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Joining the group: How to take part in a class action

Gavel, scales and law books | Shine Lawyers

Thinking about starting or joining a class action? Maybe you’re already part of one and want to make sure it’s the right decision for you.

The law surrounding class actions in Australia is vast and complex, and deciding whether you want to take part is not always easy.

What is a class action?

Class actions, or representative proceedings, occur when one person, the ‘lead applicant’, represents an entire group of claimants known as the ‘group members’.

The lead applicant and group members must have suffered a similar loss or wrongdoing, giving rise to a common cause of action against the same party/parties responsible. There can be more than one lead applicant, depending on the nature of the case.


Some examples of recent class actions in Australia can be found here.

Taking part in a class action

It is commonly thought that to become part of a class action, an you must proactively register your interest. This, however, is not usually the case.

Most class actions in Australia are run on an ‘opt-out’ model; even if members don’t actively sign up, they will be part of the claim if they meet a set of eligibility criteria.

These eligibility criteria will depend on the facts of the case in question, and work to ensure each person in the class has the same, or highly similar claims against the defendant.

Each person who meets these criteria will be automatically included in the action unless they choose to opt-out.

What it means to be part of the group

The main consequence of becoming a group member is that, unless an individual chooses to opt-out, they will be bound by the final outcome of the class action, whether that be an award of compensation or dismissal of the case.

Despite this, group members have minimal involvement in the actual running of the case. Unless they are the lead applicant, members are not required to instruct lawyers, pay legal fees or take an active role in the case.

Should I opt-out?

Generally, if you classify as a group member, you will be required to opt-out by a particular date set down by the Court. A public notice will be published prior to this date, often in a major national newspaper, that sets out how you can opt-out of the action.

There are various reasons why an individual may not wish to be part of a class action:

  • The class action might not address their particular claim or needs.
  • Different members of the class action may have conflicts of interest.
  • The money from a successful claim may be lower than if an individual claim was pursued.

In such cases, other legal options, such as bringing a private legal claim, may be more appropriate.

Shine Lawyers: Australia’s class action experts

To find out more about class actions, or to get in touch for an obligation-free first consultation with our class action experts, visit Shine Lawyers’ Class Action service.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: July 28, 2017.

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  • Sanjay Singh wrote:

    Hi There
    I am experiencing problem with my I Phone/Apple when ever any upgrade is done/completed and its slowing down the functions of phone and it was not like before when I purchased more than year ago and was functioning very good , fast pace. I checked battery and every possible measures including taking to shop and asked for advice,but nothing worked. Is it happening with my Apple phone or other I phone users experiencing the same performance level of phone as it was promised that its good, fast and reliable phone.
    Any help/suggestion on this issue.

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Sanjay,

      Thanks for getting in touch. While I am unable to help with your device issues, our New Client Team may be able to offer more information regarding the potential class action against Apple. Contact details are here:

  • Atem Anyang wrote:

    Battery run flat all time,slow download.can’t get back up from my iCloud memorise

  • Joy robinson wrote:

    Hi are you starting a class action again apple for the defective batteries as
    I have 1 iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6s Plus
    Also an apple iPad and a iPad mini
    Before these I had an iPhone 5 which did not hold the charge
    These all do not hold the charge after about 6 months
    I spoke with apple about this probelm and have been told that to fix the batteries they would need to charge me
    After the first iPhone 6 would not hold the charge and it was going to cost me more money to fix I was told by Telstra that I should get a new phone so I got the iPhone 6 s plus and again after 6 months the same thing has happened
    I am so cheesed off with apple and Telstra it is not funny
    Is there anything you can do to help

  • Jacqui Lewis wrote:

    My daughters has recently been diagnosed with idiopathic benign inter cranial hypertension or pseudotumour Cerebri and we only found out about 3 days ago that there may be some link to the Mirena IUD, she had one inserted about 2.5 years ago and it is still in her. Her neurologist and ophthalmologist who she only saw yesterday don’t believe there is a relationship between the two but as we looked online we were totally shocked that do many women had the same thing!! My daughter is only 21 and this has been a nightmare for our family. She has recently spent 12 days or do on hospital has had s headache/migraine continuously fit over 65 days now and had MRI’s and lumbar punctures, she has had blurred vision, fatigue, immunodeficiency type symptoms, depression, dizziness, ‘brain fog/ confusion to name s few symptoms. I’m so angry at the moment that she has suffered through this and might continue to. She is having the IUD this Tuesday as we can’t get a doctor to remove it any sooner. We have also been told it’s unnecessary to have it removed!!! Is your law firm involved with a class action for this particular problem? If not, can you advise my daughter on the next steps to take please?

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Jacqui, sorry to hear about what has been happening with your daughter. It’s not something that we’re currently investigating as a class action, so the best thing to do would be to get your daughter to contact our New Client Team. They will be able to get more information from her about a potential claim, and we can talk through our different services and let her know if we’re able to assist. Our contact details can be found here: ~Steph.

  • Peta wrote:

    I had TVT inserted for a large urologist gynacolost operation after 1992. I have had pain over the years and still have intermittent intense short spasm pain if I stretch on the right side or randomly, it comes and goes. I have had 2 operations a year ago, where the left side of the TVT has been removed. This pain was seriously intense performed by 2 different surgeons on concurrent days. Nerve in left groin and inner thigh affected but is better but not completely. The TVT was also found in the pelvis cavity through a hole to the leg. The right side of my lower abdomen still has the TVT insitu as the surgeon stated it was better to be left alone! The original surgeon who did the operation many years ago has passed away. I do not know what TVT was used. I also have bowel problems now because the TVT did not hold the cystoscopy in place causing pressure to push my anatomy out of place causing a rectocele. Incontinence was prevalent for years but surgery has healed the bladder incontinence but not the bowel incontinence. This is ongoing. Should I be involved in the current J &J Class Action?

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Peta, thanks for getting in touch, and sorry to hear about your experience. More details regarding the class action are here, including options to join:

  • Raeline Burgess wrote:

    Ive got essure had them put in 2010 had heavy bleeding for many many years now have had marinea to help with heavy bleeding hair loss is a symptom i have too can i join the class action

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Hi Raeline, I am sorry to hear about your experience. The class action you are referring to is being brought by law firm Slater and Gordon. You will need to contact them directly to join the class action. Thanks and good luck, Shine Lawyers.

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