MCI officially exits the scene on ill-fated attempt to run CIMIC class action
This MCI class action was purportedly discontinued without approval under s 33V – this update regards an application to approve discontinuance and to dispense with notice to class members.
This was a securities class action on behalf of shareholders in CIMIC Group Ltd, commenced by Melbourne City Investments Pty Ltd (MCI). The proceeding was commenced soon after an earlier proceeding, also commenced by MCI, was permanently stayed as an abuse of process (Melbourne City Investments Pty Ltd v Leighton Holdings Ltd  VSC 119;  VSCA 235). However, this proceeding was ultimately not prosecuted, and in 2017 was discontinued (albeit, without the Court’s approval, as required by s 33V). Subsequently, the defendant applied for retrospective approval of the purported discontinuance, and also for an order that the requirement (under s 33X(4)) to give notice of the discontinuance to class members be dispensed with. Justice Robson held that it was appropriate to grant both orders.
So far as concerned notice to class members, his Honour held that such notice would be unduly expensive and would serve no useful purpose in the particular circumstances of this case, where the class members’ claims are the subject of a separate class action in the Federal Court (being conducted by Maurice Blackburn), and therefore the discontinuance would have no effect on the continued prosecution of their claims.
CIMIC Group Ltd  VSC 48
Supreme Court of Victoria, Robson J, 19 February 2019
Plaintiff’s Solicitors: Alexander Elliott;
Defendant’s Solicitors: Allens;
Plaintiff’s Funder: N/A
Andrew WatsonNational Head of Class Actions, Class actions, Melbourne
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