The conundrum of competing class actions and the efficiency question

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There is an increasing phenomenon of competing class actions – class actions purporting to cover the same or nearly the same common issues of alleged wrongdoing but brought by different representative parties (or "lead applicants") with different lawyers and often different litigation funders.
A decision by a court allowing one class action proceeding (with, presumably, one set of lawyers acting) to proceed while staying all others is significant and raises a number of matters that deserve consideration.
In Perera v GetSwift Ltd [1] (GetSwift) Lee J noted that the focus in this area is on how the Court deals with competing commercial enterprises (lawyers and funders) seeking to use the processes of the Court for profit and the Court's desire to ensure the use of those processes for their proper purpose. [2] The Court is informed by considerations including: (1) the statutory mandate to facilitate the just resolution of disputed claims according to law and as quickly, inexpensively and efficiently as possible; and (2) the furtherance of the Court's supervisory and protective role in relation to group members. [3]
Facilitating just resolution inexpensively and efficiently was also a key factor in the Full Court appeal in GetSwift [4] where Lee J's decision to stay two proceedings to allow one to proceed was upheld.
While the decisions of the two courts in relation to the trial of the common issues are undoubtedly correct, there may be a number of wider issues that have been raised by the decisions, particularly on the question of efficiency, and whether there is a salient difference between the common issues stage and the individual issues stage of a class action
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-273
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Law Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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