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Federal inquiry into class actions

Jun 10, 2020 | News

Transport Matters Party leader Rod Barton is encouraging anyone who has been involved in or considered a class action to make a submission to the Federal inquiry into litigation funding and class action regulations.

The current inquiry is the fourth to investigate class actions in Australia. There have already been three extensive, independent inquiries into the class action process over recent years, and all found the system was working well and could further be improved for claimants with the introduction of measures such as contingency fee billing.

Submissions to the committee are due by COB tomorrow (11 June) and Mr Barton says even a simple, one-page contribution could be of benefit to the process.

Mr Barton has made a submission to the inquiry which outlines the long and difficult process of bringing a class action against Uber under the current legal system.

“If you are fortunate enough to find good, helpful advice, as I was, there are many thresholds and hurdles that even a potentially strong class action must overcome before even the best firms can get a case off the ground,” said Mr Barton in his submission.

“This is partly because the cases are large, expensive, hard to run and hard to win – and if you lose (unlike in the USA), we here in Australia have a ‘loser pays’ model where those that bring a class action are on the hook not only for the millions of dollars of their own costs that they have to plough into a case just to keep up with well-resourced defendants, but they are also on the hook for the costs of the opposing side. Furthermore, it is the lead plaintiff who must bear that burden alone.”

You can read Mr Barton’s submission here.

“It’s important that people make a submission and let the Federal Government know that this is important to the people,” he said.

For help making a submission visit the TMP website and make a submission to the inquiry.

The Victorian state parliament will debate a bill next week that allows for contingency fees on class actions, which Mr Barton says he will support because it makes access to justice fairer. Find out more about that bill here.

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