ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

Lawyers in the latest landmark defamation trial in the Federal Court have emerged as winners yet again after what has been described as a “legal circus” and “litigious marathon.”

A number of Senior Counsels, senior lawyers, junior lawyers, partners, associates, instructing solicitors, and countless office-based legal professionals are set to invoice for their time directly as Justice Michael Lee handed down his judgment in Lehrmann v Network Ten & Anor in Sydney this afternoon.

Thousands paused to listen to Justice Lee’s colossal 300-odd-page judgment that was interrupted by technical difficulties not long after it began shortly after 10 am Eastern Time.

Justice Lee was extremely scathing of Bruce Lehrmann. He found that sexual intercourse did happen between him and Brittany Higgins but consent was not established. The truth defence is upheld.

This latest defamation case is the newest in which lawyers have emerged as the overall winners after former Special Air Service trooper and Victoria Cross recipient Ben Robert-Smith endured a long and costly trial that ultimately saw previously unknown and unflattering tidbits regarding his character and behaviour brought into the light.

Legal costs in the trial ran into multiples of millions, as will the costs in this latest defamation trial.

Each trial has involved different levels of benevolence from media giant Kerry Stokes, who remains the patron saint of defamation lawyers in this country. It remains unknown to The Advocate the extent to which that charity extends.

With the next great Federal Court defamation case on the horizon, lawyers are hoping to enjoy some time off before doing it all again later this year. It’s not known what that case will be; all that is known is that it will certainly happen.

The Advocate has reached out to the legal teams of both parties but has yet to receive a reply. Some reports have suggested they’re already on their way to Mimi’s in Coogee for a late lunch.

More to come.


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