Class actions are an important part of the legal system that enables disputes and claims involving potentially large numbers of people to be resolved in a single case. Maurice Blackburn has the largest class actions practice in Australia. We have obtained more than $1 billion in settlements for Australians since the establishment of our Class Actions department in 1998.
QBE class action
QBE investors have approached Maurice Blackburn to investigate a shareholder class action in relation to QBE's alleged breaches of its continuous disclosure obligations under the ASX Listing Rules and the Corporations Act.Read more
Bank fees class action
Maurice Blackburn issued proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against the ANZ bank in September 2010 in the first of a series of bank fee class actions for repayment of fees they have charged their customers over the last six years.Read more
Black Saturday Bushfire class actions
Maurice Blackburn is conducting two class actions on behalf of people who have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of the devastating bushfires that started in Victoria on 7 February 2009 (Black Saturday).Read more
Maurice Blackburn has an unparalleled record in class actions. We are the only Australian law firm to have settled shareholder class actions in excess of $100 million – and we have done that five times now. We conducted the first successful shareholder class action in Australian legal history, and we are also the only Australian law firm to have run and won cartel class actions.
Australia's number one class actions law firm
Our Class Actions department has the expertise, the resources and the track record to be able to undertake large and complex cases in a diverse range of areas, including:
- Shareholder class actions involving disclosure obligations, misleading and deceptive conduct by companies in takeovers, in prospectuses and in releases to the ASX
- Consumer actions such as the unfair bank fees case and Cash Converters payday lending case
- Negligence claims as highlighted by the current Queensland floods and Black Saturday bushfire actions
- Cartels involved in price fixing and market rigging, such as Amcor Visy and the Air Cargo class action, and
- Defective product cases for things like breast, knee and hip implants.
We conducted the first successful shareholder class action in Australian legal history. The class action was brought against GIO, by shareholders who suffered significant losses in the course of a hostile takeover by AMP Limited. This action commenced in 1999 and settled in 2003 for $112 million. Since then Maurice Blackburn has settled a further four shareholder cases for sums in excess of $100 million (Aristocrat $144.5m, Multiplex $110m, Centro $150m, and NAB $115m).
Through our shareholder class actions, we have also played an important role in the push for better standards of corporate governance and improved accountability to shareholders.
Class actions are an important enforcement mechanism that provides people, who individually would be unable to take action against these powerful organisations, with a fair and efficient means of pursuing justice.
Access to justice and better corporate conduct
Australia’s class actions regime was introduced in 1992, as an efficient mechanism to provide the multiple victims of mass wrongs access to justice with an equality of arms that enabled the actions of large organisations to be properly challenged.
Shareholder, investor and cartel class actions have arisen to hold companies accountable for engaging in serious corporate misconduct.
Such corporate misconduct includes misleading and deceptive conduct, price fixing and a failure to disclose important information to the share market, in breach of their “continuous disclosure” obligations under the Corporations Act.
One of the primary reasons people are able to better protect their rights, pursue fair compensation and hold large organisations to account, is because we have a robust class actions regime in Australia.
Importantly, it’s also increasingly enabling businesses to have greater faith in the markets they invest in, by enforcing stricter corporate governance practices on big business and allowing companies to seek redress when other companies haven’t complied with market rules and regulations.
Without a strong class actions regime in this country, and without legal experts like our team at Maurice Blackburn who know how to run successful cases, there would be far fewer checks and balances on those that do the wrong thing on a large scale.
Class actions allow the victims of mass wrongs to group together to better protect their rights and fight for fair compensation. They allow the recovery of losses more fairly and efficiently, and at less individual cost.
Those without the individual resources to fight corporations join with other people who have suffered from the same wrongdoing to form a class action. Lawyers select a lead applicant that represents similar wrongdoings that other class action members have also suffered. Often financial institutions such as institutional investors and superannuation funds are members of class actions, so we are often fighting for the financial futures of all Australians even if they are not individually members of the class actions.
Class actions are generally run on a ‘no win, no fee basis’. Because the law firm or a litigation funder bears the costs and the risks in running the case, that removes the burden from participating group members.
Class actions, and the lawyers who successfully conduct them, are a force for greater corporate and social responsibility and accountability, and ultimately benefit Australian consumers and industry.
Contact Maurice Blackburn’s Class Actions team for more information.