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Ashleigh Graham

Partner | Johannesburg

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Contact

T: +27 11 669 9561

Overview

Ashleigh is a litigator with expertise in commercial disputes.  She forms part of a multi-disciplinary Corporate Investigations team in which her role is to provide strategic advice during the conduct of investigations and to act during or thereafter should litigation steps need to be taken.  Ashleigh’s analytical skills, thoroughness and her ability to anticipate issues make her a critical component to complex, high-risk investigations.

Ashleigh was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court, South Africa in March 2014 and has experience in a wide range of arbitration, motion and trial work in which she has assisted Banks, companies from a myriad of industries, mines, directors and shareholders in commercial disputes ranging in nature from contractual disputes, disputes between shareholders and/or directors, delictual claims for damages; to disputes involving procurement and constitutional law.

Ashleigh is also skilled in negotiation, as she is an accredited Commercial Mediator.  Ashleigh considers herself a problem-solving and solution-orientated person, which is reflected in her approach to matters and in her ability to identify underlying issues to overcome deadlock.  Ashleigh lectures the Mediation module annually for the Practical Legal Training Course conducted by Bowmans which is attended by internal and external Candidate Attorneys for the completion of their required professional training.  Ashleigh has also acted as a Mediator.

Professional Memberships

  • South Africa Legal Practice Council

Experience

Jurisdictions worked in: South Africa, Namibia, United Kingdom and United States of America (NY)

Languages Fluent in: English

Recently Ashleigh has advised:

  • a significant multi-national in an international arbitration instituted by a telecommunications provider who claimed ZAR 453 million arising from alleged breaches of a sale of shares agreement. The matter was significant in its complexity, involving technical evidence relative to, amongst other features, data centres and their design requirements;
  • in a multi-million Dollar medical malpractice suit instituted in New York on behalf of a South African client, in which she assisted New York attorneys with pursuing personal injury claims against a major New York hospital and US-based medical doctors. The matter also required the launching of an application in South Africa for the appointment of a curator in respect of a patient;
  • in a complex, confidential investigation on behalf of a large multi-national auditing firm pertaining to procurement in the context of South Africa’s complex public procurement landscape;
  • a multi-national fund pertaining to the enforcement of the repayment of a multimillion Dollar facility and the enforcement of security, which required the institution of proceedings in the United Kingdom and Namibia;
  • trustees of a pension fund in response to allegations pertaining to its corporate governance, amongst other issues;
  • trustees of an international trust in the context of an investigation into possible fraud relating to grant monies;
  • a JSE listed property fund in the successful defence of a ZAR 210 million summons in relation to alleged breaches of a suite of agreements for the purchase of a property portfolio. The matter was significant as it was successfully defeated before the client entered a plea, as early applications brought on behalf of the client resulted in the striking out of the plaintiff’s claim.  Notwithstanding attempts by the plaintiff to seek leave to appeal and to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal, the striking out of the claim was upheld.  The plaintiff attempted to re-institute the very same proceedings again against the client but this once again was struck out;
  • an international NGO Fund based in Switzerland in the successful opposition of urgent interdictory proceedings pertaining to allegedly defamatory material. The matter is presently under appeal;
  • a South African subsidiary of a Finnish manufacturer in the institution of damages against a local Municipality for its failure to implement steps recommended by an expert for repairs to an electrical substation, resulting in massive major fires at the substation and consequent blackouts and losses suffered by the client;
  • a prominent pharmaceutical retailer in the successful opposition of urgent interdictory proceedings launched by a software provider pertaining to a software dispute;
  • a JSE-listed energy provider in a significant arbitration claim of ZAR 40 million instituted by a multi-national car manufacturer;
  • a South African subsidiary of an Austrian steel manufacturer in the institution of civil proceedings against certain employees who were found to have committed fraud following a forensic investigation. The relief sought included the forfeiture of the employees’ pension funds in terms of the Pension Funds Act 24 of 1956;
  • in the institution of urgent interdictory proceedings on behalf of a South African company to ‘freeze’ the bank accounts of a former director who had been found to have committed fraud;
  • a family against a private school in Johannesburg following the death of a child, in which constitutional damages were claimed and which also involved a mediation process;
  • a JSE listed mining company in various matters, including the resolution of a dispute with a landowner pertaining to the client’s statutory rehabilitation obligations, which dispute had been ongoing for almost 10 years before it was referred to Bowmans and resolved;
  • a creditor who had been ceded the rights to a mortgage bond over immovable property on which a chrome recovery and processing plant was located. Summary judgment was granted in favour of the creditor for ZAR 14 million, as well as an Order authorizing execution against the property housing the chrome recovery and processing plant;
  • in claims arising from breaches of sale of shares or sale of business agreements, many of which involved breaches of warranties and indemnities, and/or cross-border disputes for foreign clients (based in Finland; Germany; Singapore and other African jurisdictions) or against foreign entities;
  • in the launching of various winding-up proceedings against corporate debtors on behalf of various clients, including on behalf of a major South African bank;
  • in the conduct of a number of Pro Bono matters, one of which included an application to compel the State to take the steps necessary to bring certain land reform legislation into force and effect as per their Constitutional obligations. The parties agreed the terms of an Order in which the State committed to tabling land reform legislation within specified time parameters.

Awards

  • Johannesburg Society of Advocate Prize: Awarded to the most distinguished graduate in the degree of Bachelor of Laws 2011.
  • Gauteng Law Society Best Final Year LLB Student, 2011.

AREA OF EXPERTISE

Qualifications

  • LLB degree (cum laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand (2011).
  • Short course in Advanced Company Law (1) from the Mandela Institute (2014).
  • Accreditation as a Commercial Mediator though Conflict Dynamics (2017).

INSIGHTS

Overview

Ashleigh is a litigator with expertise in commercial disputes.  She forms part of a multi-disciplinary Corporate Investigations team in which her role is to provide strategic advice during the conduct of investigations and to act during or thereafter should litigation steps need to be taken.  Ashleigh’s analytical skills, thoroughness and her ability to anticipate issues make her a critical component to complex, high-risk investigations.

Ashleigh was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court, South Africa in March 2014 and has experience in a wide range of arbitration, motion and trial work in which she has assisted Banks, companies from a myriad of industries, mines, directors and shareholders in commercial disputes ranging in nature from contractual disputes, disputes between shareholders and/or directors, delictual claims for damages; to disputes involving procurement and constitutional law.

Ashleigh is also skilled in negotiation, as she is an accredited Commercial Mediator.  Ashleigh considers herself a problem-solving and solution-orientated person, which is reflected in her approach to matters and in her ability to identify underlying issues to overcome deadlock.  Ashleigh lectures the Mediation module annually for the Practical Legal Training Course conducted by Bowmans which is attended by internal and external Candidate Attorneys for the completion of their required professional training.  Ashleigh has also acted as a Mediator.

Professional Memberships

  • South Africa Legal Practice Council

Experience

Jurisdictions worked in: South Africa, Namibia, United Kingdom and United States of America (NY)

Languages Fluent in: English

Recently Ashleigh has advised:

  • a significant multi-national in an international arbitration instituted by a telecommunications provider who claimed ZAR 453 million arising from alleged breaches of a sale of shares agreement. The matter was significant in its complexity, involving technical evidence relative to, amongst other features, data centres and their design requirements;
  • in a multi-million Dollar medical malpractice suit instituted in New York on behalf of a South African client, in which she assisted New York attorneys with pursuing personal injury claims against a major New York hospital and US-based medical doctors. The matter also required the launching of an application in South Africa for the appointment of a curator in respect of a patient;
  • in a complex, confidential investigation on behalf of a large multi-national auditing firm pertaining to procurement in the context of South Africa’s complex public procurement landscape;
  • a multi-national fund pertaining to the enforcement of the repayment of a multimillion Dollar facility and the enforcement of security, which required the institution of proceedings in the United Kingdom and Namibia;
  • trustees of a pension fund in response to allegations pertaining to its corporate governance, amongst other issues;
  • trustees of an international trust in the context of an investigation into possible fraud relating to grant monies;
  • a JSE listed property fund in the successful defence of a ZAR 210 million summons in relation to alleged breaches of a suite of agreements for the purchase of a property portfolio. The matter was significant as it was successfully defeated before the client entered a plea, as early applications brought on behalf of the client resulted in the striking out of the plaintiff’s claim.  Notwithstanding attempts by the plaintiff to seek leave to appeal and to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal, the striking out of the claim was upheld.  The plaintiff attempted to re-institute the very same proceedings again against the client but this once again was struck out;
  • an international NGO Fund based in Switzerland in the successful opposition of urgent interdictory proceedings pertaining to allegedly defamatory material. The matter is presently under appeal;
  • a South African subsidiary of a Finnish manufacturer in the institution of damages against a local Municipality for its failure to implement steps recommended by an expert for repairs to an electrical substation, resulting in massive major fires at the substation and consequent blackouts and losses suffered by the client;
  • a prominent pharmaceutical retailer in the successful opposition of urgent interdictory proceedings launched by a software provider pertaining to a software dispute;
  • a JSE-listed energy provider in a significant arbitration claim of ZAR 40 million instituted by a multi-national car manufacturer;
  • a South African subsidiary of an Austrian steel manufacturer in the institution of civil proceedings against certain employees who were found to have committed fraud following a forensic investigation. The relief sought included the forfeiture of the employees’ pension funds in terms of the Pension Funds Act 24 of 1956;
  • in the institution of urgent interdictory proceedings on behalf of a South African company to ‘freeze’ the bank accounts of a former director who had been found to have committed fraud;
  • a family against a private school in Johannesburg following the death of a child, in which constitutional damages were claimed and which also involved a mediation process;
  • a JSE listed mining company in various matters, including the resolution of a dispute with a landowner pertaining to the client’s statutory rehabilitation obligations, which dispute had been ongoing for almost 10 years before it was referred to Bowmans and resolved;
  • a creditor who had been ceded the rights to a mortgage bond over immovable property on which a chrome recovery and processing plant was located. Summary judgment was granted in favour of the creditor for ZAR 14 million, as well as an Order authorizing execution against the property housing the chrome recovery and processing plant;
  • in claims arising from breaches of sale of shares or sale of business agreements, many of which involved breaches of warranties and indemnities, and/or cross-border disputes for foreign clients (based in Finland; Germany; Singapore and other African jurisdictions) or against foreign entities;
  • in the launching of various winding-up proceedings against corporate debtors on behalf of various clients, including on behalf of a major South African bank;
  • in the conduct of a number of Pro Bono matters, one of which included an application to compel the State to take the steps necessary to bring certain land reform legislation into force and effect as per their Constitutional obligations. The parties agreed the terms of an Order in which the State committed to tabling land reform legislation within specified time parameters.

Awards

  • Johannesburg Society of Advocate Prize: Awarded to the most distinguished graduate in the degree of Bachelor of Laws 2011.
  • Gauteng Law Society Best Final Year LLB Student, 2011.

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