We’ve had some pushback from the top end of town criticising Rod for supporting the Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2019 that would make it easier for groups like the taxi industry to get class actions up against corporate wrongdoers.
The Bill will introduce contingency fees for lawyers and remove the need for individuals to self fund these law suits. This means a court can order that the plaintiff lawyers to receive a percentage of the amount recovered for their costs, with all class members sharing liability for those costs (called “group costs orders”). This will shift the burden of cost risk from the representative (or lead) plaintiff to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
In an average year, five or fewer class actions are filed in the Victorian Supreme Court and if a class action is unsuccessful, the lead plaintiff might be held personally liable for the defendant’s costs. This risk might prevent some legal claims from proceeding.
- View the bill and read the second reading speech, which explains the contents of the bill at www.legislation.vic.gov.au/bills/justice-legislation-miscellaneous-amendments-bill-2019
- Poll – Majority of Australian believe class action lawsuits are a good thing
- Write to your region’s legislative council representative and ask them to support this bill.
Federal Inquiry into the class action industry
There is current federal government inquiry into litigation funding and the regulation of the class action industry. There have already been three extensive, independent inquiries into this space over recent years, all finding the system was working well and could further be improved for claimants with the introduction of measures such as contingency fee billing.
Rod spoke at a recent Australia At Home webinar about the importance of class actions and the process of bringing the Uber class action to court.
Over the past decade class actions have emerged as a potent tool in addressing corporate wrong-doing. In a world where the actions of large companies and org…
Rod was behind setting up the class action against Uber and really understands how difficult it is to get an action of this nature up in Australia. He and colleague Andre Baruch starting working on the action in 2016, but it took three years and a great deal of money in legal advice before they were able to bring the case to Maurice Blackburn and secure independent litigation funding for the Uber class action. Without that funding registrants would be required to pay for the case from their own pockets and this is a reason many class action cases never get to court. Rod is very proud that the Uber case will not cost registrants like you any personal money.
The federal inquiry repeats three previous independent inquiries into class actions in Australia and all of them found all found the system was working well and could further be improved for claimants with the introduction of measures such as contingency fee billing.
Rod and Transport Matters Party are encouraging everyone who has been involved in or considered a action to make a submission and share their personal story. Even a simple, one-page contribution could be of benefit to the process.
Submissions to the committee are due by COB Thursday next week (11 June).
You can find a simple form to help you structure and send your inquiry submission at www.transportmatters.org.au/make-a-submission-to-class-action-inquiry/