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Laws change to allow class actions in Queensland

Earlier this month, Queensland Parliament passed a Bill permitting class actions to be brought in Queensland.

The long overdue class actions regime in Queensland will bring the state in line with the rest of Australia and provide residents with greater access to justice.

Queensland’s previous system has meant that victims who have suffered loss from the same set of facts have had to commence proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia. Where the Federal Court jurisdiction was not available, as occurred in the 2011 Brisbane flood disaster case, the absurd position arose where a claim that involved events solely in Queensland had to be litigated in another state, namely the Supreme Courts of NSW and Victoria.

This additional cost and delay meant that many legitimate actions arising from mass wrongs were not pursued because they were not economically viable.

The new reforms will enable Queenslanders to seek redress more cheaply and efficiently in their home jurisdiction with one single action.

Whilst representative actions have been available in Queensland for some time, the process was not as sophisticated or prescribed as class actions regimes. Representative actions led to uncertainty about the process, the outcomes and the principles applicable to the case at hand.

Shine Lawyers welcome the government’s changes which will derive the following benefits to Queenslanders:

  • Queenslanders will soon be able to bring group actions in their home state for claims that are solely Queensland based, allowing them to feel more connected to the litigation.
  • Proceedings in Queensland, rather than NSW or Victoria, will save valuable time and money.
  • Redress will now be achieved more cheaply and efficiently with one single action than with a series of individual proceedings.
  • Significant economic benefits will be provided to the State as a result of class action litigation being undertaken in Queensland rather than in other states.
Shine Lawyers Class Actions Principle Jan Saddler says the development was long overdue.
“Previously, Queenslanders had to go interstate and faced numerous hurdles in doing so, including increased cost, time and risk,” Ms Saddler said. “Class Actions are critically important to empowering the ordinary citizen and it’s the only way the little guy can take on the big end of town,” she said. “These reforms will allow individuals who have fallen victim to wrong doing and whose chances for justice were once limited to seek proper redress through Queensland courts.”
Shine Lawyers Class Actions team are working on behalf of thousands of Queenslanders to access justice.

For more information on this change or class action litigation more generally, please get in touch with the team by emailing [email protected]

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: November 8, 2016.

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