Robodebt Class Action

Settlement achieved – subject to Court approval

Robodebt Class Action Settlement

SETTLEMENT FAQs HEREGENERAL CLASS ACTION FAQs HEREGORDON LEGAL MEDIA STATEMENT HEREJOINT MEDIA STATEMENT HEREREGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE

A proposed settlement has been agreed between the Representative Applicants and the Commonwealth in the Robodebt Class Action.

As a result, the Court has ordered Centrelink to send a “Notice of Proposed Settlement” to Group Members.

The Notice explains the proposed settlement of the Robodebt Class Action.

Most Group Members will receive the Notice in their MyGov inbox by 25 January 2021. 

You should check your MyGov inbox to see if a Notice has been sent to you.  Once you receive the Notice, please read it carefully.

If you do not have an active MyGov account, the Notice will be sent to you by post. This might mean you do not receive the Notice for some time after 25 January 2021.

If approved by the Court, the proposed settlement means that many Group Members will be entitled to a further settlement payment, in addition to having the money they paid to Centrelink refunded.

Not all Group Members will be entitled to settlement payments.

A Group Member’s entitlement to a settlement payment will depend on their individual circumstances.

Settlement approval hearing

The proposed settlement is subject to the approval of the Court. The Court will decide whether to approve the proposed settlement at a hearing on 6 & 7 May 2021.

Group Members and members of the public are entitled to observe the settlement approval hearing. The hearing will be live streamed so that Group Members and members of the public can watch remotely. Watch the hearing by clicking here

The hearing will start at 10.15am. We recommend checking the daily list section of the Federal Court website on the day prior to the hearing in case of any changes.

Key points of proposed settlement

The settlement reached with the Commonwealth means that if approved by the Court, since the commencement of the Robodebt Class Action, more than $1.1 billion in financial benefit will have been provided to approximately 400,000 group members.

The financial outcome achieved is made up as follows:

  • The Commonwealth has agreed to pay $112 million in compensation to approximately 400,000 eligible individual Group Members, including legal costs;
  • The Commonwealth is repaying more than $751 million in debts collected from Group Members invalidly and will continue to provide refunds;
  • The Commonwealth has agreed to drop claims for approximately $268 million in debts it had invalidly asserted against members of the class action;
  • Subject to Court Approval, a Settlement Distribution Scheme will provide that eligible individual Group Members’ entitlements will be assessed and all amounts due to them be paid in 2021.

Gordon Legal is proud to have achieved this historic and important result for Group Members.

If the settlement is approved by the Court it will resolve the claims of the hundreds of thousands of people who were issued with Centrelink debts calculated wholly or partly on the basis of averages derived from annual ATO income data.    

Please read the new settlement FAQs to learn more about the settlement and to understand how it might affect you.

Court documents

Copies of the court documents are available below:

Opt Out Notice, Amended Originating Application, Second Further Amended Statement of Claim, Amended Reply, Court Orders (6 March), Court Orders (5 May), Court Orders (19 June)Court Orders (27 July 2020), Court Orders (17 August 2020), Court Orders (7 September 2020), Court Orders (17 September 2020), Court Orders (21 September 2020), Court Orders (14 October 2020), Second Further Amended Defence, Court Orders (23 December 2020), Deed of Settlement

SETTLEMENT FAQs HEREGENERAL CLASS ACTION FAQs HEREGORDON LEGAL MEDIA STATEMENT HEREJOINT MEDIA STATEMENT HEREREGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE

What is a Class Action?

A Class or Group Action is a Court procedure which allows people with similar claims against another party to bring their action in one Court Proceeding rather than requiring them to go to the cost (and take the individual risk) of commencing their own claim.

In Australia, the law provides individual Group or Class members the opportunity to Opt Out of the Proceedings if they do not wish to participate or wish to bring their own individual claim.

The benefit of Class or Group Actions is that it means that claims that would otherwise not be economically viable for a person to bring on their own behalf are able to be gathered together so that the costs and risks can be shared among a larger group of people with similar claims.

What are the risks of participating in a Class Action?

The risks of participating in a Class Action are similar to the risks that any person bringing an individual claim would face, except that the risk of having to pay the other party’s legal costs if the claim is unsuccessful only falls on the Representative Plaintiff or Applicant.

It is important to understand that you do not face the individual risk of an adverse costs order unless you agree to become the Representative Plaintiff or Applicant. If that was the case then your lawyer will discuss those risks with you very carefully before you agreed to act as the Representative Plaintiff or Applicant.