Australian private securities class actions and public interest - assessing the ‘private attorney-general’ by reference to the rationales of public enforcement

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Private securities class actions now appear to be a part of Australia’s legal landscape but opinions about their value are not unanimous. This paper reviews the ‘private attorney-general’ argument for the utility of private securities class actions as ‘vindicating the public interest’ and supplementing public enforcement of securities laws. It then makes an original contribution to the debate by analysing the rationales for public enforcement of securities laws and assessing the extent to which private securities class actions seek to, can or do achieve these objectives. Data on the nineteen largest successful securities class actions or claims in Australia are examined by reference to various attributes which derive from these rationales and public interest scores allocated accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-195
Number of pages34
JournalAustralian Journal of Corporate Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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