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Directors could face sharp growth in class actions

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Class action exposures for corporate directors could be on the cusp of exponential growth given the current dynamic environment, Marsh Head of FINPRO, Claims Solutions Melody Carr says.

Ms Carr says the new Federal Government potentially has a different attitude to class action funding and may adopt a more open-access-to-justice attitude, while shareholder actions could see a revival following a reprieve from potential director breaches granted during the height of the pandemic.

Inquiries and commissions investigating corporate behaviour are providing material that plantiff law firms and litigations funder can scrutinise for a potential new wave of shareholder class actions. At the same time, Victoria’s move to allow contingency fees has opened the way for more actions.

Ms Carr, who will participate in a panel discussion on class actions at the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) conference next week, says a greater focus on the social conduct of large corporations, coupled with environmental, social and governance risk exposures is seeing a “significant evolution of the landscape for corporate accountability”.

Other influences include court approval of common fund orders, while a High Court leave to appeal application related to a class action against Worley is being closely watched.

Omni Bridgeway Senior Investment Manager – Sydney and Head of New Zealand Gavin Beardsell and Chubb Financial Lines Claims Manager, Asia Pacific Matthew Dick will also be part of the panel.

The AILA event, to be held at Doltone House in Sydney next Wednesday to Friday will cover a range of issues including climate change ramifications, covid impacts and the liability landscape for professionals.

More details are available here.