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Centro Shareholder Class Action Resolves

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A class action issued out of the Federal Court of Australia by shareholders seeking losses of in excess of $500 million from Centro has reportedly settled for $200 million making it one of Australia’s largest shareholder class action settlements.

The trial commenced in March 2012 and was estimated not to conclude until June 2012.  The claimants are shareholders in Centro who issued proceedings against Centro, its directors and auditor following the failure of the company. .

Class actions (known as “representative proceedings”) were initially introduced to provide access to justice for people who may otherwise be unable to afford to pursue their claim if they had to do so alone.  However, it is now common for class actions to be brought by large companies.

To be able to commence a class action there must be at least seven people with claims against the same person.  The claims must give rise to a “substantial common issue of law or fact”. 

The person that commences the class action must describe the class of people being represented.  They can do this without knowing who may actually fall into the class.  Individual members of the class can “opt out” of the class by filing a Notice with the Court.

The team in our Dispute Resolution & Litigation department has acted in various class actions.  In some cases, where there have been less than the required number of claimants, litigation has been successfully run on behalf of the remaining individual claimants.  We invite any reader who believes they may have a claim to contact us to discuss the options available.

Author: Kaye Griffiths

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