05.02 2014

Federal Court Decision partial victory for customers in ANZ bank class action – opens door to further class actions

The Federal Court today ruled in favour of 38,000 customers of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) whom had commenced a class action against the bank by finding that late payment fees charged by the bank were illegal penalties rather than service fees.  The late fees claim amounted to around $14.5 million, approximately a quarter of the $57 million that the ANZ customers had been seeking from the bank.


The judgment is likely to pave the way for the largest class action yet in Australia, a 170,000-strong class action worth up to $200 million against other major lenders including the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac. Today’s ruling also signals an increasing need for specific action by companies and their directors to guard against and be prepared for defending class action litigation.


GRT Lawyers have developed a framework to assess the risk of shareholder class actions and to manage the risk with a view to avoiding a shareholder class action or strengthening the company’s position in early negotiations or defence of a class action. For more information on our Defence Strategy Manual please contact Glenn Vassallo or Tracey Miley.


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