Class Actions

  TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is a class action?

A class action is a form of legal proceedings whereby a minimum of seven claimants with common issues of fact or law, band together in one claim and appoint a representative to conduct the proceedings on behalf of themselves and a group, or “class”, of defined persons.

By having their claims heard together, individuals who have suffered loss are able to overcome the traditional burden of prohibitive legal cost by efficiently combining their claims together and sharing costs. Meritorious class actions usually have few difficulties attracting third-party funding and insurance. This enables such groups of “little people” to fight the big end of town dollar for dollar.

Our lawyers have acted in the most significant class action cases which have shaped class action law and practice in Australia, returning hundreds of millions of dollars to ordinary Australians for corporate wrongdoing.

Our lawyers have a commanding track record in:

  • financial services claims
  • securities claims
  • consumer and competition law
  • product liability

If you believe you have a good legal claim, in common with many others in similar circumstances but without the resources to pay legal fees, we encourage you to reach out to us for a no-obligation assessment of your claim.

Selected Class Action Cases

  • Volkswagen Emissions Defeat Device Class Action: acting for owners of Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda vehicles regarding the installation of engine-controlling computer software which worked to defeat emissions testing by regulatory authorities.
  • Nurofen Class Action: against Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Nurofen Specific Pain Range products, for breach of consumer laws concerning the marketing of ibuprofen as being targeted to specific types of pain. Settlement of $3.5 million plus costs.
  • Dick Smith Class Action: on behalf of shareholders of an insolvent company, for failure to meet its ASX continuous disclosure obligations.
  • Ford Motors Class Action: acting for Ford vehicle owners with respect to defective dry clutch transmissions resulting in clutch slippage, bucking, jerking, causing sudden or delayed acceleration and/or sudden deceleration.
  • Telstra Class Action: the first settled shareholder class action in Australia for breach of ASX continuous disclosure obligations.
  • Qantas Class Action: against several international airlines for their failure to treat fuel surcharges as part of the applicable fare for the purpose of determining travel agent commissions.
  • Opes Prime Class Action: acting for clients of defunct stockbroker Opes Prime for misleading clients when providing securities lending arrangements in a margin lending context. Settlement with ANZ and Merrill Lynch totalling $253 million.
  • Centro Properties Group Class Action: at the height of the Global Financial Crisis regarding the liquidity of capital markets and material misclassification of Centro’s debt profile. Settlement with shareholders of $200 million.
  • OZ Minerals Class Action: at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, on behalf of shareholders regarding the misclassification of debt in reported financial accounts. Resulted in global settlement of $60 million.
  • Zinifex Class Action: acting for former shareholders of Zinifex regarding the acquisition of their shares by OZ Minerals in circumstances of imperfect financial disclosure.
  • QBE Class Action: acting in defence of QBE for non disclosure of material, price sensitive information to the ASX.
  • Clubs NSW Class Action: on behalf of clubs who suffered loss as a result of contracts regarding leased plasma screens which would show advertising, and from which the clubs were supposed to derive revenue.
  • Village Life Class Action: on behalf of Village Life shareholders concerning a breach of ASX continuous disclosure obligations in circumstances where Village Life was in liquidation. Settlement confidential.
  • Bell Potter Class Action: on behalf of dozens of clients regarding alleged manipulated the stock price of ASX listed entity Progen Pharmaceuticals.
  • Westpoint Property Group: four group actions against financial planners who promoted high-risk mezzanine debt promissory note investments in Westpoint. The insolvency of Westpoint precipitated professional negligence claims against prominent financial advice firms.
  • Quintis Class Action: $122 million claim on behalf of shareholders for breach of continuous disclosure obligations.

Pricing Options

We believe in offering our clients flexible and transparent pricing arrangements to suit their preferences and commercial imperatives.

Depending upon the matter, we can offer you the following pricing options:

1. Hourly rate pricing: this is the legal industry-standard method of billing. The amount of time spent working on a matter is the amount that will be billed, irrespective of outcome or value to the client. This option works best where there is a relationship of trust in which the scope of work is difficult to accurately price.

2. Fixed fee: this is an arrangement for the completion of defined piece of work at a fixed cost. This option gives the client cost certainty in terms of cost. This type of pricing is most suitable for reasonably simple matters lacking any unpredictable variables (e.g. a conveyance).

3. Capped fee: a capped fee is similar to the hourly pricing arrangement except the client stops paying after a certain “cap”. This provides cost certainty to the client as they will know the maximum amount that they will be liable to pay, with the possibility of a lower amount being payable if the work is completed more efficiently than the cap allows. This arrangement is generally suitable for medium complexity work with a limited number of material variables.

4. Risk-sharing arrangement: an arrangement whereby the law firm agrees to receive only a proportion of its professional fees billed with the balance payable on the successful conclusion of your matter. Disbursements are typically payable paid in full. This type of arrangement typically works well in complex large-scale litigation such as class actions.

5. Monthly retainer: this arrangement requires the client to pay a fixed amount every month in return for services that have a reasonably predictable steady flow. This is usually suitable for regular low complexity work with few to no variables.

Finalising Matters Early

Our lawyers specialise in being commercial which means, where possible, in settling disputes early. We know that a quick result is a preference for most people as they want to move on with their lives instead of spending time and resources engaged in protracted litigation.