Australian class action law is more plaintiff friendly than either the US or Europe and can be commenced by one representative applicant or class action lawyers provided that seven or more other individuals have similar potential claims arising out identical or similar incidents that need determination by a court on issues of fact or law. The Federal Court Act 1976 as amended in 1992 allows class actions to be brought in the Federal Court. State and territory legislation allows representative procedures which, with the exception of Victoria, are not true class actions.
Australian class action law operates on the 'opt out' policy which means that once commenced the representative applicant must describe in detail every person who is intended to have the benefit of that class and those individuals are in fact included unless they decide to positively opt out by filing a specified notice in the court appointed to deal with the matter. Neither the applicant nor the instructed class action lawyers have to make detailed enquiries about the members of the class and do not need to identify potential individual members.
Australia has no certification requirement for a valid class action which means that the representative individual or that persons class action lawyer does not have to persuade a judge in a court of law that the proposed proceedings meet the requirements of a class action prior to proceeding with that legal action. Furthermore it is not necessary for a class action solicitor to show that the issues of the class are more important than an individuals complaint which only need be 'real' or 'of substance'. To make Australian class actions even more user friendly the courts have wide discretion under law to split the original class into several subdivisions in order to efficiently deal with any issues that apply to only one of the subgroups.
Probably the most important issue that need concern the representative applicant or more likely the class action lawyers dealing with the case, relates to the initial definition of the class which effectively dominates the potential group membership thereby facilitating the opt out procedures. For a defendant in a class action the definition of the class often provides reason to dispute the initial procedures which makes ensuring a watertight initial definition of the class an imperative for solicitors instructed on behalf of the claimant.
There are a number of very good reasons for class action lawyers to consider taking this course and whilst initially introduced to improve access to justice for individuals, these legal procedures are now also being used by large corporate bodies facilitated by litigation funding schemes to obtain recompense from other large corporate bodies. The aggregation of claimants in an Australian class action compensation claim offers a number of advantages over individual legal action :-
Our class action lawyers deal with a wide range of Australian compensation claims including :-
Our class action solicitors have an unrivalled record of successful claims for residents throughout Australia. Tens of thousands of claimants have been successful and obtained recompense for wrongs carried out against them which would not have been possible without a representative class action claim. If you would like advice, on this complex legal procedure or you would like to consider starting a group with the intention of taking multi-party legal action you should not hesitate to contact us for free advice.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here