Title: Class Action Hearing
Location: NSW Supreme Court, Sydney
Description: The latest hearing in the Class action was held at the Supreme Court Sydney on the 22nd February 2013. The following are outcomes from that hearing.
Slater and Gordon the lawyers representing the claimants have informed the court that it does not intend to involve the Fairbridge Society of the United Kingdom as an additional defendant.
DISCOVERY. The court has given a further 2 weeks grace to the Commonwealth of Australia to provide some outstanding documents, once these have been provided the first round of discovery can be complete.
LIMITATION. The extension of time issue is still not resolved. FFNSW had previously requested that the claimants would have to bring an application before the court seeking an extension of time to bring their claims. Slater and Gordon have complied with this direction. The court has now allowed the Commonwealth also to make submissions on this issue.
PARTICULARS. The claimants have been ordered to provide further particulars about certain allegations to the defendants within 3 months. The court also allowed a 3 month period for the claimants to seek further particulars from FFNSW. The date of the next hearing depends on when these matters have been resolved by both parties.
Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse.
The court has brought this issue to the attention of all parties. The terms of reference of the Commission relate to sexual abuse only and exclude physical and emotional abuse. It is possible the announcement of the Royal Commission may have an impact on the Fairbridge court case. The court has asked the parties to consider how the announcement will impact on their APPROACH to the case. Further information on the Royal Commission is available on its website. www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.
A further hearing was scheduled for the 24th May 2013, but this did not eventuate. It is not known when the next hearing will be.
As a background : The first hearing of the damages claims of 69 former Fairbridge children, from the Farm School at Molong was first heard on June 14th 2011 in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney.
The case is believed to be the first class action against an Australian Government connected with child migration.
The defendants in the case are the Australian and NSW Governments and the Fairbridge Foundation. The allegations are that each organisation failed to meet its obligations to properly safeguard children at Fairbridge
For further information. See Slater and Gordon’s website.
Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse website is