Queensland business at greater risk of class actions

On 16 August 2016, the Queensland Government introduced a Bill to parliament to allow class action proceedings in Queensland. The move revives a Bill prepared by the Newman Government in 2014, which had been tabled but not passed.

What does it mean for businesses operating in the State?

Queensland law does not presently allow potential claimants to commence a class action in Queensland state courts, forcing them to commence class actions in the Federal Court of Australia, in NSW or Victoria.

The new legislation is expected to receive bi-partisan support and is very similar to the legislative regimes in NSW, Victoria and the Federal Court. The Bill has been referred to the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee as agreed by the House on 18 August. The Committee is due to report back by 1 November 2016.

The impending legislative change greatly expands the prospect and scope of class actions by potential claimants in Queensland. It will inevitably increase the risk of class action litigation to corporations conducting business in the State.

Preparation is key

Class actions constitute major claims that require specialist knowledge and expertise to defend.

Henry Davis York has defended the world's largest corporations in the some of the most high-profile and complex class actions in Australia.

An early warning system and quick response plan can provide the most effective defence against a class action. HDY is ready to work to identify risks and develop a response plan to mitigate any impact to businesses in Queensland which in the future may face an increased threat of class actions.

Knowledge, expertise, strategic planning is why HDY is ahead of the curve in helping clients prepare for class action litigation in Queensland and Australia.

Stephen Gorry

Success is a team effort. Celebrating our victories is best experienced in numbers.

Stephen Gorry Partner

Stephen is a specialist in dispute resolution. His clients call on him to help them minimise the impact of commercial and other disputes, and with early intervention seek to avoid them altogether.

Stephen has over 28 years' experience in litigation and dispute resolution. His expertise extends to advising on corporate issues including boardroom and shareholder disputes, informative technology and intellectual property litigation and he has a wealth of expertise in entertainment, sports and media litigation. He has extensive involvement with and interest in Agribusiness as well.

In addition, Stephen helps his clients when they are the subject of enquiries and investigations by Police and other government agencies. He regularly appears in ICAC hearings, both private and public. Stephen has particular expertise in dealing with the fallout for companies when employees or senior management have been accused of fraud.

Stephen's clients value his commercial approach. He endorses mediation and alternative dispute resolution, the effective and economical resolution of disputes, and is highly experienced in resolving matters before they end up in protracted court proceedings.

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Mark Schneider

Achieving our clients' business goals drives our strategy and advice. It's what we do.

Mark Schneider Partner

Mark is the partner responsible for managing our Brisbane office. He has broad experience in corporate restructuring, insolvency and banking and general commercial litigation. Mark specialises in resolving disputes, advising both banks and insolvency practitioners in relation to all aspects of the enforcement of securities and the realisation of distressed assets in Australia and internationally.

Mark has advised insolvency practitioners, secured and unsecured creditors including financial institutions and directors in relation to debt recovery, security enforcement, restructuring, formal insolvency procedures and dispute resolution throughout Australia and in Europe.

He takes pride in helping banks, financiers and their appointees implement practical strategies for resolving disputes, enforcing securities and realising distressed assets in Australia and internationally.

Mark regularly advises on secured creditors' rights, including undertaking complex security reviews and the intensive management of complex and sensitive debt positions.

Mark is sought out by clients involved in potential disputes who are concerned about protecting their reputation. He is experienced with alternative dispute resolution as well as appearing and instructing in the State and Federal Courts, including at Appellate level.

Mark has experience in many industry sectors including commercial, rural and residential property, hotels and leisure, retail, energy and resources (including mining services).

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