against an engineering firm.
- Obtaining a freezing injunction in Antuzis & Ors v DJ Houghton Catching Services & Ors (2018)
- Obtaining an antisuit injunction in Kesabo & Ors v African Barrick Gold & Anor 2013 EWHC 4045 (QB).
- Representing a Japanese engineering company in a claim of fraud, including seeking a freezing injunction in aid of foreign proceedings.
- Test case on behalf of 23 silicosis sufferers in South Africa against Anglo American South Africa (Blom & Ors v AngloAmerican South Africa).
- Mass group action by over 4,300 silicosis sufferers in South Africa against AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American South Africa (Qubeka & Ors v AngloAmerican South Africa & AngloGold Ashanti).
- Jurisdictional challenge in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales regarding the meaning of domicile under European law: Young v Anglo American South Africa Limited & Ors  EWCA Civ 1130
- Claims by Tanzanian villagers injured or killed by gunshot in the case of Kesabo and others v African Barrick Gold and North Mara Gold Mine, case no. HQ13X02118, identified by The Lawyer magazine as one of the top 20 global disputes of 2015.
- Claims by 33 Peruvian farmers detained and tortured at a mine site in Peru (Tabra & Ors v Monterrico Metals, case nos. HQ09X02331, HQ10X01362).
- Human rights and personal injury claims by Afghan civilian claimants against the Ministry of Defence for alleged unlawful detention and abuse by the British Forces.
- Cases include the first High Court judgment in the UK against a British company for claims arising from modern slavery (Galdikas & Ors v DJ Houghton Catching Services & Ors  EWHC 1376 (QB)).