Dyson Heydon complainants to take legal action

23 June 2020
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has been instructed to pursue claims for compensation on behalf of three women who have had complaints of sexual harassment upheld against former High Court Judge Dyson Heydon.

The investigation, based on the accounts of many witnesses, upheld allegations of sexual harassment perpetrated by Mr Heydon towards six young female associates who worked for him during his tenure at the High Court between 2003 and 2013. The investigation was conducted by Dr Vivienne Thom AM.

Maurice Blackburn is representing three of the women, including Rachael Collins and Chelsea Tabart.

Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein said his clients would pursue claims for compensation against Mr Heydon and the Commonwealth for the harm caused as a result of Mr Heydon’s harassment.

“Dyson Heydon’s repeated sexual harassment of young women who were starting out their legal careers was known to many people and has caused significant harm and trauma to my clients,” Mr Bornstein said.

“Consistent with the exemplary approach of the current High Court to this scandal, it has indicated a willingness to participate in negotiations in order to see whether an agreement can be reached regarding the claims for compensation and we expect that to commence in the coming weeks,” Mr Bornstein said.

“We will also be writing to lawyers for Dyson Heydon shortly to ask if they too are willing to engage in a similar process. If they decline that invitation, I am instructed to lodge a claim in the Australian Human Rights Commission.”

“I again want to commend the High Court for its response in this matter, it is greatly appreciated by my clients to know that the Court accepts the findings made against Mr Heydon and that the women who came forward are believed.

“Dyson Heydon’s power and influence was such that even where informal complaints were raised with senior members of the court, the behaviour did not stop,” he said.

Mr Bornstein also dismissed reports Mr Heydon was not afforded procedural fairness.

“This is a ridiculous suggestion. The High Court acted swiftly to instigate an independent investigation led by Dr Thom – a former Inspector-General of Intelligence Security – and a fair process was run at all times for those involved including my clients and Mr Heydon.

“Mr Heydon himself was at all times also being advised by experienced lawyers.

“Dr Thom is one of Australia’s most senior and respected investigators. The Chief Justice is Australia’s most senior lawyer and she as well as the High Court more broadly has accepted the investigation’s findings against Dyson Heydon. It is time he and others did the same,” he said.

Media Alert

Who: Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein.

What: Mr Bornstein will speak further about legal action to be sought for clients who have had sexual harassment complaints upheld against Dyson Heydon.

Where: Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Level 21
380 La Trobe Street
Melbourne

When: 1pm, TODAY, Tuesday 23 June 2020

Social distancing must be strictly observed by any media attending.

Media inquiries: Jade Knight at Maurice Blackburn on 0417 969 438 or jknight@mauriceblackburn.com.au or Paddy Murphy at Maurice Blackburn on 0490 297 391 pmurphy@mauriceblackburn.com.au

 

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