Courts come together on competing class actions

The Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Victoria have entered into a protocol for dealing with competing class actions commenced in the respective Courts.

A similar protocol was entered into between the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of New South Wales late last year. Like the New South Wales protocol, the Victorian protocol provides, inter alia, that:

  • each Court will nominate a 'Class Action Representative Judge' for the purpose of implementing the protocol
  • those judges may, where competing class actions exist, convene a joint case management hearing for the purpose of ascertaining various matters set out in the protocol, including '[t]he suitability of the matters for joint or concurrent hearing of a selection hearing…'
  • after hearing from the parties, the judges will confer and determine the appropriate management of the competing actions (including, for example, a joint selection hearing, a concurrent hearing of the competing actions, or (where possible) the appointment of an acting judge from one jurisdiction to hear one of the competing class actions in the other jurisdiction).
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Andrew Watson

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Principal Lawyer, Class actions, Melbourne

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