Class action facts blow business fear-mongering campaign away

14 November 2014
New class actions research released by Monash University’s Professor Vince Morabito has today blown a hole in the ongoing fear campaign against class actions.

Professor Morabito’s work, his latest empirical study of Australia’s class actions regime, proves that there has been a steady and moderate level of class action litigation in Australia, with an average of less than 15 actions in total per year.

Andrew Watson, the national head of class actions and Principal at leading class action law firm Maurice Blackburn, said the research exposes as pure folly, the baseless fears propagated by vested business interests wanting to avoid the scrutiny class actions bring.

“No credible business person, economist or company director can any longer sustain hysterical arguments against class actions based on the numbers, so we welcome the injection of this independent, factual research into the current debate,” Mr Watson said.

“We are in favour of a rational, factually-based debate around how the maturing class action regime can be improved to increase access to justice and to deliver a market-based remedy to corporate misconduct, so this research is timely and it is welcomed.

“For too long now, powerful special interest groups have been given free license to publicly generate unwarranted concern, devoid of factual content, in order to simply protect and preserve their own narrow concerns.

“Class actions aren’t bad for business, they are bad for bad business, and those who attack the regime do nothing other than give succour to the crooked, corrupt and the inept.

“This study reinforces that the class action legal regime in Australia is well-regulated, well-controlled and ultimately, is delivering what it was designed to – justice for mass wrongs and a check on corporate conduct,” Mr Watson said.

Mr Watson said Professor Morabito’s work highlighted the importance of having independent and unbiased research informing the class actions debate, and he called on governments to consider funding similar annual research into class action statistics.

The report also shows that fears of litigation funding have failed to eventuate. More class actions were filed in the first 11 years of the regime, when almost no commercial funding was involved (180), than in the past 11 years (149).