Under the current regime in Queensland, it is very difficult to launch a class-action suit as there is no efficient structure in our legal system to facilitate this type of action. While ‘representative party proceedings’ are possible in Queensland, the court rules which govern their conduct are inadequate, and discourage litigation involving large numbers of claims. In the past, litigants have had to file their class action disputes in New South Wales, Victoria or through the Federal Court, which has proved both impractical and costly. Queensland businesses needing to defend such claims are presented with the same impractical and costly challenge of dealing with the claim through an alternative jurisdiction.
However, this unaccommodating structure is about to change with the State Government looking to allow class actions to be brought in Queensland Court’s for the first time. Earlier this week, the Queensland Government introduced into Parliament the Limitation of Actions (Institutional Child Sexual Abuse) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, bringing Queensland one step closer to having class action procedure in line with the New South Wales and Victorian jurisdictions. The Bill is yet to be reviewed, so a date for its implementation is yet to be fixed. The Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld) will be amended to provide for representative proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
What impact will this have?
The proposed changes couldn’t have come at a better time given that class-actions are currently Australia’s fastest growing form of litigation. There will be greater access to justice for those who previously could not bear the cost of filing interstate litigation. And those who were considering the option of filing interstate will now have the ability to file within the Queensland jurisdiction. However Queensland businesses and business owners should be mindful of the proposed changes, in that class action suits are likely to become more common.
For more information regarding class action law suits in Queensland
Please contact our Business Development Team on (07) 3252 0011 to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced Litigation Lawyers today.