Representative or group proceedings (class actions) were introduced to Australia through the Federal Court of Australia Amendment Act 1991 (Cth) which amended the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth). They have since been introduced in Victoria under the Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic) and in NSW under the Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW).
Most class actions are brought in the Federal Court of Australia. The court rules require the following thresholds to be met before proceedings can be commenced:
- There must be seven or more persons bringing a claim against the same defendant(s).
- The claims must arise out the same, similar or related circumstances.
- The claims must give rise to at least one substantial common issue of law or fact.
Currently there are a number of class actions either under investigation on foot in Australia. Some of the more notable ones include:
NZ bank fees (Slater and Gordon/Play Fair on Fees)
1300 00 2088