THE introduction of a class action regime in Queensland Courts will not have a negative impact on Queensland business according to one of the country’s leading class action lawyers, Brett Imlay of Levitt Robinson Solicitors.
“The December 2014 Productivity Commission Report into access to justice arrangements, did not support big business’ view that increased class action matters would have a negative effect on corporate Australia,” Mr Imlay said.
Mr Imlay heads Levitt Robinson’s Class Action Division and conducted the firm’s class action litigation against the Bank of Queensland for its involvement in the Storm Financial collapse. Levitt Robinson also ran the class action against the State of Queensland and the Queensland Police Service for alleged breaches of the Racial Discrimination Act arising out of the Palm Island riots in November 2004.
The Productivity Commission Report concluded that litigation funding and class actions provided greater access to justice for individuals who had disputes with Government and/or big business.
According to Mr Imlay, “for far too long both the Government and big business have been able to stave off actions for their wrongdoing because individual plaintiffs could not match the deep pockets of their opponents. This new legislation reflects the greater need for a class action procedure to be available in Queensland”.
“Class actions take away this imbalance and allow individuals the opportunity to access justice and take on large corporations, financial institutions and Government when they have been wronged in some way.”
Over the past 2 years Levitt Robinson Solicitors has successfully settled class actions worth more than $130 million in damages arising from actions which have emanated from corporate wrongdoing, mostly committed in Queensland.
In accordance with the Productivity Commission’s findings the Queensland Government will this month introduce legislation to allow class actions to be conducted in its State Supreme Court for the first time.
Procedural rules in Queensland presently do not adequately provide for the conduct of class actions in the State, forcing prospective claimants to commence proceedings in Courts in other jurisdictions, such as the New South Wales and Victorian Supreme Courts and the Federal Court of Australia.
Both the Bank of Queensland and Palm Island class actions were commenced in the Federal Court of Australia.