Proctor : May 2017
31 PROCTOR | May 2017 Kylie Downes QC is a Brisbane barrister and member of the Proctor editorial committee. Hamish Clift is a Brisbane barrister. Kylie Downes QC and Hamish Clift provide practitioners with a brief overview of Queensland’s new class actions regime, from commencing proceedings to settlement or judgment. Settlement Representative proceedings may not be settled or discontinued without the approval of the court and in giving approval, pursuant to s103R of the CPA, it may make any orders it considers just for the distribution of money paid under a settlement or paid into the court. Judgment In deciding a matter in a representative proceeding, s103V of the CPA provides that the court may do any one or more of the following:14 a. decide an issue of law b. decide an issue of fact c. make a declaration of liability d. grant equitable relief e. make an award of damages for group members, sub-group members or individual group members, consisting of stated amounts or amounts worked out in a stated way f. award damages in an aggregate amount without stating amounts awarded in respect of individual group members g. make any other order the court considers just. The court may also make an order under s103W of the CPA to constitute and administer a fund that consists of monies to be distributed, if it is necessary to do so as a result of an award of damages. If an award of damages is made, a representative party may apply for costs under s103ZC of the CPA and if those costs are likely to exceed the costs recoverable from the defendant, the court may order some or all of the excess to be paid out of the damages awarded. Finally, s103Y provides that an appeal of a representative proceeding judgment may also be brought as a representative proceeding. If a representative party does not start an appeal within the time limit, another member of the group may do so on behalf of the group members within a further 21 days. Conclusion Flexibility and justice are key aspects of the new regime. The court has broad powers to manage representative proceedings and judges are empowered with a broad discretion in many circumstances to make the orders considered necessary, in many cases on the court’s own initiative, to ensure justice is done. Back to basics Notes 1 The Limitation of Actions (Child Sexual Abuse) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 amends the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 to create Part 13A and the Uniform Civil Procedure (Representative Proceedings) Amendment Rule 2017 amends the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 to create Chapter 3, Part 1, Division 5. 2 Available at courts.qld.gov.au/courts/supreme- court/practice-directions. 3 Forms 2B, 134, 135 and 136, all of which are available at courts.qld.gov.au/about/ forms?root=84820. 4 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 1. 5 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 7. 6 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 6. 7 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 8. 8 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 7.3. 9 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 9. 10 Practice Direction 2 of 2017 paragraph 11.