Media Release: Justice Lee deprived of power in Swann Insurance Class Action

Monday, 26 April 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Justice Lee scheduled an urgent Hearing on 12 March 2021 to discuss late opt out notices from Group Members of the Swann Insurance Class Action. Two applicants for opting out mentioned that Claimo were their catalyst for opting out after the deadline. The lawyers for IAG made multiple mentions of Claimo at the Hearing and their concerns about turning more people onto opting out. The Hearing was adjourned, and a ruling was made on Friday. 

Claimo provided submissions to the Federal Judge’s associate on behalf of members who expressed concern about the opt out deadline. On Friday, Justice Lee said he was grateful for submissions from parties taking the trouble to assist the Courts and recognised late opt out members have ‘understandable concern’ expressing sympathy towards the members. Justice Lee ultimately ruled that he was ‘bereft’ of power referring to rule 39.05 of the Federal Court Rules, also called the Slip Rule.

In March, Claimo made a submission to the House of Representatives urgently calling for Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg MP to intervene and use special emergency powers to further regulate national law firms dealing with junk insurance class actions.  The submission was considered at a meeting of the Committee and was presented to the House on 22 March 2021. The submission was referred to the Treasurer and under the requirements, the Minister has until Sunday, 20 June 2021 to respond.

“Claimo is proud to have provided information to consumers who were unaware of the proceedings until after the opt out deadline. While we are disappointed with the ruling, Claimo has utmost respect for His Honour’s decision and words of sympathy for the members. We will await the response from Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg then reassess our options” said Claimo’s Managing Director, Nathan Mortlock. 

A group member wrote to Claimo saying,

“Thank you for your support. Keep doing what you are doing. I hope reforms to class actions are brought, and this was one of the things that was covered by Justice Lee in his ruling remarks. He did say that participants needed to be more active. And that opt outs needed to be clearer. It was such a mess the way this was handled. I feel robbed as I have been fighting for my refund for 10 years this year.”

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