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Wodonga Ratepayer Class Action Investigation

Wodonga Ratepayer Class Actions | Shine Lawyers

After investigating the matter carefully we have formed the view that, at this stage, the Wodonga ratepayers would not benefit from the commencement of proceedings against the Wodonga City Council in respect of this matter. We will continue to monitor the position and if the situation changes we will notify all involved.

A report by the Victorian ombudsman has found that the Wodonga City Council was overcharging ratepayers in relation to their waste collection levy from at least 2008 until 2017. These amounts were used for a number of other council expenses, not directly attributable to waste collection. The ombudsman has found that these actions were likely contrary to the intentions of the Local Government Act. Shine Lawyers are currently investigating commencing proceedings on behalf of ratepayers to recover the overcharged amounts.

Am I eligible?

Currently, to be eligible to join the class action, you must have paid rates (including the waste collection levy) to the Wodonga City Council at any time in the period from 2008-2017. Please note that the eligibility criteria for the class action may be amended as investigations progress. We'll keep you informed if anything changes.

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Who is Shine Lawyers' Class Action team?

Shine Lawyers' Class Action team includes some of the firm’s most experienced partners, associates, solicitors and support staff, including
researchers, law clerks and paralegals. The team handling the Wodonga Ratepayers Class Action includes:

Tristan Gaven
Tristan Gaven

Our offer to you

  • Obligation-free consultation to assess your case confidentially

  • Claim assessment process where we will explain all of the options available to you

  • We can come to you - if you can't make it into the office we're more than happy to come to you

  • No Win No Fee arrangement

Common questions about Wodonga Ratepayer Class Action Investigation

A recent report by the Victorian Ombudsman has found that the Wodonga City Council (WCC) was overcharging ratepayers in relation to their waste collection levy from at least 2008 until 2017. These amounts were used for a number of other council expenses, not directly attributable to waste collection. The ombudsman has found that these actions were likely contrary to the intentions of the Local Government Act. We consider that the WCC is liable to ratepayers for the overcharged amounts.

This is a proposed class action (the Class Action) against the Wodonga City Council.

The Class Action, is to be brought on behalf of ratepayers for the excess amounts paid for waste collection services. After further investigations, if enough claimants have signed up to make the Class Action viable, it is intended to issue proceedings in Court as soon as possible.

Sometimes a wrongdoing can affect more than one person. A Class Action is a legal case filed by a person, known as the Applicant, on behalf of themselves and a group of people, known as Members, suffering from the same wrongdoing.

Class actions are either “funded” or “unfunded”. A funded class action means that the Members do not have any out of pocket costs during the running of the claim or if the claim is unsuccessful. “Unfunded” class actions can leave Members liable for the legal costs of both running the claim and if the claim is unsuccessful. Nearly all major class actions in Australia are now “funded” actions.

Major and complex actions such as the Class Action are extremely expensive to run.

In a funded class action, a litigation funder in return for a commercial return, takes over the costs and risks associated with running the class action. The way a funded class action practically works is that the litigation funder will pay part of   the law firm’s legal fees and all the outlays needed to run the class action. The litigation funder also promises to pay any costs the Court might order against the Applicant, if the class action is unsuccessful. The law firm “carries” the remainder of their charges and any costs incurred before proceedings are also part of the “no win, no fee” arrangements.

If the claim is unsuccessful, claimants will not have to pay anything.

If the claim is successful, the funder receives a commercial return on its investment and the lawyers are paid the balance of their fees out of the settlement funds, before distribution to the claimants.

The Court has to approve any settlement reached before it is binding. The Court itself determines whether a settlement is a fair and reasonable compromise of the claims of the class members. It will also consider the legal costs, the terms of the funding arrangement and the overall outcome. The Court can decide to alter any of those arrangements.

No. If the claim is unsuccessful, the litigation funder will become liable to pay any adverse costs on behalf of all claimants and any costs the litigation funder has paid up until that point will not have to be repaid. Regardless of the outcome, the litigation funder and Shine Lawyers will only be repaid from any settlement proceeds, not out of the claimants’ pockets.

At present, to be eligible to participate in the Class Action, your property or business must be located in Wodonga City Council region and you must have paid a waste collection levy at any point between 2008 and 2017.

It may be that the eligibility criteria for the Class Action will change, depending on legal advice. If the criteria changes, we will let you know.

Shine Lawyers will continue to investigate a Class Action against the Wodonga City Council. If you are interested in participating in a Class Action, please register your interest with Shine Lawyers.

If you would like any further information at any stage, please contact Shine Lawyers via the number at the top of your device or via the following e-mail: wodonga.rates@shine.com.au

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