Are you in VIC? If not, please change below.

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Justice for all: The benefits of class actions

Justice, scales and gavel | Shine Lawyers

Over the last 25 years, we have seen a significant growth in the number of large-scale class actions hitting our courts, with an average of 15 new claims filed every year. Often involving complex and intricate questions of law, it is not uncommon for a class action to take years to finalise. Substantial time, resource and financial commitments are required from the law firms bringing the action, and the courts.

But why bring your claim as a class action? What is the point of such a considerable dedication of time and money, when you could just bring your case as an individual?

Class actions: How they work

In Australia, class actions are run in the Federal Court or the relevant State Supreme Court. A class action can be commenced regarding any legal issue, provided:

  • Seven or more people have a claim;
  • The claims come from the same, similar or related circumstances; and
  • The claims relate to at least one common issue of law or fact.

If those requirements are met, a single class representative can bring the action on behalf of all the class members.


Class actions in Australia: A short history

Class actions weren’t always part of the Australian legal system. A 1988 review by the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended their induction, but it wasn’t until 1992 that a class action regime was introduced into the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth).

Initially, cases on product liability and migration matters populated the courts. Over the last ten years, however, we have seen a shift toward shareholder, investor and consumer protection class actions, generally involving allegations of corporate misconduct.

Why class actions?

Australia’s class action regime was introduced to provide an effective means for resolving common disputes among groups, and to prevent congesting the courts with a multitude of very similar, small claims. As well as streamlining the legal process, class actions also benefit individual group members.

Bringing an individual legal claim can be a significant financial burden. Joining a class action provides access to justice for those who may not have the financial resources to bring a claim on their own.

If you are considering starting or joining a class action, visit Shine Lawyers’ Class Actions service to see how we can assist.

For further information on class actions in Australia, visit Shine Lawyers’ dedicated class actions blog page.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: March 13, 2018.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

There are 0 comments. Be the first!

Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen Potential Class Action

Shine Lawyers is examining claims against Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen following US class actions, alleging that several vehicles have a defective timing chain, which can cause catastrophic engine failure. Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi vehicles that contain 1.8L and 2.0L TSI and TFSI EA888 engines manufactured between 2008 and 2012 are the vehicles that have been […]

Read more

Shine lawyers warn Apple may face class action in Australia

After investigating the matter carefully we have formed the view at this stage that consumers would not benefit from the commencement of any proceedings against Apple in respect of this matter. We will continue to monitor the position and if the situation changes we will notify via our website. Class Actions against technology juggernaut Apple […]

Read more

TGA’s mesh ban welcomed but needs to go further

Mesh victims and participants in the Shine Lawyers Johnson & Johnson mesh class action have welcomed news that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will ban the use of vaginal mesh implants for pelvic prolapse in Australia after finding that the risks outweigh the benefits. The TGA announced the decision following a review of clinical evidence […]

Read more