Class actions have become a major source of litigation and expense for corporations in Australia. In particular, the shareholder class action has extracted significant payouts from corporate Australia. However, the types of class actions being brought are becoming more diverse. Recent developments around climate change and privacy are creating opportunities for litigation.
Public spotlights on potential legal contraventions through royal commissions, particularly in relation to financial services, are also giving rise to claims for compensation. Further, the number of litigation funders and plaintiff law firms active in the Australian market has proliferated with even some traditional ‘defendant’ firms crossing over to the plaintiff side. Without new class actions, the desired financial returns for the funders and plaintiff lawyers will not be realised. Consequently, a new wave of class actions is set to break over corporate Australia in the near future. This article discusses the sources of future class action trends.