Class Actions

When seven or more individuals have legal claims against the same defendant(s) arising out of the same or similar circumstances, these claims can be grouped together and run as a ‘representative proceeding’, commonly referred to as a class action.

Class actions are a cost-effective and efficient way to run a group of similar legal claims. Class actions are typically used by individuals affected by mass wrongs committed by large organisations.

Class actions and litigation funding have been endorsed by the Court as an important tool that helps both improve access to justice for everyday citizens and, because of this increased access, corporate governance practice.

Selected Class Actions

IMF Bentham is proud to have funded some of Australia’s largest and most important class actions, including:

  • Centro Properties and Centro Retail – a shareholder class action, alleging that in the period August 2007 to February 2008, Centro breached their obligations of continuous disclosure in relation to their debt obligations. In August 2007 Centro stated that they had no interest bearing obligations on their balance sheet as at 30 June 2007, then upon disclosure in February 2008 stated their interest obligation was AUD 2.7B. Settlement to IMF Bentham clients was AUD 150M from an overall AUD 200M settlement, the largest class action settlement in Australian legal history at the time.

  • Air Cargo – a cartel class action, alleging that major international airlines engaged in price-fixing in relation to the provision of air freight services, for a period of approximately seven years from 1 January 2000. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the US Department of Justice and the European Commission collectively fined airlines more than AUD 2.5B in relation to anti-competitive conduct. The details of the Australian Air Cargo class action settlement are confidential. The Federal Court approved settlement of the Australian class action on 6 June 2014.

  • QLD Floods – currently IMF Bentham is funding a class action representing approximately 5,000 Queensland individuals and businesses in relation to the negligent operation of the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams during the January 2011 flood in South East Queensland.

  • Bank Fees – IMF Bentham is currently funding a class action representing more than 185,000 Australians in relation to the alleged unfair and unlawful charging of bank fees by some of the major banks in Australia.