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Paper: Class actions in Australia

Updated February 2017

In brief: Class actions are an established and important part of the Australian legal landscape. In recent years, Australia has become the most likely jurisdiction outside of the United States in which a corporation will face significant class action litigation.

Recent developments in the Australian legal landscape – including increasingly plaintiff-friendly class action laws, the acceptance of litigation funding and a growing number of plaintiff class action legal practices – have facilitated that evolution. At least in part, these developments are the direct result of Federal Government support for class actions (and third party funding of class actions) as important means of facilitating access to the civil justice system. The checks and balances in the Australian system have, however, helped to prevent what was predicted in the mid-2000s to be an ‘explosion’ of class action activity.

This paper outlines some of the key issues and trends in Australian class actions.

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