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ASIC intervention guidelines welcomed

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published guidance on how and when it will decide to intervene in private court cases.

It says it will act only when a case is of strategic regulatory significance and the benefits outweigh the costs.

“We do not lightly intervene in matters that are about personal legal rights and remedies, but we will consider how best to act where there is a broader regulatory benefit that may be achieved through ASIC involvement,” Commissioner Greg Tanzer said.

Insurance Law Service Principal Solicitor Katherine Lane has welcomed the guidance.

“This is all positive,” she told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “It is really important to publish something to say, ‘We can do this, and this is how we do it’. They need to choose cases that have regulatory significance.”

She says insurance companies should take systemic issues raised in private litigation seriously, but “it shouldn’t come as any surprise that this power exists”.

Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Gerard Brody says it is “really helpful for ASIC to be transparent and clear about when it might get involved in private litigation”.

ASIC says the guidance does not mark any change in policy or approach.