Renewed calls for a last resort compensation scheme to cover customers when their adviser's firm ceases to exist
SR Group is standing firmly with Professor Ramsay's review for the federal government recommending the establishment of a compensation scheme of last resort for victims of poor financial advice. With the Royal commission dedicating public hearings to financial advice and Dover showcased it is an area needing the most immediate attention of last resort compensation. Time for reform.
The Federal Court has clarified the scope of the releases that may be agreed by a lead applicant in a class action. It has stated very clearly that under the legislation governing class actions, the release can only relate to the claim the class action. The lead application has no power to grant a release in relation to things beyond the claim in the class action.
The issue arose in Dillon v RBS Group (Australia) Pty Limited (No 2)  FCA 395. Mrs Dillon sued RBS Group in relation to losses sustained by her and others in relation to exotic financial products known as ‘instalment warrants’. The case settled and as is typical in cases of this kind, RBS Group required each group member to sign a lengthy document containing, among other things, a release of RBS from any further liability by all group members in relation to issues raised in the proceedings.
The necessity of requiring group members to sign such a document prompted Lee J to consider the “important points of principle” about the scope of the proposed releases. It is an important point because defendants often ask for a release of all liability, whether or not connected with the issues in the case. A release of all liability would preclude group members from pursuing other claims they might have against a particular defendant. Lee J held that a release that went beyond the claim in the class action could not be maintained.
This decision has significant consequences. In the Great Southern litigation, a release was contained in the Deed of Settlement that clearly went beyond the scope of the class action. Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, in the course of its recovery action, has relied on that release to assert that borrowers have no defences to the bank’s demands for payment.
Lee J’s decision makes it plain that this is not correct and that the scope of any release must be construed in line with the content of the claim in the class action.
Our Managing Director Susie Bennell was instrumental in bringing this to the government’s attention. Life changing news for people that have been wronged by banks and other financial institutions.
Queensland builders are planning to launch a class action against the state’s construction industry watchdog over what they claim is heavy-handed oversight that has destroyed businesses.
Small to medium-sized building firms are aiming to meet next week in Brisbane as the first step in lobbing the legal grenade at the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
The aggrieved parties will be chasing an unspecified damages bill, certain to run in to the millions of dollars.
They also want to see sweeping industry reforms and the reinstatement of licences revoked “unfairly’’.
City Beat with Anthony Marx – Courier Mail
A SYDNEY-based advocacy group is representing a push for a class action against the Queensland Building and Construction Commission over what it claims to be unfair treatment and bullying. The SR Group, headed by professional advocate Susie Bennell, wants builders, tradesmen, subcontractors and construction workers who believe they have been unjustly treated to join the action. The goal is to drive legislative reform, licence reinstatement, and losses and damages for those affected. A meeting is being planned for October 20 to bring together people who feel they have been adversely affected.
Bill Hoffman Sunshine Coast Daily
An alliance of small to medium-sized “mum and dad building companies” have united as the storm over “aggressive” tactics by the state’s construction watchdog is set to intensify.
The builders have accused the powerful Queensland Building and Construction Commission of relentlessly pursuing them over minor disputes and suspending their licenses before fully investigating complaints.
The QBCC is supported by Housing Minister Mick de Brenni, who wants to give the body even greater powers to tackle dodgy builders in a bid to protect subcontractors and homeowners.
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